Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor (A Preston Barclay Mystery Book 1)

rhapsody in red

About the Book

Book:  Rhapsody in Red

Author: Donn Taylor

Genre: Mystery

Release date: September 2018


Preston Barclay is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations. The feisty Mara Thorn is a newly arrived professor with a strong desire to be left alone. But finding the body of a murdered colleague shakes them out of their quiet lives. Worse yet, police accuse them of her murder, forcing the ill-matched pair into an uneasy alliance for their defense. However, that proves more perilous than they’d thought. To succeed, they have to outwit the police, avoid discipline by the college’s incompetent administration, and escape threats and attacks by the unseen and ruthless forces behind the murder. It’s a one-in-a-hundred chance, and if they fail, they’ll end up unemployed, behind bars, or worse . . .


Click here to get your copy!

 My Review:

Here is a well done story! It's got music and literature. Faith, and flawed, realistic, characters. It's got one of my favorite things, a good who-done-it. Suspense wasn't left out and the pages go by very quickly. It pulls into many more current issues. Such as, on "Christian campus" by classification, why would they ban the cross? (Ah, but there are places that have also banned the ten commandments that are Christian. That isn't in this book, but did bring home some good points!) Why would an organization called Christian hire what would be typically deemed an "occult" believer to work for them? In today's world there is more and more of this, and this author bravely put it forward in this book. Christian; Professor Barkley, is paired up with a Wiccan, Mara. She's just been hired on at the collage.  These two were an unlikely odd couple to solve this murder with opposing beliefs and backgrounds. However, they work together as a team to solve this crime and thus opening the "door" for plenty of discussion and introspection.  

I was thrilled that the prayers and situations felt so realistic. They aren't fluffed or pulled into something that real life often isn't, instead it is fast paced and gritty, yet clean. I simply loved all the song references! It was so much fun to see if knew them all. Then if that wasn't enough excitement, the other quotes from many famous books and literature were a second great game for me. 

I can't give this unique book less than five stars. I will be reading more of this author's books. This one simply fascinated me, and would be outstanding as a TV series. 

5 Stars 

About the Author

Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07
Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07

Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterward, he earned a PhD in Renaissance literature and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His published works include six suspense novels and a book of poetry. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. He lives in the woods near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.


More from Donn

About Rhapsody in Red: From teaching eighteen years in small denominational colleges, I knew that part of the academic world well. So when I came to write the Preston Barclay Mystery Series, that’s where I turned. What would happen if someone dropped a murder into that placid environment?

That was the basic question. But that part of the college world also has internal conflicts and tensions that even the best-intentioned people can’t avoid. That leads most faculty into being discreet. But what would happen if one professor kept saying openly what the rest of the faculty were only thinking? That’s why the series protagonist, Professor Preston Barclay, is always in trouble.

In writing the series I wanted to mainly to give readers an interesting story about a murder and the complications leading to its solution. But I also wanted them to enjoy the story’s interplay of strong and often quirky personalities navigating the varied conflicts of the small-college world.

Whether I’ve achieved those objectives will be decided by each individual reader. But CBA Retailers and Resources Magazine wrote that  Rhapsody in Red is “peopled with academia’s most intriguing eccentrics and snobs,” and Christian Review of Books wrote that it’s “a delightful change from the clichés of most novels.”

Readers who enjoy Rhapsody in Red may want to look at its two sequels, Murder Mezzo Forte and Murder in Disguise.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 19

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 20 (Author Interview)

Daysong Reflections, August 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 21

For Him and My Family, August 22

deb’s Book Review, August 23

Inklings and notions, August 24

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 25

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 26

Texas Book-aholic, August 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 1 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, September 1


To celebrate his tour, Donn is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card plus one paperback copy of Rhapsody in Red!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Alicia Haney said...

Wow, this book sounds and looks very intriguing. Thank you for sharing about it! I will definitely be adding it to my TBR list. aliciabhaney(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

Rita Wray said...

Great review, thank you for sharing.

megana said...

This sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Debbie P said...

This sounds like a great page-turner.

slehan said...

Looks like a book I would enjoy.
Thanks for the contest.