Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Murder on the Victory Train

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

Stars in the Night
By Cara Putnam

There’s plenty of romance in Stars in the Night, but not from long walks on late evenings. The stars are movie stars and the main character is reluctant to acknowledge the romance. Audra Shaeffer is intent on finding her sister’s murderer. The search takes her on a train ride with a bunch of Hollywood stars who are touring the country to sell war bonds during the second World War. Although she doesn’t know it, Audra is beautiful enough to catch the stars’ attention, and one of them, Robert Garfield, gets hers.

The romance and the mystery of the murder develop side by side. Although Audra is attracted to Robert, she doesn’t know if she can trust him. He does all he can to reassure her and help her in her search for the killer. Since most of the story takes place on a train, they are thrown together, like it or not. Robert is thrilled with the opportunity, although Audra tries to keep her distance.

Robert is an interesting character. Although a recognized star, he is on the Hollywood B list and currently without a contract. He is a strong Christian and tries to avoid the typical Hollywood lifestyle, although he had allowed the studio to tell him whom to marry. The result was a painful divorce that he didn’t seek.

Audra, on the other hand, confused me. She is also a strong Christian and her faith is beyond question. But, while she is described as a strong woman, her actions present her as weak and emotionally driven. She is an attorney who has fought for acceptance in a male world, but she constantly doubts herself and her abilities. She believes she should always be in control, and blames herself for not taking care of her sister, but most of her decisions lack common sense. It felt to me like Putnam told the readers who she wanted Audra to be, but showed us a different person.

The murder mystery part of the book was well developed and the story was peppered with clues, but not enough to solve the mystery. For a little while I thought the solution would have no relevance to the clues, but I was proved wrong. In the end the mystery is solved, the romance is resolved and the future looks bright.

What more could you ask from your light reading?

Pros: Well developed plot and characters with an underlying strong Christian message. A good mystery with just the right touch of romance.

Cons: The motivations of the protagonist are not consistent with the author’s depiction of her character.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Stars In The Night
Summerside Press (July 1, 2010)

Cara Putman


A Word From Cara:

I graduated from high school at sixteen, college at 20, and completed my law degree when I was 27.

My writing journey started in 2005 when I decided to write my first novel. Now I have eleven books published with more on the way.

People say I've accomplished a lot and that I must have life by the proverbial tail. Hardly! I grew up as a home schooled kid when home schoolers were misunderstood and oddities.

I struggle with balancing my writing and law career, plus being a good mom and wife.

I often fear people won't like my books.

I've walked through the deep pain of miscarriage.

Really, I'm just like you – I don't have it all together and have gone through tough times. But in His strength, I've discovered a strength I never knew I had. A strength I want you to discover, too.

In the end I'm just an ordinary mom who has seen God do some wonderful things as I've been obedient to step into the calling He's led me into.

Stars in the Night Background

Stars in the Night was an idea that had begun to percolate in my mind. I’d written two World War II series and was actively looking for my next setting. My husband, a huge World War II history buff, and I were kicking ideas around, and I’d decided Hollywood was probably the next place for me. I’d gone to the library and gotten a stack of research books when I got the call. An editor I knew but had never worked with wanted to know if I might be interested in a new line they were starting. As we talked, I got so excited. And then she emailed me their guidelines, which listed that Hollywood was a location they were interested in setting books.

Only God could have known ahead of time. But because I followed His prompting I was ready to run with an idea. Stars in the Night is the result.


Hollywood 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer's sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her.

Any day Audra might have been flattered by the friendly overtures of Robert Garfield, a real-life movie star. But on the flight from Indianapolis to Hollywood, Audra can think of little else than finding her missing sister. When Audra arrives in the city of glitz and glamour, and stars, and learns her rising starlet sister has been murdered, all thoughts of romance fly away.

Determined to bring the killer to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan.

Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to that of her sister.

Could the killer be the man with whom she's falling in love?

To read an excerpt of Chapter 1 of Stars In The Night, click HERE.

Contest: Lots of opportunities to win and great prizes, and the grand prize contains some of Cara's favorite classic movies as well as all of her WWII novels: Launch Contest!

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1 comment:

Cara Putman said...

Phee, thank you so much for that thoughtful review. I can tell you really dove into the story and appreciate your thoughts on Audra. Making notes :-)