Teri Blake-Addison, Christian private investigator extraordinaire, was first introduced in Linda Hall's Steal Away. Steal Away was an excellently plotted novel about the missing wife of a famous minister. Although the character of Teri was not extremely impressive, the plot was enough to push the book over the edge from an "okay" to a very good novel. Linda Hallís second book featuring Teri, Chat Room, follows Steal Away's suit and succeeds (and fails) in the same areas.
Chat Room explores the case of Kim Shock, a beautiful young lawyer who has apparently disappeared after moving to Texas to live with her boyfriend, whom she met on the Internet. Kimís best friend, shy and awkward Glynis Pigott, hires Teri to figure out where her friend has gone. While Teri begins the investigation, Glynis develops a relationship with an online minister who goes by the name of Chasco. As Glynis becomes more and more deeply involved with Chasco, Teri begins stumbling upon some alarming clues that make her think that Glynis as well as Kim is in terrible danger.
Like Steal Away, Chat Room is a Christian-themed novel with much discussion about churches, faith, praying and God. However, it never falls into the trap of being preachy or condescending, and many of the faith-based themes work to further the plot instead of taking away from it. Also like Steal Away, Chat Roomís major strength is in the plot. Hall does an excellent job of dropping clues, developing suspicion and introducing red herrings. The chapters are all short (usually just a few pages), which also moves the plot along quickly.
While the plot is extremely strong, the characters never quite cross the line to likeable. While Teri is an adequate detective and generally good person, she never displays the humor or personal insights that would make the reader really develop a connection to her. However, the plot of Hallís books featuring Teri are strong enough that the reader can overlook this flaw and thoroughly enjoy her books.