John Jordan, the main character in this series, became a favorite "hero" of mine after reading two of the books (this is the 6th). This one somehow got lost in my pile of to-read books, but once I discovered the error of my [forgetful] ways, I hustled to correct it.
And after just a few chapters, I still loved the character, but the story not quite so much. I'm not sure why, exactly, except some of the subject matter - prison sodomy (Jordan is the chaplain at the Potter Correctional Institution in South Florida), gruesome lynchings and a mother on her deathbed - just isn't that appealing to me. That said, it was hard to put down.
Actually, there are several story lines going on at the same time in this one, including the impending death of Jordan's mother (to whom he isn't terribly close, but it's still his mother, for goodness sake). At the same time, someone has been sexually abusing inmates, but a new prison wardon - intent on replacing Jordan and is insisting that he stick to his chaplain's duties - has put the kibosh on nvestigating. Meanwhile, a prisoner escapes and can't be found, a couple of mutilated bodies thought to be the victims of lynching turn up, and Jordan's Sheriff father is desperately trying to win a primary election (whew!)
That's a lot to wrap your head around in one book, but believe it or not, it all comes together - in just 211 pages, no less. Admittedly, it's a little hard to keep all the players straight, but in the end, the whole thing makes sense (even a serious romantic issue gets resolved, at least for the time being). I'll also say that while this book can stand alone, I think I got more out of it because I've read at least a couple that preceded it.
I'm also a bit curious about this: According to Lister's website (http://www.michaellister.com), he's written eight books in the John Jordan series. I've found the first six, but search as I might, I haven't been able to unearth Nos. 7 or 8. If anyone out there has a clue where I might find them, please let me know!
Rivers to Blood: A John Jordan Mystery Book 6 by Michael Lister (Pulpwood Press, January 2014); 211 pp.