Add to Cart
About the author:
C. L. Francisco (pen name Blair Yeatts) shares many qualities with Miranda Lamden: she's a Kentucky native, but like Miranda her parents are Virginians; they're both religion professors, and spirituality fascinates both. Spirituality is Francisco's "normal," and it makes her mysteries unique. They speak with Miranda's voice, as a phenomenologist of religion-that is, someone who goes to great lengths to ignore her own beliefs and submerge herself in other cultures. Francisco studied phenomenology as part of her PhD in World Religions.
The real events behind This Madness of the Heart offer a compelling reason for similarities. Francisco witnessed a denominational "war" with many of the same destructive results she describes in Madness, although the novel exaggerates and transforms them. She first wrote the book to vent her own anger and grief, which resulted in a protagonist much like herself. "But trying to read Madness' original draft felt like Harry Potter opening the screaming book in the Hogwarts' library," she said. "My anger scorched the pages. I saw this at the time, and set it aside-for almost 20 years-until I could treat it as a mere story. Then I wrote out the anger, crafting a tale about a slimy religious charlatan in a haunted hollow in Appalachia."
Francisco is best known for her critically acclaimed series, Yeshua's Cats, Christian historical fantasies told by cats acquainted with Jesus of Nazareth. Indie Reader chose both of her latest books, The Cats of Rekem and Cat Born to the Purple, for their "Best of" lists for 2015 and 2016.
Unlike Cats, the Miranda Lamden Mysteries aren't Christian. Miranda sees Christianity from the outside, as a woman alienated from her roots. But Francisco's calm assurance of a universe undergirded by love is palpable, even in the horror flooding Miranda's small college. Her struggle for meaning is the deep stream flowing beneath Madness' treacherous rapids.
"I write books I'd like to read," Francisco says, "and I've always loved mysteries-but not simple whodunits, or cozies. I enjoy watching realistic characters evolve. Since I think a series does that best, I chose to write a series . . . which has the added bonus of guaranteeing the sleuth's survival into the next book, and putting limits on possible disasters! The protagonist creates order from chaos, evil is vanquished (more or less), and life goes on, even if the ending is bittersweet. In fact, that's not a bad description of the Miranda Lamden Mysteries."
This Madness of the Heart
C L Francisco PhD
Bad religion can be deadly. So Miranda Lamden, small-town religion professor, discovers in This Madness of the Heart. The dark hollers of Eastern Kentucky offer fertile soil for shady evangelist Jasper Jarboe, new president of Grace and Glory Bible College, as he beguiles the small mining town of Canaan Wells with his snake-oil charm.
When Miranda isn't teaching at Obadiah Durham College, she's investigating paranormal phenomena-or enjoying a turbulent romantic relationship with backwoods artist Jack Crispen. JJ's inquisition-style gospel has alienated her long since, but when he announces his plan to transform her forest home into an evangelical Mecca, complete with neon cross and 40-foot Jesus, Miranda girds her loins for war. But JJ isn't finished: he goes on to launch an attack on her friend and fellow faculty member Djinn Baude with an avalanche of vicious rumors. Not only does he accuse her of demonic communion with the old Voudon witch whose curse killed the college's founding family, but he also smears her with insinuations of lechery and vice.
With JJ's urging, hate boils over into violence and tragedy, sweeping Miranda up in its flood. One death follows another as a miasma of evil overwhelms the tiny community, and only Miranda can see clearly enough to halt its spread.
This Madness of the Heart is the first in a new series of Gothic mystery-thrillers featuring Professor Miranda Lamden, whose spiritual gifts have drawn her beyond university walls to explore the mysteries of other world beliefs. Her unique vision brings her into repeated confrontations with evil, where too often she finds herself standing alone between oblivious onlookers and impending disaster.
- Publication Date:
- 1542654114 / 9781542654111
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6" x 9"
- Black and White
- Related Categories:
- Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths