Tag Archives: Davis Bunn

Review: Outbreak, by Davis Bunn

Outbreak, a novel by Davis Bunn

Outbreak, by Davis Bunn (Bethany House Publishers, 2019)

Epidemic? Plague? Whatever’s killing whole villages on Africa’s western coast seems connected to the changing sea currents and prevailing winds. Winds which, come hurricane season, will blow toward North America.

It’s not just certain African governments who want to keep this a secret at all costs. Someone in the US has enough power to bring the courts and the FBI—and a high-priced assassin—against the small team of Americans racing to develop a cure.

From the African continent to North America, Outbreak moves at Davis Bunn’s breakneck pace, immersing readers in danger and suspense while investing us in the lives of the main characters. The unlikely heroes are Theo Bishop, an economics professor and business-owner, Della Haverty, a journalist who’s infiltrated Bishop’s brother’s company with ulterior motives, and Avery Madison, a brilliant biologist catapulted out of his lab and into a danger zone.

A clean international thriller with threads of romance and faith, Outbreak is plausible enough to be frightening. In that sense, it reminds me of The Domino Effect, also by Davis Bunn (except where Outbreak deals with an environmental/medical risk, The Domino Effect is economic).

Davis Bunn is an incredibly prolific writer whose fiction spans multiple genres. He also writes as Thomas Locke. For more about the author and his work, visit DAVISBUNNBOOKS or see his page on Goodreads.

[Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.]

Review: Fault Lines, by Thomas Locke

Fault Lines, by Thomas Locke. Prequel novel to the Fault Lines series. #technothriller #cleanreadsFault 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.

[Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.]

Review: Miramar Bay, by Davis Bunn

Miramar Bay, by Davis Bunn Miramar Bay, by Davis Bunn (Kensington Books, 2017)

Sometimes you need to run away to find yourself. And so we meet Connor Larkin, up-and-coming actor, seeking anonymity on the midnight bus out of Hollywood after his highly-publicized engagement event.

Connor has been to the town of Miramar Bay once before, and he thinks it’s the place he’ll find some clarity. He’s not expecting to find an ally in the local police chief, or to be brought to tears by the music drifting from a local restaurant.

Sophie Cassick, the restaurant owner, can’t let her own troubles keep her from hiring “Connor Smith” when he pleads for a job. Whatever his secrets, he’ll fit in with the rest of her loyal crew of misfits.

Miramar Bay is a heart-warming, feel-good novel, perfect for a summer read. Complex characters and meticulous details make it more than a romance. It’s also a story of friendship, loyalty, estrangement, regrets, and second chances. It’s about remembering to dream again.

Internationally-bestselling author Davis Bunn is most known for his Christian fiction. Miramar Bay is a general-market book, so don’t expect an overt faith thread. As a Christian reader, I see God’s work through the characters and circumstances and in response to one woman’s cry of “I need help,” but the characters themselves don’t fully think that through on-page.

Although lawyers only play a small part in the novel, my favourite lines both describe them:

Everything was very normal about Harold. However, Sylvie often suspected that given the right motivation, the top would spring open to his tight little box, and out would pop the evil clown. [p. 181]

Sol offered a cat’s smile, all teeth and malice. [p. 257]

For more about the author and his books, visit Davis Bunn Books. Writers and aspiring writers are strongly encouraged to check out his blog, Notes from Davis. Curious readers may find it interesting too, to peek behind the scenes at the struggles many writers face.

[Review copy from the public library.]

Review: The Domino Effect, by Davis Bunn

The Domino Effect, by Davis BunnThe Domino Effect, by Davis Bunn (Bethany House, 2016)

Risk analysis. Esther Larson excels at it in her position with a major US financial institution. But if her personal projections are right, the global economy is teetering on the brink of disaster. There are too many high-level trades that skirt just past the safety restrictions.

The fear of economic disaster is something many North Americans live with, and The Domino Effect catches our imaginations with its horrifying “what if” that could conceivably play out in our  real-life near future.

As the plot builds and Esther risks revealing her fears, she moves from feeling afraid yet helpless and alone to choosing to do even the small amount she can – and finding out she’s not alone. That’s a message many readers will appreciate.

If financial thrillers don’t appeal to you, check this one out anyway. I confess I skimmed the technical details (although Esther does a good job of translating her concerns into everyday language) but this is a novel with heart.

Breaching her isolation brings Esther into contact with single dad Craig Wessex and his struggling daughters, Samantha and Abigail. Esther’s work with the girls helps her process her grief over her brother’s apparently-permanent injury as well as her childhood grief over her parents’ deaths.

This is also a novel with villains playing for high stakes. And it builds to a suitably tense conclusion. Numbers may be dry, but imminent disaster is most definitely not. The final pages of this one sent a chill across my scalp and some mist to my eyes.

Favourite lines:

Beneath his mild-mannered exterior beat the soul of a cautious assassin. [p. 88]

The sight was so jarring, the images did not want to fit together. [p. 196]

Davis Bunn has a reputation for accurate research, and he includes quotes from accredited sources endorsing the novel. A combination of plausible danger and characters worth caring about makes this a compelling read.

Davis Bunn is a multi-published, multi-award-winning author of Christian fiction. He also writes fantasy and science fiction as Thomas Locke. For more about the author and his books, visit sites.kensingtonbooks.com/DAVISBUNNBOOKS.

[Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.]

Save

Save

Top 10 Books From 2014

‘Tis the season for “best of 2014” lists, and here are  my picks for top 10 books I’ve read this year. (Goodreads tells me I read 64… ouch! And I know I didn’t record everything there.) Some were published in 2014, and some are older. These are in no particular order, and each one is best in its own category.

Non-fiction:

Fiction:

My stash of books to read is already intimidating, but how about sharing some of your picks from 2014? I can always add a few more…

Review: The Patmos Deception, by Davis Bunn

The Patmos Deception, by Davis BunnThe Patmos Deception, by Davis Bunn (Bethany House, 2014)

Priceless antiquities are disappearing, with no official acknowledgement of the crimes… because people in positions of power are involved in the scheme. At least that’s what journalist Nick Hennessy’s UN contact believes. Nick teams up with forensic archaeologist Carey Mathers to find the truth.

On the other side of the law, Patmos tour-boat operator Dimitri Rubinos finds himself forced to do as his ancestors have done in previous times of economic disaster: work for smugglers.

This is one of the most satisfying adventure novels I’ve read in a while, complete with intrigue, chases and danger. It’s also much more. The characters are richly layered, facing their individual struggles as well as the external one. Carey idolized Nick in her youth, but past experience has left her unwilling to risk loving this new, more mature, Nick.

For his part, Nick can’t let himself fall in love when he has to focus on the investigation. And Dimitri? He’s a heart-breaker who’s tired of “the life” and knows something’s missing inside. His grandmother says Carey will change his world. Does that mean she’s the one for him? Or will Carey’s vibrant faith help Dimitri find his answers?

The Patmos Deception evokes a strong sense of the Greek culture and mindset. I’ve never been to Greece, so I can’t prove it’s authentic, but it feels that way. As well as Dimitri, his father and grandmother, we meet Elini and her extended family, who “adopt” Carey at the beginning of the novel. They’re caring, protective and fierce people, culturally accustomed to hardship and resilient enough to not break. We also meet Greek villains and bullies, like we’d find in any ethnic group, but Elini’s and Dimitri’s people are a delight.

Carey’s a delight, too. Where Nick’s journalism has taught him to view everything as an observer, mentally framing how he’d write it, Carey lives with her eyes wide open, experiencing the moment.

And Dimitri? He’s a man of courage who’ll do whatever it takes. His “moonshine eyes” and charm make him a danger to women’s hearts, but maybe he can change – or be changed.

Favourite lines:

Nana Pat possessed a whole dictionary of sighs. She cold express anger or frustration or displeasure without speaking a word. She sighed now, and Carey realized the conversation was over. Nana Pat had run out of steam. [p. 27]

In Dimitri’s view, morning was the most beautiful time of day. The sunrise cast fresh promise in the golden light… Down below, the harbour remained cast in shadow and in the mystical wonder of hours not yet spent. [p. 38]

With each loss she seemed to shrink further, until she was reduced to the very essence of who she once had been. But she remained a woman of good cheer and unshakable faith. [p. 39, about Dimitri’s grandmother, Chara.]

This is one of those stories I kept wanting to go back to once it ended. On the bright side, the ending sets up a potential sequel…

The Patmos Deception is the latest novel from prolific and award-winning author Davis Bunn. For more about the author and his books, visit davisbunn.com, and if you’re curious which character in The Patmos Deception he identifies with most strongly, see this post on his blog. Note, the giveaway is over, but it’s an interesting insight into an author’s thoughts.

[Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.]

Review: Lion of Babylon, by Davis Bunn

Lion of Babylon, by Davis BunnLion of Babylon, by Davis Bunn (Bethany House Publishers, 2011)

Former special forces operative Marc Royce is drawn back into active duty to find a friend who’s gone missing in Iraq. The problem is, elements of his own government want him to fail.

Marc and a brave Iraqi lawyer named Sameh work with a few trusted contacts in a search for not only the missing US serviceman but four others as well: three Americans and an Iraqi.

I liked the characters, and I enjoyed the taut, fast pace and the details of life in Baghdad. In their quest, Marc and Sameh rescue a group of abducted children. Marc proves himself to the local people as well as to his own, and pulls off some important successes.

Marc and Sameh also find their way into a secret Baghdad church. Sameh faithfully attends a Christian church, despite the stigma this attaches to his family, and Marc is a Christian as well, but both men are amazed at this underground group of worshippers where believers from different ethnic backgrounds worship hand in hand where formerly they’d have been mortal enemies.

Favourite lines:

Ambassador Walton has another name for coincidences. He calls them fault lines. Points where the mystery may be resolved. [page 75]

He greeted Marc with a grin that divided his face in two, the lower half smiling a welcome, the upper half squinted in warning. [page 162]

I definitely want to read the rest of this series, for the characters, the action (some satisfying explosions!), and for the glimpses of how faith in Jesus is still a powerful force that only gets stronger when pushed underground.

Davis Bunn is a multi-published author in various genres of Christian fiction. Lion of Babylon is book 1 in his Marc Royce Thriller series. Library Journal called Lion of Babylon “One of the top six ‘Best Books of 2011’ in Christian Fiction.”

[Review copy from my personal library.]