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The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello
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The Clouds Roll Away

by Sibella Giorello

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This is the third in a crime series featuring FBI forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon. In this book, she has returned to Richmond, Virginia, after having been banished because of a disciplinary transfer. She is happy to be back, but has to work for a judgmental and somewhat caricatured boss, Victoria Phaup. She is given two tasks: solving a hate crime against a famous black rapper, RPM, who lives on a former plantation, and filling in on a drug-busting task force. When not working the jobs, she is eating massive amounts of fast food (but is still “gorgeous”), trying to see how she feels about her former high school boyfriend Demott Fielding, and worrying about her mother, who is exhibiting worrying dementia-like behavior.

Two rather unexpected themes also weave through the book. One is a Christian emphasis. About half the time it blends in with the plot, but other times, like her lecture about intelligent design, seem contrived. There are also gratuitous (it seemed to me) statements thrown in like about how it felt good to come home, but “it was nothing compared to the feeling of returning to a God who loved me and was waiting for me.”

The second theme is Raleigh’s somewhat bizarre tendency to view everyone’s eyes in terms of rocks. We have eyes like “fractured gray pebbles,” like “birefringent blue prisms” [pedantic for no good reason], “luminous as opals,” "shiny as marbles," and so on.

For the most part the characters were not very nuanced - they tended to be either rock, paper, or scissors, to borrow the author’s tendency for geological metaphors. Her religious metaphors are a bit inept as well, such as when she compared the buildings on a cold Saturday morning in downtown D.C. to “Advent panels nobody would want to open.” I think the author has potential but maybe she tries a bit too hard. ( )
  nbmars | Oct 30, 2016 |
From Amazon:

Raleigh Harmon's life seems as impossible to solve as the high-profile case she's pursuing. Closing her assignment with the FBI's Seattle office, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, expecting a warm welcome. Instead she finds herself investigating an ugly cross burning at a celebrity's mansion and standing in the cross-hairs of her boss at the Bureau. And the deeper Raleigh digs into the case, the murkier the water becomes . . . until she's left wondering who the real victims might be. To make matters worse, Raleigh's personal life offers almost zero clarity. Her former confidant is suddenly remote while her former boyfriend keeps popping up wherever she goes. And then there's her mother. Raleigh's move home was supposed to improve Nadine's fragile sanity, but instead seems to be making things worse.

My Thoughts:

The Clouds Roll Away is a gritty suspense story that, though it alludes to discussion of faith, faith plays more of a small part in a mostly suspense filled story.
Although I felt the first few chapters were bit slow and the characters starting out were stereotypical and two dimensional, the pace of the book quicken in the middle and held promise...but then the ending had that thrown together feeling. I did find some aspects of the FBI theme compelling and it was interesting how various seemingly unrelated elements pulled together toward the end. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Christian mystery. ( )
  PleasantHome | Sep 7, 2014 |
From my book review blog Rundpinne..."Giorello’s writing is quite vivid and descriptive, making it easy for readers to imagine themselves in the story."...The full review may be read here: http://www.rundpinne.com/2010/12/book-review-and-tour-the-clouds-roll-away-by-si... ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Dec 20, 2010 |
When I sat down to read this book by this new-to-me author, I started out a little disappointed. Why? Because, for some reason, it was difficult for me to really get hooked. But, I pushed myself because I feel every book deserves a chance. And, once I reached Chapter 3, things looked up for me and man, was I ever hooked after that! This is book 3 in the Raleigh Harmon Novel series, but, while there is mention of some things that were in the previous books, I was not overly lost or confused. Sibella Giorello mentions these things in a way to bring the reader up to date with the current happenings in the novel.

That being said, I did become totally hooked on the story and really loved it! The are complex and fit their personalities and rolls perfectly. Raleigh Harmon is a character that just stands out and is one that you root for through out the story. To me, she reminds me of James Patterson's Alex Cross. Yep. She's the Alex Cross of Christian suspense. The message of relying on God with a strong, unwavering faith to overcome anything, including a crime that is confusing as the case keeps getting crossed, shines strongly through Raleigh and can be felt by the reader fully.

This book has a great look, while written to be a fiction novel, at a serious subject: cross burnings and hate crimes. The research the author did for this novel was outstanding, and, having been raised in Virginia Beach, could picture Virginia being the way that was described in the novel. Virginia is the perfect setting for this novel. It was very interesting to read about this subject. You just wouldn't think that there would be these awful events in the world today, but sadly, there is. It is all portrayed perfectly in this novel, as Raleigh tries to uncover the truth and fight the bad guys.

Sibella Giorella really surprised me with this novel. She is an author who has made a fan out of me. Her books pull the readers so completely in, that they become a part of the FBI along with Raleigh, hoping the clouds roll away in time to solve the crime. I am definitely looking forward to reading more 5 star work from Sibella when I go back and read books 1 and 2, as well as checking out book 4! Can't wait! ( )
  ReviewsbyMolly | Dec 17, 2010 |
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"Closing her assignment with the FBI's Seattle office, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, expecting a warm welcome. Instead she finds herself investigating an ugly cross burning at a celebrity's mansion and standing in the crosshairs of her boss at the Bureau. And the deeper Raleigh digs into the case, the murkier the water becomes...until she's left wondering who the real victims might be. To make matters worse, Raleigh's personal life offers almost zero clarity. Her former confidant is suddenly remote while her former boyfriend keeps popping up wherever she goes. And then there's her mother. Raleigh's move home was supposed to improve Nadine's fragile sanity, but instead seems to be making things worse. As the threads of the case begin crossing and double-crossing, Raleigh is forced to rely on her forensic skills, her faith, and the fervent hope that breakthrough will come, bringing with it that singular moment when the clouds roll away and everything finally makes sense."--From cover.… (more)

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