Cannon Beach is an idyllic beach town on the northern Oregon Coast. The scenery there with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Haystack Rock, Ecola State Park are hard to beat. For me, Cannon Beach is one of the most beautiful, sacred places on the planet. There is a sign that is available in several of the local gift shops there that reads:
“How Do I Love You, let me count the waves. “
Here within this greater geographical Oregon canvas, Mark Henry Miller has set his latest novel “Truth Uncovered. “This is the fifth novel featuring the main character Trisha Gleason. She is a Licensed Minister but also wears the hats of being a former fishing guide and detective with the Oregon State Police. For Trisha there is always the mixture of being actively engaged in ministry and yet also dealing with a murder, while providing ministrations to congregants and community members.
As Mark Henry Miller would tell you, his books tend to revolve around life, ministry, fishing and murder, but rarely in that order. “ Truth Uncovered” certainly follows this theme and in many ways completes a full circle to the author’s first novel “ Murder On Tillamook Bay. “
Both the first and current novel are set in Tillamook, Or, home of the Tillamook Cheese Company along with great opportunities for salmon fishing on Tillamook Bay and Steelhead fishing on the Nehalem, Nestucca and Wilson Rivers.
Trisha has come back home to pastor part-time a small congregation after serving previous ministry assignments in Palo Alto CA, Breckenridge Co, and Snoqualmie WA (locations featured in previous Mark Miller novels). She runs into previous colleagues from the Oregon State Police, meets a church secretary who subsequently disappears and then learns of two community members, the former church minister and librarian, who are described as dying due to suicide. But many indicators point instead to possible homicide.
Tricia has depended upon Creighton Yale, her former Conference Minister for support, but in this book, there is a shift and Nathan Spark enters Tricia’s life and becomes a strong source for personal and professional support. Has Tricia finally found romance?
Murder on Tillamook Bay featured the demise of another minister who is shot while he is fishing on the bay for salmon. We are introduced to Tricia’s ex-husband who is described being a rather surly fellow.
Here in “Truth Uncovered “ some of these themes emerge again. The power of fishing, being in nature, being a part of a church community, providing ministry to others and experiencing grace in the most unexpected places are elements that Mark Miller weaves masterfully.
After many years serving as a Conference Minister for The United Church Of Christ, serving also as a stewardship financial consultant, Mark Miller has transitioned well to being a gifted writer for murder mysteries and having his characters grow in their interactions and in their connection to God, the divine, however known.
Creighton Yale observes early in the novel that the demise of the former minister and librarian in Tillamook as :
“clouds and rain and truth covered. More than that, buried, with no tombstones.” (P. 4)
Tricia then shows Nathan a beautiful site:
HE looked at her, ‘Hey preacher. Hey fishing guide. Hey homicide detective.”
Tears then filled his eyes.” I’m overwhelmed. “
“That’s good. But truth, Nathan, it’s not me. It’s Haystack Rock. If I had 24 hours to live. I’d get a tent, get permission to camp right down there, even close to where the high tide would reach. and wait for God to deliver me. Haystack Rock is the most perfect place on earth. You can see, no matter the future, this is a part of goodness and value. as Creighton says, always. “(P. 18)
Mark Miller is fond of frequently encouraging ideas to marinate, whether it be for a sermon or for a book narrative. Here the marination has been most effective.
Truth Uncovered does deliver, the clouds and rain give way to sunny skies and clear vistas and to new relationships and possibilities that lead from Good Fridays to new Easters!
May the truth always be uncovered for all of us.
May it be so.
(Truth Uncovered, Author Books, 2018, 237 Pages)