I had a fun chat with author Lynn A. Davidson at her blog, Polilla Writes, and one commenter will win a copy of one of my suspense novels (their choice). It’s a print book if they’re in continental North America, or an ebook if they live anywhere else.
Pop over and check it out: click here. (Giveaway ends Nov. 30, 2017, but the interview will stay online.)
Blind Justice, by James Scott Bell (Compendium Press, 2013. Originally published in 2000.)
While Howie Patino was confronting horror he could scarcely have imagined, I was trying hard to come up with one good reason why I should continue to breathe. [Page 7]
That’s how chapter two begins. Chapter one shows the murder Howie’s about to be charged with, and chapter two introduces Jake Denney, a disgraced, alcoholic lawyer who’s sitting in the corner of a tavern using a pen and yellow legal pad to list the pros and cons of ending his life.
Told in a snappy, noir-like first person with brilliant descriptions that show as much about Jake as they do about what or who he sees, this is a page-turning clean read with a background thread of faith.
Howie is a childlike man who’s helpless in the criminal system. Jake drinks his way through the book, sabotaging himself at every turn but unwilling to give in to the overly-strong pressure from the prosecutor.
Christian readers will pick up a sense of spiritual warfare, although Jake himself doesn’t believe. Howie’s sister, Lindsay, tries to convince Jake to clean up his act and consider the possibility that there’s more to life than what he sees.
Readers who like to see the character begin to change for the better by the midpoint will find their patience stretched, and I felt that much of the forward progress of the plot, including the dramatic resolution, depended on people around Jake rather than Jake himself. That seems to work with the spiritual warfare sense, that God is moving for Howie’s sake and for justice’s sake despite Jake’s stubbornness.
So, plot-wise, this shows as one of James Scott Bell’s earlier works. Voice-wise, it’s delightfully refreshing and it offers a great example to writers wanting to enhance their descriptive skills.
This was my first James Scott Bell novel, because I’m not a fan of courtroom drama. I’ve discovered that I am a fan of his writing style, and will be looking for more of his fiction. I’m already benefiting from his books on the craft of writing. For more about the author and his books, visit jamesscottbell.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]
Fault Lines, by Thomas Locke (Revell, 2017)
In which book 3 is book 1… Fault Lines, the newest release in the techno-thriller series of the same name, fits first in the series chronology. If you’ve read Double Edge, the free ebook prequel, you’ll recognize the first four chapters of Fault Lines, but the rest is all new, expanding on what the prequel set in place, and a highly recommended read.
If you’ve read the previous books, grab this one. If you’re new to the series, dive in here. It’s fast-paced, a great read, and it’s clean. Although Revell is a publisher of Christian fiction, this book has only faint references to faith and would suit readers of all backgrounds.
This is the story of Charlie Hazard, a “risk containment specialist” whose life is upended when a strange and beautiful woman implores him to help her with a mysterious – and dangerous – mission.
Charlie is my favourite type of hero: a strong, competent character who’s over his head but readers know that somehow he’ll find a way to beat the odds. He draws together a team who will need to do the impossible.
The technology at the core of the series doesn’t exist yet, but with the events rooted in the present (or very near future) I hesitate to call it science fiction.
As always, the author’s choice of words and phrases adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the story. Here’s an example:
Every now and then she would stop talking and touch her tongue to her lips, as though she wanted to taste a certain word, as though another thought was crowding into her mouth. [Reese, page 58]
And my favourite line, because of the nod to the film, Casablanca:
“You think I would drive to Como for the waters, perhaps? For my health?” [Edoardo, page 244]
Fault Lines is a great read, and now I want to re-read the next book in the series, Trial Run.
Thomas Locke is the pen name of the prolific and award-winning Davis Bunn, who incorporates a stronger faith thread in the books under his own name. For more about the author and his books, visit tlocke.com.
Have you seen this amazing giveaway from BookSweeps?
You can win my book Secrets and Lies, plus books from authors like Christy Barritt and Susan Sleeman, PLUS a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet! This giveaway ends July 31, 2017, so make sure you enter soon.
Join the fun here: bit.ly/2u9Z7ep
When you’re done, tell me which books you’re most excited to win!
Missing, 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.]
Fatal Illusions, by Adam Blumer (first edition: Kregel Publications, 2009; second edition: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2015)
In Cincinnati, a serial killer targets fair-haired teen girls with wire-rimmed glasses. After four years, the detective most invested in the case, Chuck Riley, has to retire and leave it un-solved.
In Chicago, Gillian Thayer can’t get past her grief over losing her unborn twins after years of fertility treatments. Her husband, Marc, is a busy pastor who’s never around. Her only daughter, Crystal, is 16 and beginning to move outside Gillian’s protective reach. Crystal, as it happens, has fair hair and new wire-rimmed glasses.
When Marc is involved in a scandal, his church asks him to take a leave of absence until the fuss dies down. They find him temporary work at a historic lighthouse in Whistler’s Point, on the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Michigan.
The Thayers haven’t even heard of the Magician Murderer. And nobody has any idea that the killer has relocated to Whistler’s Point.
Fatal Illusions is compelling suspense that includes snippets from the killer’s point of view without becoming too graphic. At the same time, it’s character-oriented, and those characters are people we can root for (or at least root for them to change, in a couple of cases).
The Thayers are Bible-believing Christians, but they deal with ongoing human weaknesses. A bonus for me was seeing how they try to apply their faith to their struggles, and how in their better moments they realize there’s more at stake than their particular circumstances. At times both Gillian and Crystal stop to ponder what God might want to do or say through them to the people they’re with.
The faith element is not heavy-handed, but it gives an encouraging example to believing readers who, like the Thayers, are still learning to fully live by faith.
Fatal Illusions is Adam Blumer’s first novel. His second, The Tenth Plague, also features Marc and Gillian Thayer. For more about the author and his books, visit adamblumerbooks.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]
Because it’s short, and because it collects all the bonus features you could read here on the site if you took time to find them, my intent is to make this ebook free. At present it’s free for Kobo, Nook, but only free for Kindle in the US. Elsewhere for Kindle it’s 99 cents USD, which is the lowest they’ll let me set it. Kindle readers outside the US, I’ve tried my best to convince Amazon to match the free price, with no success. 🙁 You can find the bonus features listed on each novel’s book page here on my site. You might also have more luck than I’ve had with asking Amazon to match the price if you can find it free at one of their online competitors in your country. Readers who prefer iBooks, I’m sorry, but Apple only wants full stories, so they won’t take a book of bonus features.
Book of Days, by James L. Rubart (B&H Publishing Group, 2011)
Cameron is in his early 30s but he’s losing chunks of his memory. His only hope lies in a cryptic mission from his father: to find the Book of Days. If such a thing exists, it holds everyone’s memories – past, present and future.
Supposedly this is God’s Book, based on Psalm 139:16. Cameron doesn’t believe in God, either, so that’s not much help. But his father did, and so did his wife.
Cameron’s quest forces him to turn to his dead wife’s foster-sister Ann for help, and it takes him to his father’s boyhood town, where secrets abound.
I enjoyed James Rubart’s writing style and the characters he created. There were plenty of clues, obstacles, and surprises along the way, as well as a few heart-warming moments. Looking back from the end, the only thing that doesn’t make sense to me is why a certain photo had been so carefully hidden.
The novel includes some well-turned phrases. Here’s my favourite:
…all he’d achieved was exhaustion. And a neck that felt like guitar strings tuned three octaves too high. [Kindle location 5415 in the Rooms/Book of Days/The Chair ebook box set]
Despite some of the New Age townsfolk, this is not an overly mystical novel, and I think it would suit anyone who enjoys a good contemporary story that includes Christianity, mystery and romance.
James L. Rubart is a writer and speaker whose website tag line is “Live free.” His most recent novel is The Five Times I Met Myself. For more about the author and his books, visit jameslrubart.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]
Brock Daniels is the hero of HL Wegley’s new political thriller, Voice in the Wilderness. Here’s an interview that’s not in the novel, but it could easily have happened “off-stage.”
Background: A reporter is sent to interview Brock Daniels, after he clears customs at LAX. He’s returning from a mission trip to Guatemala, where he encountered Ebola in a place the disease has never been seen. Though cleared to travel, the media’s reporting that Brock might have been exposed.
REPORTER: Mr. Brock Daniels?
BROCK: Yes, ma’am. Who’s asking?
REPORTER: I’m a reporter for a local newspaper. May I have a few minutes of your time?
BROCK: This is LAX. What you mean by a local newspaper?
REPORTER: I work for the LA Times. Do you have a few minutes?
BROCK: I’ve got more than a few minutes. We just missed our flight due to spending eight hours being poked, prodded, and interrogated.
REPORTER: That’s one of the things I wanted to ask you about. We heard that the W.H.O. was here talking to you. Is it true that you were exposed to Ebola in Guatemala?
BROCK: Bad news travels fast. But we don’t know that we were exposed to Ebola.
REPORTER: We? Does that include the young lady with you?
BROCK: Yes. This is Julia Weiss.
REPORTER: So are you two a couple?
BROCK: I, uh …
JULIA: Brock, I think I’ll excuse myself and let you talk to this nice lady.
BROCK: Thanks, Julia … I think.
REPORTER: Okay, Mr. Daniels. What were you doing in Guatemala that exposed you to Ebola?
BROCK: Like I said, we don’t know if we were exposed. Four adults from my church were chaperoning a team of high schoolers on a short-term mission project helping people in a remote village. One of the young girls in the village became very sick. I had heard Ebola symptoms described by missionaries who had seen the disease in Africa. There’s never been a case of Ebola in Central America, but I was suspicious. So, we found medical help and a doctor confirmed that she had Ebola.
REPORTER: How many people got sick?
BROCK: As far as I know, just the one girl. Look, I’ve been up for twenty-four hours, and I’m really tired. I’ll answer a few more questions for you, unless I don’t like where the questions are going.
REPORTER: Fair enough. Didn’t you plan to pitch in the major leagues? Someone said they clocked your fastball as high as 105 miles-per-hour.
BROCK: Someone has a big mouth. Things change. So do plans.
REPORTER: They sure do. Now you have quite a reputation as a blogger. What do you write about?
BROCK: I write about the truth—truth in morality and ethics, in theology, history, philosophy, and religion. And I write about the state, what it should and should not be doing. Every few weeks I make a prediction about what will happen in the USA, based upon recent events and trends. Those posts tend to go viral.
REPORTER: How many people does your blog reach?
BROCK: Over a million.
REPORTER: My, oh my. A million followers? I understand that your posts are heavily critical of President Hannan.
BROCK: He’s certainly given the citizens of the United States plenty of reasons to criticize him. He violates the Constitution at every turn, using policies in the agencies and departments, coupled with executive orders. He’s emasculating our military and bankrupting the nation. Now, he’s prosecuting people of faith for simply living out their beliefs as they’ve always done in America. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
REPORTER: It sounds like you have it in for the president.
BROCK: Ma’am … I think he has it in for us, the citizens. And, especially, for me.
REPORTER: Some people call Brock Daniels a prophet, the voice crying in the wilderness. What do you say to—
BROCK: I can’t control what people say about me. But the truth is, I’m just a struggling writer who’s a bit of a Christian apologist.
REPORTER: Changing the subject. You never did tell me … are you and Ms. Weiss a couple?
BROCK: No. Julia’s a wonderful woman, but not for me.
REPORTER: So is there a special woman in Brock Daniels’ life?
BROCK: I don’t know. I thought there was. But she’s been away for a long time.
REPORTER: Can you give us a clue who you’re talking about?
BROCK: She’s going through some pretty tough times. Her mother and her father, a US senator, were killed in a plane crash a while ago.
REPORTER: The daughter of a dead US senator … you must be talking about Katheryn Banning?
BROCK: Yeah. KC and I have known each other since we were kids. We were pretty close growing up, then … well, things happened. Her father moved the family to DC and, after he intentionally split us up, we haven’t gotten back together.
REPORTER: You don’t sound very happy about that. Were you two—
BROCK: Now, I don’t like where your questions are going. Are you sure that someone in the Hannan Administration didn’t put you up to this? Probing into the life of Abe Hannan’s public enemy number one, Brock Daniels?
REPORTER: Well, actually … uh—
BROCK: That’s what I thought. How much is he paying you? Am I next on his hit list?
BROCK: Okay. Tell you what … since you’re so interested in my love life, maybe you’d like me to kiss you. I hear it’s a really fun way to spread Ebola. Hey, Ms. LA Times! There’s no need to leave. I think I feel a coughing fit coming on.
What if your blog could save the nation, but posting to it might cost your life?
Two extraordinary people …
As catastrophes drive the US into martial law, all eyes are on America, waiting to see what emerges. KC Banning, network specialist, discovers President Hannan’s tyrannical plans and is branded a terrorist, sending her fleeing the Beltway to find her childhood soulmate and protector, Brock Daniels. Brock, a writer and man of faith, gives CPR to a dying nation through his blog, which is read by military members still loyal to the Constitution. But starting a grassroots insurgency while reconciling KC’s and Brock’s broken relationship proves difficult. When Hannan sends Special Forces to kill Brock and KC, starting a war in the Central Oregon desert, reconciliation, like staying alive, might be impossible.
born for a time such as this.
Set in Washington DC and near Crooked River Ranch in the Central Oregon desert, Voice in the Wilderness, Book 1 of the Against All Enemies Series, is a political thriller, with romance, about two people who must decide if they’re willing to sacrifice their lives to prevent the USA from becoming the Dystopian States of America.
H. L. Wegley served as an Air Force Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. In civilian life, he worked as a research scientist, publishing in the scientific literature, then developed Boeing computing systems for 20 years before he and his wife of 50 years retired near Seattle. He is a multi-published author with a 4-book inspirational thriller series, 2 nonfiction books, and 4 more novels on the way.
Link to the author’s website: hlwegley.com