Nelson's sophomore effort educates and entertains. The spiritual aspect is outstanding, and the exploration of a religious organization that may or may not be a cult is intriguing. There's not as much mystery in this novel as there was in her first book, and the art portions -- which made the first book shine -- take a backseat to other issues.
FBI agent Tony Lucano, Desiree's boyfriend, is investigating something of his own. When it becomes apparent that Tony's and Desiree's cases are linked, Tony wants her to back off and let the authorities handle things. Her refusal leads to explosive results. (MULTNOMAH, Mar., 350 pp. $12.99)