Book One in The Joplin Chronicles
Calista York needs one more successful case as a Pinkerton operative to secure her job. When she’s assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss, she’s sent to the rowdy mining town of Joplin, Missouri, despite having extended family in the area. Will their meddling expose her mission and keep Lila Seaton from being recovered?
When Matthew Cook decided to be a missionary, he never expected to be sent only a short train ride away. While fighting against corruption of all sorts, Matthew hears of a baby raffle being held to raise funds for a children’s home. He’ll do what he can to stop it, but he also wants to stop the reckless Miss York, whose bad judgment consistently seems to be putting her in harm’s way.
Calista doesn’t need the handsome pastor interfering with her investigation, and she can’t let her disguise slip. Her job and the life of a young lady depend on keeping Matthew in the dark.
Starred Review – Jennings (The Major’s Daughter) introduces readers to the rough and tumble town of Joplin, Mo., in this fun inspirational adventure set in 1898. Undercover Pinkerton agent Calista York is hired to find Lila, the daughter of a Chicago gangster with connections to Calista’s boss. Lila was last seen being held in a brothel in Joplin, and though Calista’s wary of the assignment because she has relatives in the area who may blow her cover, she takes the job, convinced that “God had called her on this path” to rescue Lila before she is harmed. Matthew Cook, a new pastor in Joplin, is eager to save souls in the derelict town. After spotting Calista at a brothel and then at a whiskey shop, Matthew determines to protect her and help her reform her life. Calista’s work in Joplin becomes a complicated balancing act as she deals with meddlesome family, her deepening feelings for Matthew, her investigation and the corrupt local police, and a looming deadline to find Lila. Jennings nicely lays out the competing interests and introduces Joplin locals, such as orphanage director Mrs. Fairfield, who promise good things for future entries in the series. Full of colorful characters and unexpected twists, Jennings’s entertaining story is her best yet.