Book Review + Giveaway! — The Blue Cloak

2 Apr


About The Book

Book:  The Blue Cloak

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre:  Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: March, 2020

9781643523149Evil Incarnate Leaves a Trail of Destruction across the Frontier

Book 5 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence in 1797 at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend Sally Rice’s wedding only to watch the marriage dissolve into horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin Micajah become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims.

How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?


Click here for your copy.


My Impressions:

The old saying truth is stranger than fiction is alive and well with The Blue Cloak. This fictional account of the first serial killers in American history draws on the account of the Harpes, two brothers (or cousins) who terrorized the people of Tennessee and Kentucky in the late 1790s. Modern-day murderers had nothing on these ruthless men. Shannon McNear does a great job of balancing the evil that lived in their actions with the faith and determination of those seeking to bring them to justice. The novel is a bit dark, but the graphic details are kept at a minimum. I admit to googling while reading this book — and McNear has the facts down while creating two wonderful fictional main characters that kept the story going as well as bringing light to an otherwise dark tale. And it is that balance that makes this book very readable. True crime can be gruesome, but with McNear’s narrative the reader sees that good always triumphs. I found the story incredible and riveting — I never dreamed that such things occurred in our nation’s early history. But there is never anything new under the sun, and evil exists at all times. It is good to read a story where justice prevailed and redemption reigned.

If you like history (McNear pays attention to details) and true crime, then I recommend The Blue Cloak to you. You won’t be about to put it down!


Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

ShannonMcNearTransplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at, or on Facebook and Goodreads.


More from Shannon

How dark is too dark for a Christian to write?

That was the question I wrestled with when deciding whether or not to take on the story of the Harpes. The histories in Scripture itself aren’t rated G, but writing fiction requires a level of detail and depth of emotion I wasn’t sure would be wise, or helpful, to explore in this case. But as I prayed and sought the counsel of those whose discernment I trust, the answer came back, overwhelmingly …

Is God stronger than the darkness, or not?

Well, of course He is. And nothing in human history has ever escaped His notice, or taken Him by surprise.

So, was there something redeeming to be found in the tale of the Harpes?

For the first few weeks of research, I walked around in a state of shock at the horror of the historical accounts, but details surfaced that helped me shape my fictional characters Rachel and Ben. With Rachel working in her family’s trading post near the wild frontier town of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Ben a lawyer who recently passed the bar, the real-life Hugh Lawson White provided a handy connection point between them. Many other details fell together in ways I had not foreseen when I began developing the story. Sally Rice Harpe, however, rose to the forefront. This was more her story than anyone’s, but realizing I couldn’t properly write the book without using her point of view? That was scary. I knew the moments I’d have to visit, some of them in real-time.

Despite the tragedy, however, I could see an overarching story of spiritual warfare. Felt a growing conviction that prayer must have played a vital role in bringing the Harpes’ reign of terror to an end. So it is my hope that against the backdrop of one of the most chilling episodes of our country’s early history, the hand of God shows clearly, and that yes, the reader finds it redemptive.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 24

Texas Book-aholic, March 24

Inklings and notions, March 25

Girls in White Dresses, March 25

Emily Yager, March 25

Godly Book Reviews, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

Among the Reads, March 27

Through the Fire Blogs, March 27

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 28

Christian Bookaholic, March 28

Inside the Wong Mind, March 28

For the Love of Literature, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Betti Mace, March 30

Older & Smarter?, March 30

deb’s Book Review, March 30

Robin’s Nest, March 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 1


Stories By Gina, April 1

By The Book, April 2

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 2

Blossoms and Blessings, April 2

A Reader’s Brain, April 3

Connie’s History Classroom, April 3

Artistic Nobody, April 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 4

Back Porch Reads, April 4

Daysong Reflections, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Pause for Tales, April 5

Britt Reads Fiction, April 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 6

Hallie Reads, April 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 6


To celebrate her tour, Shannon is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Blue Cloak and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

4 Responses to “Book Review + Giveaway! — The Blue Cloak”

  1. shannonmcnear April 2, 2020 at 1:15 pm #

    Thank you SO very much for your kind words! I hugely appreciate everyone taking the time to read, review, and feature my book on their blogs, but it’s always a bonus when you actually like the story! ❤ Blessings!

    • rbclibrary April 3, 2020 at 6:24 am #


  2. debra Lindquist April 4, 2020 at 1:36 pm #

    I have not read any of your books, but this one sounds very good. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  3. carylkane April 6, 2020 at 8:23 am #

    Wonderful review! I’m enjoying this series! 🙂

Comments are closed.

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