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    “Nine people shot in a church.” That’s what came across the airwaves when I turned my car radio on. My heart sank thinking about the victims. They weren’t robbing a bank or attacking anyone. They weren’t resisting arrest. They were in church. Not just in church, but praying in church. Who guns down parishioners in a church? I couldn’t help but think about the times I had attended Bible Study and Prayer Meeting, never once imagining that I would be sprayed with bullets.   While listening to the report unfold, I never thought about the race of the killer or the victims. I didn’t see white or black, but only red—blood on the floor, on the pews, on the Bibles. It was only when I saw the story on the Internet that I learned the gunman was a young white man and that the people he savagely slaughtered were black. Was this new knowledge a game changer?  Did it make me angrier? Did it make me want to strike out against the white perpetrator? Did it make me hate all white people?  The answer to all the aforementioned questions is, “No....
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Missing Melissa is Alretha Thomas’ eighth novel but first mystery. In it, readers are introduced to twenty-two year old Madeline (“Maddie”) Patterson, a recent college graduate with an entry level position at a local television station. Maddie is just getting her first taste of real freedom by moving out of her family home and into an apartment with her bestie, Ruby (and her doting dog Pepper). She’s also found the courage to finally explore the most traumatic event of her past: the disappearance of her identical twin sister who is feared dead following a carjacking when both girls were three. Though Maddie and her mother were present on that long ago day, they escaped their attackers. And while the family has worked hard to put the event behind them, Maddie is convinced that Melissa is still alive—and that she’s been visiting her dreams to tell her so. Despite her family’s misgivings, Maddie meets with the local authorities to pursue reopening the investigation. She is met with resistance due to the time that has elapsed since the crime (with the exception ...
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