Tag Archives: Lisa Harris

Review: Pursued, by Lisa Harris

Pursued, by Lisa HarrisPursued, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2017)

Special Agent Nikki Boyd is a missing persons investigator in Nashville. Usually she hunts for strangers, but this time it’s more personal: she met Erika, the missing woman, on a plane, just before it crashed. Erika disappeared from the crash site, and Nikki must help the FBI find her before she’s found by the man who wants her dead.

I’ve enjoyed this series, and each book is better than the last. The pacing in this one is relentless, with the entire story packed into 48 hours. As the case becomes even more personal, Nikki can’t back away, despite being pushed beyond her physical and emotional limits.

At the same time, she’s trying to discover the next step in her relationship with Tyler, the friend she’s fallen in love with, and to process some devastating news from her doctor.

One of the things I most appreciate in this series is how Nikki faces the darkness of her cases with faith that God will help her do her job, and that He can take even the broken pieces and make something beautiful. This is never superficial, but grows out of deep struggle.

Pursued is book 3 in the Nikki Boyd Files series, and book 4, Vanishing Point, releases in the fall of 2017.

Author Lisa Harris writes romantic suspense and romance. For more about the author, visit lisaharriswrites.com. To follow the conversation about this series on Twitter, look for the hashtag #nikkiboydfiles.

[Review copy provided by the publisher.]

Review: Missing, by Lisa Harris

Missing, by Lisa HarrisMissing, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2016)

Nikki Boyd and her partner, Jack Spencer, specialize in finding missing persons. Their newest case also involves murder, and the body count keeps growing. Can they find the missing woman before her enemies do?

Complicating the issue is the fact that Nikki’s good friend Tyler Grant and another man she knows are both linked with the crime. And somewhere in the process of comforting Tyler after his wife’s death, she’s fallen for him, even though he’s not ready to move on.

Missing is a fast-paced suspense novel that starts with action and doesn’t slow down. Nikki and Tyler are realistic characters with depth and struggles, learning to live with crippling loss. And learning not to blame themselves for what happened. In Nikki’s case, her younger sister’s abduction is the reason she’s in this line of work. It lets her empathize with victims’ families, but it also takes an emotional toll.

This is book 2 in the Nikki Boyd Files series. You don’t have to have read book 1, Vendetta, first, but it’s a series worth starting at the beginning. For more about author Lisa Harris and her novels, visit lisaharriswrites.com.

[Review copy provided by the publisher for an unbiased review.]

Review: Vendetta, by Lisa Harris

Vendetta, by Lisa HarrisVendetta, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2015)

Missing persons investigator Nikki Boyd brings an extra empathy to her cases, since it was her own sister’s disappearance that led her to this career. Ten years after the fact, logic says her sister can’t still be alive when the other victims have been found dead, but Nikki’s heart won’t give up hope.

When Nikki and her friend Tyler are called to investigate a missing teen girl, it doesn’t take long for similarities in the case to make Nikki wonder if her sister’s abductor is back in action after years of silence. If it’s the same man, he’s grown sloppy. Or he’s playing with them.

Vendetta is a fast-paced, well-plotted novel, as Nikki, Tyler and their team race the clock to find the missing girl. A large part of the chase is set in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

As always, author Lisa Harris gives us lifelike characters with issues of their own. Nikki can’t let her personal pain affect her investigation, no matter what mind games the abductor plays. And Tyler’s still grieving for his dead wife, who’d been Nikki’s best friend. Nikki and Tyler are both struggling to know where God is in their hurts.

Although the novel is a really good read, I didn’t feel as drawn in as I did with the author’s Southern Crimes series. There may be too many flashback scenes, snippets of Nikki’s past, or perhaps it’s the number of characters. I did have trouble keeping the search team and volunteers straight, although the narrative only focused on a few. Nonetheless, Vendetta is the start of a new series I’d definitely recommend.

Award-winning author Lisa Harris has written almost 30 books, including the Southern Crimes series (Dangerous Passage, Fatal Exchange, and Hidden Agenda.) She and her family are missionaries living in Mozambique. For more about the author and her books, visit lisaharriswrites.com.

[Review copy provided by the publisher.]

Review: Recipe for Murder, by Lisa Harris

Recipe for Murder, by Lisa HarrisRecipe For Murder (Cozy Crumb Mystery Series Book 1), by Lisa Harris (Lisa Harris, 2013)

When retired cooking instructor Pricilla Crumb steps in as chef at her son’s hunting lodge, she’s hoping to spend time with him and perhaps work herself into a job. Truth told, she also has matchmaking on her mind, having invited her friend Max and his single, charming daughter.

What she’s not expecting is murder.

When one of the guests dies, Pricilla involves herself in the investigation. Max appoints himself as her protector, with matchmaking ideas of his own. He needs to keep Pricilla safe long enough to discover if they have a chance at a relationship, themselves.

Pricilla is your typical, amateur sleuth, thinking she can take on a murderer. For all the mistakes she makes along the way, she does turn up information that helps solve the case.

It’s interesting to watch characters in their 60’s begin to navigate the complexities of a new relationship. We’ll have to read the rest of the series to see how Max and Pricilla tackle what will be a long-distance relationship (and she doesn’t even use email).

I found the delivery a little slow, and Pricilla would annoy me if I lived with her. She’s a kind person, though, with a concern for people’s spiritual needs as well as their physical comfort. And she’s an amazing cook.

Recipe for Murder is a cozy mystery that’s good for an easy read without a lot of tension. Sometimes that’s exactly what we need.

Award-winning Lisa Harris also writes higher-stakes romantic suspense, including her Southern Crimes series. Her website is presently under renovations but she’s still active on her blog: myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.ca. I received my ebook copy of Recipe for Murder for free by signing up for her author newsletter, which you can do on her blog. The rest of the Cozy Crumb Mystery Series is available through the regular online booksellers.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Interview: Suspense Author Lisa Harris

Photo of author Lisa Harris

Lisa Harris

Lisa Harris is a Christy Award winner and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. The author of almost thirty books, including Dangerous Passage, Fatal Exchange, and Hidden Agenda, Harris and her family have spent twelve years living as missionaries in southern Africa. They currently live in Mozambique where she leads a women’s ministry and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

Janet: Welcome, Lisa, and thanks for taking time to join us. I’m sure this is a busy time for you, with the release of your new novel. Each installment of Southern Crimes builds on the previous ones, and Hidden Agenda has a pretty major spoiler for the earlier books: Michael Hunt is alive. I’d been secretly wishing for this, and I hope he can stay alive until the end of the book!

Lisa: Thanks so much for having, Janet! I knew from the beginning I wanted to tell Michael’s story. There was something about him that just wouldn’t let me go! 🙂 So, yes, I loved writing his story, and don’t worry… I had to have a happy ending to the series!

Janet: Hidden Agenda is book 3 in the Southern Crimes series. Do readers need to read books 1 and 2 first? Tell us a bit about the series.

Lisa: I did my best to make each story a stand alone book, meaning the main mystery in each book does conclude. But the three books are definitely tied together. So while you can read book three by itself, to get the entire Hunt family story, it’s best to read them in order.

Janet: I agree! One thing I’m curious about: you’re serving as a missionary in Mozambique, an exotic location in its own right. Why did you decide to set these stories in Atlanta?

Lisa: Several years ago, I wrote Blood Ransom, a novel that focused on human trafficking in Africa. At the time, I had no idea this was an issue in the US. With this new series, I decided that setting this story in the US, the backdrop of human trafficking would not only make an exciting story, but would also help people become aware of this very real issue. Atlanta ended up being the perfect backdrop then for this new series.

Janet: I see your Love Inspired novel, Taken, which releases next month, is set in the US and in Paris. Might we see some fiction from you that visits African settings?

Lisa: Yes! I have several, actually. Blood Ransom and Blood Covenant are both romantic suspense set in a fictional African country and deal with human trafficking and refugee camps. An Ocean Away is a historical set in Rhodesia and New York City in the 1920s. Earlier this year, LIS published Deadly Safari that is set in South Africa. I’m really excited because LIS wants me to continue writing international romantic suspense which I love! I just finished another one for them that will come out next fall and is set off the coast of West Africa.

Janet: It’s great to see more international fiction! Lisa, in the Southern Crimes series, you don’t just give us “cop dramas” – your characters have complicated family dynamics and relationships, which makes them feel more real. Avery is dealing with life as a widow and single mom, Emily hears her biological clock ticking but doesn’t need a mate to be complete, and Michael’s humanity will come out as we read his story. I’m sure this helps you relate to them as you write. What do readers say about your characters?

Lisa: That is exactly what I want my readers to feel, Janet! I want my stories to be fast-paced and exciting, but I also want to show how real people might react to difficult, intense situations. And how God can use them in spite of their weaknesses. My publisher just showed me a review from Suspense Magazine that I love. The reviewer said, “Harris’ appealing characters—especially deaf and brilliant Ivan, a great example of someone with a sensory challenge who is not disabled because of it…” I loved that a reader saw that.

Janet: Now that I’ve read the novel, I can say I appreciated Ivan as well. Do you have a favourite character in the series?

Lisa: That is so hard! I’m going to go with Emily in book two, because I think she’s the most like me. I would have been terrified in the situation she faced, which is why I loved watching her struggle and grow through the experience.

Janet: Thinking about Hidden Agenda, what’s the novel’s theme? Or what do you want readers to take away when they’re done?

Lisa: I’d like them to be able to look at their own lives—their own faith—and realize that God is still in control even if everything seems to be falling apart. At one point in the story, Michael says, ‘Sometimes there simply aren’t answers. At least not the answers we’re looking for. Walking through the fire forces us to face God. To strip our souls of all of the charades we play, until we see only Him.‘ That’s what I want for my own life. To truly see Him!

Janet: Michael’s experiences earn him the right to speak like that. There’s nothing trite in his words. These novels must have required a lot of research. What’s the oddest bit of trivia you’ve picked up?

Lisa: You’re right. I Google the craziest things, sometimes. Things I wish I didn’t know about the cartel, the beautiful Georgia barrier islands, electronic bugs, spy equipment, and bombs for example. One interesting bit of trivia I recently learned was that you can pretty easily escape if ever tied up with duct tape. (At least according to YouTube). That was a surprise to me. One of the most interesting books I ever had to research was An Ocean Away. I read a couple fascinating books about the culture of Rhodesia that were almost a hundred years old, as well as New York City trivia from the 1920’s. I had to force myself to stop researching many times in order to actually write!

Janet: Is there another Southern Crimes novel in the works, or what’s next?

Lisa: No, sadly I’ve had to leave the Hunt family behind as far as writing goes. But I’m not currently writing another series for Revell that will come out next Fall that I’m super excited about! It’s a series about a missing person task force. More information about it soon!

Janet: I’ll be watching for it! What got you started writing?

Lisa: It was something I always wanted to do, but didn’t really start until my eldest was born. He was the perfect baby and slept a lot while I was a stay-at-home mom with no car. So I decided to write a book and I did. I haven’t stopped writing since!

Janet: What’s life like when you’re not writing?

Lisa: While I do write pretty full time (this year especially) I’m also very involved in our ministry here in Mozambique. And until a few months ago, was also homeschooling at least some of our three kids. I also coordinate our women’s ministry and run a non-profit (www.theECHOproject.org) that allows us to help people’s physical needs we encounter every day alongside their spiritual needs.

Janet: Tell us something you appreciate about where you live.

Lisa: While we don’t go often enough, I love going to the Indian Ocean and watching the humpback whales breach while they’re migrating off the coast. It’s so beautiful!

Janet: That would be amazing. What’s one thing you wish people knew about life as a missionary?

Lisa: I think some people tend to romanticize mission work, but it’s not as exotic as it might seem. Life here is day in and day out a part of people’s lives around us. Like everyone there are ups and downs, and we see a lot of really tough things along the way. But in the end, we know we’re called and the hard parts are worth it.

Janet: What do you like to do to recharge?

Lisa: Somewhere quiet outside, like a drive through Kruger Park, or a walk along the beach. A place where I can be reminded of God’s presence.

Janet: Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a difference for you?

Lisa: I like to remind myself that this life is temporary and heaven is waiting! I love Paul’s reminder in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our “momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison!”

Thank you so much for having me, Janet!

Janet: Thanks again for visiting, Lisa. Readers, feel free to leave questions or comments on this post, and please note that Lisa is offering a free cozy mystery ebook when you sign up for her author newsletter.

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For more about Lisa Harris, including her books and ministry and photos of Africa’s wild side, visit her website: lisaharriswrites.com.

Hidden Agenda, by Lisa Harris

Hidden Agenda, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2015)

Michael Hunt is alive—and on the run. Presumed dead by friends and family, the undercover assignment he’s been working for the past eight months has just been blown. With a hit out on his life and corruption inside the Atlanta police department, Michael finds himself hunted by both the cartel and the law. His only hope is the daughter of the man who wants him dead.

Book 3 in the Southern Crimes series.

Review: Hidden Agenda, by Lisa Harris

Hidden Agenda, by Lisa HarrisHidden Agenda, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2015)

Hidden Agenda is book 3 in Lisa Harris’ Southern Crimes series, and it follows the events in book 2 (Fatal Exchange) by about a week.

I heartily encourage you to begin with book 1, Dangerous Passage, and if you plan to do so, don’t read the rest of this review.

Hidden Agenda contains a massive spoiler for the first two books.

Still here?

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And now for my review:

Contrary to what his family believes, Michael Hunt is not dead. He’s been working undercover for the past eight months, gaining evidence on the leader of an international drug cartel. Now his life’s in danger and he has to rely on the daughter of the man he swore to bring down. Will he live long enough to see his family again?

Michael isn’t the only one searching for the truth.

Olivia Hamilton is after the truth, as well. She’s a journalist. It’s what she does. So how can she have been so oblivious to a lifetime’s hints that her father isn’t simply a successful businessman? Will the truth be worth the cost?

Hidden Agenda is a chase novel, with Michael, Olivia, and her brother Ivan only a few steps ahead of their pursuers. Wounded, Michael must get them to safety. He can’t let his attraction to Olivia distract his focus.

This is more than a chase novel, though, and more than a romance. Michael has been undercover too long, and he’s forgetting who he really is. Olivia and Ivan have lost part of their identities with the revelation of their father’s true nature, and more grief strikes as they flee.

These three characters find their faith shaken and tested by the evil they encounter. They discover that belief isn’t about pat answers or happy endings, but about trusting God in the middle of the worst that life can throw at them.

I appreciated the character of Ivan, who is deaf. He’s resourceful and possibly brilliant, but Olivia has mothered him since their mother died, and at 19 he needs to break free. Ironically, it’s Olivia’s own experiences with Michael’s overprotective streak that help her learn how her brother feels – and to give him his space.

Well-plotted and tautly-written, Hidden Agenda is a fun read and a great finish to a series that just kept getting better. I’ve enjoyed “meeting” the Hunt family in these three stories.

Bestselling author Lisa Harris has over 30 novels and novella collections to her credit. She and her family serve as missionaries in Africa, where she also runs the ECHO Project.

[Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.]

Review: Fatal Exchange, by Lisa Harris

Fatal Exchange, by Lisa HarrisFatal Exchange, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2014)

Emily Hunt’s father is a retired police captain. Her sister’s a detective. Her brother was on the force and died in the line of duty. Emily has chosen a quieter way to make a difference: she’s a teacher.

Fatal Exchange is her worst nightmare. A trusted student takes Emily’s high school class hostage, demanding two million dollars in ransom. How can she talk Rafael down, and keep the others calm?

For undercover cop Mason Taylor, it’s personal. He’s mentored Rafael and thought the boy trusted him. He also has feelings for Emily, despite her sister blaming him for her brother’s death. He can’t walk away from this crisis, even though he should be with his dying father.

Mason is new to relying on God. Emily has known Him for years. The circumstances stretch their faith and reveal depths of courage they didn’t know they had. Thrown together like this, are they falling in love or just developing a rescuer/rescued bond?

Mason’s and Emily’s thoughts on faith:

Learning how to pray had become a sequence of baby steps as his faith grew. Letting go and depending on someone else to lead his life had been an even bigger challenge. But lately he’d found a deeper peace as he sought to let God become his biggest source of strength. He was tired of depending on himself. [Kindle page 90]

It was easy to trust when things were going okay. Today, she felt as if she were walking on a tightrope with no safety net to catch her. [Kindle page 190]

I enjoyed book 1 in the Southern Crimes series, Dangerous Passage, and Fatal Exchange is even better. The non-stop pace makes it hard to put down. In a plot that sounds too much like real life, Emily, Rafael, Mason and the other key characters are fully-developed individuals with their own internal struggles affecting their responses.

Dangerous Passage is a Christy Award-winner, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fatal Exchange followed suit. I’m eagerly waiting for the next novel, Hidden Agenda, releasing January 2015. Author Lisa Harris writes from South Africa. For more about the author, her books and her ministry, visit lisaharriswrites.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Dangerous Passage, by Lisa Harris

Dangerous Passage, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2013)Dangerous Passage, by Lisa Harris

When a second Jane Doe is found dead in Atlanta, Georgia, Detective Avery North fears she’s dealing with a serial killer. Can she find—and stop—him before another young woman dies?

As a single mom, Avery’s life is filled with work and family. She barely has time for a pedicure, so how could she add a relationship with the handsome medical examiner, Jackson Bryant? Or is she simply afraid to let herself love again?

The hunt for a serial killer uncovers a twisted net of illegal arms shipments and human trafficking. And the killer’s mind games threaten Avery’s stability. Especially when it looks like there’s a connection with the unsolved murder of her brother, an undercover officer killed in the line of duty.

I enjoyed the mystery and the action in this novel, as well as the glimpses of how Avery learns to balance work, family, faith and personal breathing space. We’re not all detectives, but most of us have more to do in our days than time to do it, and it’s good to see how other people handle this struggle.

Forgiveness is another key theme in the novel. Avery and family have lost her brother, Michael, and she blames another member of the force. There’s no proof—yet. But she can’t stop digging. Michael’s case isn’t solved in this novel, and I expect to see more of it in the next book in the Southern Crimes series.

Lisa Harris is an award-winning author of inspirational romance and suspense. She and her husband are serving as missionaries in Mozambique. For more about the author, check out her website: lisaharriswrites.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]