An Epidemic of Old Testament Proportions Invades Chicago
A Lady Cop and a Vengeful Pastor Battle Demons Past and Present
Uhrichsville, OH – Get ready for an emotionally charged ride as a female cop and a mission pastor become the focus of a maniacal murderer’s wrath. Available in October 2011, Ten Plagues by Mary Nealy promises a white-knuckled ride.
A serial killer has struck Chicago with an epidemic of evil, patterning his murders after the ten Old Testament plagues—beginning with the plague of blood. When the first victim floats to the surface, female detective Keren Collins is on the case. Will her gift of spiritual discernment enable her to defuse the demonic pandemic? Ex-cop, now mission pastor, Paul Morris has seen his fair share of things from the dark side, including himself. Now he finds himself in the terrifying role of the killer’s messenger. Will he discover the identity of the crazed killer or become his next victim?
Ten Plagues by Mary Nealy / October 2011 / $12.99 / 352 Pages / Paperback
Meet the Author:
Mary Nealy is the suspense genre pen name for bestselling and award-winning author Mary Connealy, who is best known for her humorous Old West romances. She makes her home with her husband on a ranch in Nebraska. She has four grown daughters.
Q: Ten Plagues is an interesting take on the ten plagues from the Old Testament. Where did the idea for this novel come from?
A: I started with the idea of Keren’s gift of discerning spirits. Then I wanted her to sense an “evil beyond any she’d ever known.” And since she’s discerning spirits, a demon came to mind almost immediately. . .and a demon-possessed killer was born. Turning to the ten plagues came naturally because I wanted my demonic killer to think in biblical terms, and the ten plagues of Egypt are the perfect “countdown.” I thought through the plagues, trying to figure out how I could have a madman recreate them, and I latched onto the magicians in the Pharaoh’s court that imitated God’s plagues with their trickery. It was a perfect fit for my killer.
Q: You are best-known for writing romantic comedies with cowboys. Which genre do you have more fun with: romance or suspense?
Ten Plagues has a romance in it, and all of my romantic cowboy comedy novels have a thread of suspense, so the real switch for me was jumping from historical to contemporary. I find jumping between genres (though I always write romance) keeps my work fresh.
Q: In Ten Plagues, Keren was blessed with the gift of discerning spirits. Of the gifts of the Spirit, discerning spirits is perhaps the least well-known. Why did you choose to bless Keren with this particular gift?
A: I was reading through the list of the gifts of the Spirit and all of them are really familiar. I’ve heard people say they had all the other gifts: preaching, teaching, healing, speaking in tongues; but I saw that one gift, discerning spirits, and I realized I’d never heard anyone say they had that gift. I wondered why. What would it be like to walk up to someone and realize you were in the presence of a powerfully good spirit or a terribly evil one? Of course, being an author, I began to ask “what if?” And the book grew out of that.
Q: Pastor Paul struggles with undesirable personality traits from his past. When he gets involved with solving the murders, he begins to slip back into his old ways. What advice do you have for someone who, like Paul, has opposing forces inside them, tearing themselves apart?
A: I believe everyone is given, as a gift from God, a certain personality style, certain gifts. . and I’m not speaking of spiritual gifts. Some people are natural leaders. Some seem to be born shy. Some are logical; some are wildly emotional. All of these gifts can be nurtured and developed. I think a parent’s greatest challenge is to recognize these gifts in their children and nurture them and guide them toward serving God with their gifts. A parent who tries to override a child’s natural gifts and force them into a life that isn’t a good fit for them can do great harm to a child’s nature.
And a child blessed with these gifts can use them for good or for evil. They can serve God with their gifts or serve themselves. A natural born leader can lead others to greatness or they can lead them straight into trouble. So Paul is trying to deny his basic personality by becoming a servant, which isn’t a bad thing, but he’s got this take charge, powerful leader personality. He’s a man of faith and he’s trying to find a way to serve God, but he’s still denying his basic gifts. What he needs to do is learn to use his gifts for good. So as he turns back into a hardboiled detective, he’s going against his nature when he should be embracing his true instincts and using them for good.
Q: What do you hope your readers take away from Ten Plagues?
A: Mostly I hope they will have a really fun time and enjoy the ride as two people race against time to stop a killer. I did try not to disrespect the Bible. I studied all the verses I could find about demons and evil spirits. In the end, my demon-possessed serial killer is very over-the-top, so I hope it’s not too wild a ride.
If anyone who reads the book has the gift of discerning spirits I would love to talk with them. I have found a few people with that gift and it’s very interesting. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.