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.]