The Scarlet Pen
The Scarlet Pen is a bit of history wrapped up into a gritty mystery.
Many have become familiar with serial killers through the television show “Criminal Minds”. Most will not realize that there is a long history of serial killers throughout history. This book follows the story of one who killed at least nine in the mid-1870s in Iowa and Nebraska. Stephen Lee Richards had become known as the Nebraska Butcher or Nebraska Fiend. The author wraps her story around this man using a fictional fiance and a Secret Service Agent who is tracking the counterfeit money that Richards is also passing as he travels from Ohio to Iowa to Nebraska.
The story is gripping and attention grabbing as Clay Timmons seeks to protect Richards’ fiance, Emma Draycott, and apprehend the “special kind of tetched” criminal himself. Having lived in the area described in the book, it was difficult to imagine the evil this man left along the Platte River and in Western Iowa
What is amazing is that the author and the murderer himself are able to communicate God’s grace to our broken world. History tells us that both in a final testimony and in written correspondence, Richards confessed faith in Christ prior to his being hanged. The fictional Clay Timmons summed up an appropriate response when asked, “Did he really believe?’
Part of me hopes he was tellin’ the truth, that God has welcomed him home -- because if God can forgive and receive the likes of him, there’s incredible hope for all of us.
With the mixture of history and grace, I give the book 5-stars,
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.