Tag Archive | Christian Suspense

“They Shall See God” by Athol Dickson

Things Are Not Always as They Appear

Little Katy was a Christian. Her very best friend Ruth was a Jew. The girls’ eyewitness testimony sent a very bad man to Louisiana’s infamous Angola prison. Twenty-five years later, Ruth has become an embittered rabbi, Kate is a lonely widow, the bad man is out, and people are dying in the strangest of ways. Torn apart in childhood by animosities beyond their understanding, Kate and Ruth can no longer elude the past’s unfinished business. To survive, these very different women must reach out to each other in spite of the mayhem and mistrust that shrouds one vital truth: sometimes the most dangerous of enemies crouches just inside the human heart.Read more: http://www.atholdickson.com/2012/05/10/they-shall-see-god/#ixzz2DOwafx8X
Bio:  Athol Dickson’s novels transcend description with a literary style that blends magical realism, suspense, and a strong sense of spirituality. Critics have favorably compared his work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly) and Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times). His RIVER RISING is an Audie Award winner and three of his novels have won the Christy Award, including his most recent, LOST MISSION. Athol’s next novel, THE OPPOSITE OF ART, is about pride, passion, and death as a spiritual pursuit. Look for it in September, 2011. Athol lives with his wife in southern California.
Credit Sources:  here and here.


“Hooked, hooked and hooked! …a compelling story with profound faith implications. You’ll be glad that you started this one, because it takes you on a great ride through the final pages.” – Sigmund Brouwer, author of The Last Sacrifice (with Hank Hanegraaff)

“A miracle unfolds before your eyes! With a tight plot, hair-raising suspense, and a mystery that keeps you guessing right to the end, Dickson has created an unprecedented work of faith-based fiction. As long as he writes ‘em, I’ll read ‘em! – Lisa Samson, author of Straight Up and Club Sandwich

Publishers Weekly: The Christian market sorely needs more quality suspense novels, and Dickson’s excellent offering makes a solid contribution to the genre. …the writing is original, with unexpected touches of humor, and contains enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing until the final pages. Although this is a highly entertaining nail-biter, one of the novel’s significant accomplishments is its potential to promote greater understanding between people of both faiths.

Library Journal: –  Dickson (Every Hidden Thing) explores differences in faith and irrational hatred of those differences in a sensitive yet challenging manner.

My Review:

When Katy O’Connor and Ruth Gold were five years old, they were the best of friends, despite the fact that Katy was Christian and Ruth was Jewish.  They spent many days together going to the Jewish Community Center to swim.

On one particular outing, the girls were in the locker room when they heard a horrifying scream. Terrified, they both went together to investigate the situation. It appeared that Nan Smith, a Christian woman, had been murdered by a Jewish man, Solomon Cantor.  The girl’s testimony helped to seal Solomon’s sentence to twenty-five years in prison.  Unbeknownst to Ruth, Katy’s parents ended their friendship because of the growing animosity between Christians and Jews over this murder.

Upon Solomon’s release from prison, killings of several Jewish members from Rabbi Ruth Gold’s Temple congregation began, with Ruth trying to convince Lieutenant Lincoln Washington that they were related to Nan Smith’s murder twenty-five years ago.  Because the MO’s were so different, he was unconvinced. When one of the cases involved Kate (O’Connor) Flint, for reasons unknown to Kate, Ruth Gold was bitter and antagonistic with her, which set for a difficult reunion and subsequent cooperation when they decided the murders were somehow linked to the witnesses at Nan Smith’s murder trial.  To help solve the murders, they must learn to lay down their differences.

The author’s multiple twists and plots upped the ante with each significant scenario.  Whether a murder or a weird episode, the suspense never ended.  Though you think you know the perpetrator, you are thrown off with another character thrown into the mix.  They mystery of who is behind everything and why is always in the back of your mind as you sift through the evidence.

The characters fit the mold of the story impeccably, making the story realistic.  I found myself relating to several of them, especially when the tension between the Jews and Christians explodes.  Ruth and Kate are the obvious main characters, but it’s the divisive Orvis Newton, the sneaky Jake Singer, and the thorough Lincoln Washington that keeps the story moving along, sometimes with great surprise.

You will learn some very interesting history between the Jews and Christians, some of which may shock you. But it will give you a greater understanding of the animosity that grows throughout the story.  The author did a magnificent job of mediating the scenarios through his characters.  Never a dull moment!  And wait till you catch the ending!  Did not see it coming!

For a great mystery with unusual circumstances, balanced with the Jewish/Christian animosity, They Shall See God is definitely a book I’d recommend!

Though the book is fiction, the cemetery in New Orleans that the book was based on is real–Cemetery Dispersed of Judah. It’s one of the graves in the Jewish cemetery has the inscription, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” a verse spoken by Jesus from the New Testament.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

“River Rising” by Athol Dickson (A Suspense Zone Blog)

Racial Equality and Religious Faith in 1927

Pilotville,Louisiana, 1927, isolated outpost on the Mississippi. Reverend Hale Poser, a stranger come looking for his roots. Hannah Lamont, new baby daughter to James and Rosa, a breach birth if not for the stranger’s touch upon her mother’s belly. She’s her parents’ sweet joy until, suddenly, she vanishes. Who but this stranger could have done this terrible thing? Who but this man of miracles could see that it’s undone? In the swamp beyond the tupelo and cypress a lingering evil sleeps no longer. It will rain down on Pilotville; it will rise up like a river, and nothing but a miracle can stop this awful flood .Read more: http://www.atholdickson.com/2012/05/10/river-rising/#ixzz2DP1LjI6R


Athol Dickson’s novels transcend description with, a literary style that blends magical realism, suspense, and a strong sense of spirituality. Critics have favorably compared his work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly) and Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times). His RIVER RISING is an Audie Award winner and three of his novels have won the Christy Award, including his most recent, LOST MISSION. Athol’s next novel, THE OPPOSITE OF ART, is about pride, passion, and death as a spiritual pursuit. Look for it in September, 2011. Athol lives with his wife in southern California.

Credit Sources:  here and here.

ENDORSEMENTS for River Rising:

“It’s not often that a book makes you think of William Faulkner’s Mississippi fiction and C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia , both at the same time. But Athol Dickson has done that with River Rising.” – –Tom Morrisey, author of Deep Blue

“Brimming with discoveries as mysterious and deep as the Louisiana backwater of its setting, River Rising flows with passion and truth. Dickson’s beautifully written story will flood your soul long after the final page.” – Brandilyn Collins, bestselling author

“A quest for faith and freedom, River Rising is a thought-provoking, fascinating journey into bayou country, super-charged with intrigue.” – Linda Windsor, award-winning author of Fiesta Moon (Westbow Press)

“Athol Dickson appeals to our sense of hope in his cleverly crafted River Rising. Prejudice, intrigue, and an intense need for justice float to the top of Mississippi’s swamp in a turn-of-the-century tale that will grab you by the heart and never let you go.” – DiAnn Mills, Writer

“With a prophet’s eye to the past and future, Athol Dickson gives us a moving story of sin and redemption. River Rising flows with beauty while raging with emotion. His characters could walk off the page.” – Eric Wilson, author of Expiration Date and Dark to Mortal Eyes

“Athol Dickson is a one-of-a-kind author and River Rising is simply marvelous. With remarkable skill, Mr. Dickson has created characters that walked from the pages and shackled themselves to my heart. Congratulations, Mr. Dickson, you are one of the greats.” – Tracey Bateman, President, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Author of The Color of the Soul (Barbour Publishing)

“We are thunderstruck. Incredible story. Incredible writing… Disturbing… and yet full of hope. It doesn’t get any better than that.” – Dave and Neta Jackson, Authors, The Yada Yada Prayer Group series (Multnomah)

Christian Library Journal: “This gripping historical fiction novel is a hard-to-put-down look into the bayous of Louisiana and the secrets it harbors. River Rising is full of twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the end what the outcome of Hale’s journey to Pilotville will be. …an intriguing page-turner… Athol Dickson [is] an author not to be missed.”

Christian Fiction Review.com: “The first novel of 2006 may be the best of the year already. This one will be hard to top…. Fall into this beautiful and heart-rending story. Be devastated by the evil of man and overwhelmed by the grace of God. See the true hope that can unite Christians of all cultures, colors and backgrounds…. Highly Recommended.”

Armchair Interviews: “This book is Louisiana’s To Kill A Mockingbird … It will make you ask questions that need to be asked. And the reader will look for answers that are there to be found. You will see the worst side of man–and man at his best, seeking the God of the universe. Once you pick up this book you won’t want to put it down until you’ve turned the last page.”

My Review:

Based around the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 comes a riveting story by Athol Dickson, River Rising, a mighty novel penned, displaying the true disparity between true racial equality and religious faith.  It’s a time when Negro, n—–, or a colored man were terms still used for African-Americans.

Reverend Hale Poser returns to Pilotville, Louisiana, in his later years to find his roots.  He’d been raised in an orphanage farther north for his childhood years.  He’s a black man with distinctive robin egg’s shade of blue eyes, making him stand out amongst the people of his color.  Though the Civil War has long ago set slaves free, and this town is tolerant between the races, its segregated when they worship–the whites gather in a white church and the blacks in a black church–a phenomenon that Reverend Poser would like to see changed.  True unity between Christian believers.

The basic story opens when James and Rosa Lamont give birth to their daughter Hannah after Reverend Poser prays over Rosa during her difficult, extremely painful labor.  A miracle is claimed when the baby is born peacefully.  Yet days later Hannah is missing. The town’s people, black and white, unite in searching for the baby, but after five days they cease. Though the area around Pilotville is swampy and dangerous, two men continue searching, James Lamont and Reverend Hale Poser, though they are cautioned to cease their search.  Who has taken Hannah?  In fact, who has taken the many children missing over the years?

The unusual physical characteristics of the author’s characters take on a life of their own, and are used to later qualify certain actions throughout the book.  The character of Hale Poser is the one who catches my heart with his simple faith and transparent openness.  He’s adamant that he does not perform miracles, but that it’s the Lord who does, giving the glory to the Lord.  But when circumstances change horrifically, and Hale feels he’s lost his faith and ability to perform miracles, will he succumb and give up on God?  The brutality is horrendous and despicable.

Two other characters that catch my attention, because of their power and authority over the people of Pilotville, are Papa DeGroot and Wallace Pogue.  Both men are highly respected in the town.  How that power is used is part of the mystery of the story line.  Something seems amiss surrounding the circumstances of the missing baby, yet these two men exert their authority discreetly differently–one for good and one for evil.  It’s the influence of both that reeks havoc in the town.

The diction of the people is typical bayou language for the time era, making the story credible and interesting.  The author’s use of descriptive language brings the world alive, creating a setting that is vividly ‘seen.’  I was thoroughly captivated with the historical aspects, the mysterious plots, and the deep characterization.  One cannot read this book without it touching your heart in some way.  The issues have always torn me apart.

My only concern is how God is explained to have come down in the person of Jesus.  He was Jewish, and the color of His skin should not make a difference to any of the races.

This book was provided by the Susan Sleeman of The Suspense Zone in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

“Dying to Read” by Lorena McCourtney (A Revell Blog Tour with Review)

All She Wanted Was a Paycheck…What She Got Was a Murder!

Cate Kinkaid’s life is . . . well, frankly it’s floundering. Her social life, her career, her haircut–they’re all a mess. Unemployed, she jumps at the chance to work for her PI uncle, even though she has no experience and no instincts. After all, she is just dabbling in the world of private investigating until she can find a “real” job.

All she has to do for her first assignment is determine that a particular woman lives at a particular address. Simple, right? But when she reaches the dark Victorian house, she runs into an hungry horde of gray-haired mystery readers and a dead body. This routine PI job is turning out to be anything but simple. Is Cate in over her head?

Dying to Read/By Lorena McCourtney/978-0-8007-2158-9/$14.99/Paperback/320 pages/Pub Date: August 2012

“Available August 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Lorena McCourtney has spun a fast-paced and witty romantic mystery in her new book, Dying to Read.  From the very first chapter, she grabs your attention and keeps you hooked until the very end.

Cate Kinkaid is just dipping her toe into the world of private investigating until one of the many résumés she has floating around lands her a real job. All she has to do is determine that a particular woman lives at a particular address. Simple, right? When the big and brooding house happens to contain a dead body, this routine PI job turns out to be anything but simple. Is Cate in over her head?

Lorena McCourtney is the award-winning author of dozens of novels, including Invisible (which won the Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America), In Plain Sight, On the Run, and Stranded. She resides in Oregon.



“With each new mystery series Lorena McCourtney skillfully creates a unique sleuth—and Cate Kinkaid is no exception in Dying to Read. I loved all the witty prose and the laugh-out-loud moments I’ve come to expect when reading McCourtney’s mysteries. Seasoned with romance and a fascinating collection of peculiar characters, this clever tale will keep you guessing about more than murder. Never a dull moment, Dying to Read is a winner!”—Elizabeth Goddard, author of Carol Award–winning The Camera Never Lies

“Lorena McCourtney has fashioned a fun and engaging mystery that begs to be solved. And just when I thought I had figured it out, I realized she had added another layer. Mystery lovers, kick off your shoes, curl up somewhere comfortable, and prepare to be entertained! Dying to Read will keep you fully engrossed and guessing.”—Kathy Herman, author of The Baxter series, Seaport Suspense series, and Secrets of Roux River Bayou series

“I adore Lorena McCourtney books. She’s one of my favorite authors. Dying to Read adds a delightful new tale to her stack of engrossing and entertaining mysteries seasoned with her signature wry humor. The fun and intriguing plot is populated by interesting characters with fascinating quirks, foibles, and challenges. McCourtney keeps the pages turning with fresh developments in a case that lures rookie PI Cate Kinkaid ever deeper into skin-tingling danger. I can hardly wait for the next book in this exciting new series!”—Jill Elizabeth Nelson, award-winning author of Reluctant Burglar

My Review:

Cate Kinkaid has a teacher’s degree, but found she isn’t a teacher type.  She floated through a few miniscule jobs and failed.  She finally took up her Uncle Joe’s offer to be a P.I. while searching for a ‘real’ job.  She’s given a simple case.  Find a missing woman, Willow Bishop, and get her back in touch with relatives.   Cate found her address.  What could go wrong?

Outside the aforementioned address, several older, white-haired women were knocking and pounding to get into Amelia Robinson’s house, as it was her turn to host their Whodunit Book Club.  The conversation turned catty until Cate determined how to enter the house.  All had keys, so she borrowed one and opened up.  Willow was found to have hastily disappeared before their arrival.  When Amelia didn’t answer anyone’s call, Doris McClelland offered to go upstairs with Cate to hopefully find her.  What they found was a very dead Amelia at the bottom of the outside, rickety stairs.

Uncle Joe, meanwhile, had fallen off his ladder while cleaning the garage gutters and broke a hip, sending him into surgery and rehab.  He urged Cate to continue her search for Willow, whom she found, and from there the stories flow so freely that the truth may be floating in the midst of the conversations.

Though the initial catty conversations at the beginning seemed slow for me, they became essential to the balance of the story. The author heaps layer upon layer of suspense and suspicion that keeps your head reeling, wondering who Amelia’s killer was, and she kept the stories flowing from Willow’s mouth, upstaging Cate’s involvement!  In fact, she was involved in so many circumstances that her boss (Uncle Joe) and Mitch had told her to stay out of.  But it’s those suspicions and the suspense that keep you reading to find the truth.  The twisting plots don’t quit till the last page!

The characters, though I found the Book Club women catty, were true to the storyline. Willow was one to stretch the truth, but I found her to be the most interesting character.  She had Cate flustered at all points.  The romance end of the novel was intriguing, particularly between Amelia Robinson and Radford Longstreet, as well as Cate and Mitch and Willow and Coop.

The issue of faith does flow through the story when Cate finds she needs wisdom through prayer to know what to do in the flighty and dangerous circumstances she finds herself in.

Though this is quick read, you will find this to be a great ‘whodunit’ by the time the story ends!  Thoroughly entertaining!  It’s very well written, with overflowing suspense and the right amount of romance.

I did find the ending a little off-key in regards to Willow, only because of my legal background.  But it kept pace with her character throughout the storyline.

This book was provided free through Donna Hausler, Blog Tour Coordinator, for Revell Publishing, in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com

The Suspense Zone Tour: “The Breakthrough” by Jerry B. Jenkins


People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire.  Job5:7ff

As the youngest bureau chief and head of the Chicago Police Department’s Major Case Squad, Boone Drake seems to have it all under control. Only those closest to him know that just a few short years ago, he lost everything that mattered to him in a tragic accident. After years of healing, his life is back on track. He recently married a wonderful woman named Haeley, adopted her son, bought a beautiful home, and rediscovered his faith. But Boone can’t fight the feeling that something is about to go terribly wrong . . . again.

When an all-too-personal case takes Boone to Beijing at a time when Haeley can least afford to let him go, Boone is forced to make a difficult choice. There he becomes enmeshed in a dangerous human-trafficking ring that takes him through the famed Hutong District’s narrow streets, alleys, and hovels. Teamed with a former Liberation Army officer, Boone has one chance to pull off an elaborate sting and rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.

Jerry B. Jenkins, former vice president for publishing at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago and currently chairman of the board of trustees, is the author of more than 175 books, including the best-selling Left Behind series.

As a marriage-and-family author, Jerry has been a frequent guest on Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program and is a sought-after speaker and humorist. See www.AmbassadorSpeakers.com. Jerry has been awarded four honorary doctorates. He and his wife, Dianna, have three grown sons and six grandchildren. Check out Jerry’s blog at http://jerryjenkins.blogspot.com.

My Review:

After losing everything and his family a few short years ago, Boone Drake, the youngest bureau chief of the Chicago Police Department’s Major Case Squad, felt it was all behind him.  He had a new wife and a son by adoption.  Ever since he’d lost his first wife and son, his pastor would send him a daily Scripture reference via his cell phone.  His faith has been restored.  Yet things seemed too good to be true.  Boone had this nagging feeling that danger is lurking around the periphery. Then that day’s verse came, saying, “People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire.”  Job5:7ff.

Disaster does strike again when Boone’s wife faints at a friend’s house, crushing her skull and leaving her in a coma.  While sitting at her hospital bedside, their son, Max, has been kidnapped.   Haeley Drake had come into money.  Are they after her share?  Leads are slow to come in. It feels like the other shoe has been dropped–and Boone asks why?  How much more can he handle?

Through tips, they find out that Max has been corralled into human trafficking and is headed to the Hutong district in Beijing, China.   Who would do such a thing?  Can they find him before he’s gone for good?

Jerry writes a very real-to-life, intense nightmare of a book that many families find themselves in when their children are kidnapped.  Nerves become frayed, fears mount, prayers are lifted, finger-pointing mounts, and discouragement settles in when all they hear is silence from the perpetrators.  This is the scenario we find Boone wallowing in during the opening scenes of The Breakthrough after his wife is injured. Should Boone stay at the hospital with his wife or get into the fray?  With the help of his fellow police officers, they don’t allow Boone to stay there feeling helpless!

The descriptive cat-and-mouse game of police investigations are up to par with today’s tactical maneuvers currently used in police departments and other law enforcement.  The wait and see stakeout situations, contacts made with the people involved, pitting ‘persons of interest’ against each another, covert investigation at its peak, and sting operations are true to life as any precarious investigation.  Jerry’s description of the caliber police tactics and politics keep the fast pace moving.  The action and intensity definitely pique and keep your interest.

Though some of the men on Boone’s team aren’t believers, they are exposed to his faith and trust, and the moving of God through prayer.  It’s written about in a natural way, as though it comes as second nature.  At the same time, we are privy to the tenacity of the team’s God-given talents used in ferreting out culprits.

This is my first crime book by Jerry, and I enjoyed the action immensely.  The twists and turns keep you constantly guessing about what’s going to happen.  The only drawback is the abrupt ending to the story.  I felt it could have been drawn out a little more to meet the caliber of the rest of the story.

This book was supplied by Susan Sleeman of The Suspense Zone in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

Q&A and Review: “Blue Moon Bay” by Lisa Wingate

Every Once in a Blue Moon Your Heart Waits at a Crossroads

Moses Lake, Texas, is the last place Heather Hampton, Seattle architect, ever wanted to go again. Yet a promotion hinges on the sale of the family farmland, and she’s determined to return home, signed contract in hand, the next day.

But the currents of Moses Lake take visitors on unexpected journeys. As Heather’s stay lengthens, she discovers a family steeped in secrets and an unexpected connection to the handsome local banker, Blaine Underhill, despite his opposition to her project. With each new revelation comes new questions.  She can’t help wonder if the family she has come to know again are crooks or crusaders.  Somehow Heather must find the truth before she loses everything her heart longs for.


Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of 16 books.  Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its fifteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.  Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, in mainstream fiction.  Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What’s new/What’s next in Lisa Wingate books?

A:  Blue Moon Bay is new on shelves and just received a STARRED REVIEW from Booklist.  I hope you’ll have fun in Moses Lake, Texas–a place with a little romance, a little mystery, and a whole lot of small-town charm!    

Q:  Any exciting contests going on right now?

A:  Always!  Sign up for the Lisa Wingate email newsletter and you’ll be entered in a monthly drawing for an autographed Lisa Wingate book!  Click here to sign up for the newsletter — No SPAM, we promise.  Just book news and holiday wishes a few times a year. 

Q: How can I keep up with you and your books?

A:  In this busy cyber age, there are so many ways to keep in touch!  You can find me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, find my writer profile and videos on Ning, or sign up for my email newsletter.  Check out our Youtube channel for inspirational videos from the books.  Join me on www.SouthernBelleView on Mondays for my blog stories and articles, or email me by clicking the Contact Lisa button on the menu.  I love keeping in touch with readers.  The best part of writing is watching stories do what they are meant to do–bring people together.

Q: Where can I find a full list of Lisa Wingate books and sample book chapters?

A:  For a full list of the books, in order by series, and sample chapters click here.

Q: How long have you been writing and many Lisa Wingate books are there?

A:  I’ve been writing all my life.  The release of Blue Moon Bay marks book-baby number seventeen!  For a full list, go to my Bookshelf Page.  Below are a few of the more recent books.  Click on the book covers to read sample chapters.  You can also read sample chapters on my Bookshelf Page.

Q: Will you phone chat with my book club or visit my book club, church, or organization for a speaking engagement?

A:  I love to chat with real people (as opposed to the imaginary kind) anytime schedules permit.  For information on speaking engagements and phone chats, check my Speaking Info Page. 


My Review:

Though I’ve never lived in Texas, I have lived on farms near small towns.  Lisa Wingate’s Blue Moon Bay brings back the memories of slow, small-town life where everyone knows everyone’s business.

However, in Lisa’s book, Blue Moon Bay, everyone doesn’t know everyone’s business when it comes to the Hampton family’s questionable behaviors.  Heather Hampton, a Seattle architect, living in big city Seattle and fast times must adjust her hasty lifestyle when she returns to Moses Lake, TX, in order to get her mother’s signature for the sale of the home place for her firm’s contract project and return the next day.  However, her family deliberately won’t tell her anything.  She’s totally unable to gather them all in one place to hash out the situation.

Lisa caught my eye and my heart from the first page of her book, Blue Moon Bay.  I love her free-flowing style of writing, her in-depth characters, and the complicated and sometimes funny circumstances that Heather finds herself in as she travels to and arrives at Moses Lake, TX.  The novel is laid out as a story of family grief, secrets, and conniving that seem to be connected to the local banker, Blaine Underhill, Heather’s former high-school crush.  Her family’s apparent rejection of her and her presence at Moses Lake and their complicity in avoiding any communication with her is mind-boggling to her. She doesn’t know if what they are doing is conniving or crooked. Toss in a clandestine romance, an overt courting, and suspense and the story is complete.

I found the small-town TX story absolutely intriguing.  The “back-hills” family keeping the “high city roller” in the dark was done to perfection.  The suspense added to the story as well as Heather’s heart-breaking memories of her father’s death and her mother and brother’s flighty lifestyles.  Will Heather ever be able to overcome her unrest over her father’s death?  Will she be able to forgive her mother and brother for their flighty, irresponsible behaviors?  A great read!  Be sure to pick up a copy!

This book was provided by Noelle Buss of Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

Suspense Zone Blog Review: “Injustice for All” by Robin Caroll


A federal judge lies bleeding on his office floor, betrayed by a most unlikely source—people who helped him bring criminals to justice. Now, why would someone working for the FBI need to disappear after witnessing this crime?When Remington Wyatt sees her godfather’s murder, she recognizes the killers and knows it’s only a matter of time before they come to silence her. She must do the only thing possible to stay alive . . . run.FBI agent Rafe Baxter is serious about his career, and solving a cold case involving a federal judge’s death puts him in line for the promotion he so desires. But the case leads him to the small town of Hopewell, Louisiana, where some secrets seem inextricably hidden deep within the bayou.Injustice for All explores what happens when everything a person believes in is utterly destroyed. Who can you trust?
Watch the trailer:  Here.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty years, her three beautiful daughters, one precious grandson, and their four character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as RT Reviewer’s Choice, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year. An avid reader herself, Robin loves hearing from and chatting with other readers. Although her favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense, of course, she’ll read just about any good story. Except historicals!
  • “A journey into the heart of suspense and the heart of faith. Robin Caroll scores again with Injustice for All.” —James Scott Bell, best-selling author
  • “Caroll delivers her southern romance laced with high-octane suspense.”  –Colleen Coble, author of The Light Keeper’s Ball
  • “Caroll knows how to keep readers turning pages.” — Tosca Lee, author Demon and Havah
  • “(Her) talent for building romantic tension is second to non, her plot twists intriguing.” –Relz Reviewz
  • “Caroll knows what suspense readers want.”  –Romantic Times (Top Pick)
Where to Purchase:

My Review:

Federal judge, Daniel Tate, lies dying in his home office, betrayed by those who help him bring criminals to justice.  The killers think the judge is home alone…

Remington Wyatt, the goddaughter of Daniel Tate, was home and recognized the killers.  She sets off the alarm for security before she reaches Daniel. Prior to the arrival of the police, she promises to take the contents of his safe as he breathes out his last dying wish.  Out of fear for her life, she takes the contents and does the only thing that she knows to do … run!   She vows, however, to find justice for his death, as this is personal.

FBI agent, Rafe Baxter, is transferred to a different Federal office due to cutbacks in staff.  There, he’s assigned to work cold cases. The Daniel Tate murder is the first one assigned.  What he finds in the case baffles him, and leads him to the town of Hopewell, Louisiana. He’s also baffled by the whims of women, not knowing how to handle them.

Robin Caroll, in Injustice for All, brings on the suspense from the very first page, leaving you terrified for Remington, wondering if the killers see her.  I found myself almost holding my breath for her as she attempts to remain hidden.  The loving touch of Remington as she holds Daniel before he expires is heart-wrenching, yet tender.  I could feel the urgency in his voice as he pleads with her to take the safe contents.

Robin’s plot twists keep you glued to the book, as they spin into directions you don’t expect.  The first scene is just a teaser to envelop you into the characters and scenarios.  Her characters are complex, manipulative, interesting, and sometimes even delightful.  The terror and danger of the circumstances keep you wondering how Robin will pull it all together.  But pull it together, she did!  The suspense is heart-stopping at times, causing your to stop and catch your breath! The romance almost has you laughing at times, as Rafe does not know how to conduct himself.

Robin has several themes that reverberate throughout the book:  love, fear, trust, forgiveness, faith in God, and surrender.  There are lessons for all to learn from.

For a great murder/suspense book, be sure to pick up Robin’s current book, Injustice For All.  Check out her website listed below for a list of her other suspense-pounding books.

This book was provided by Susan Sleeman of The Suspense Zone in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

For more information about Robin Caroll and her books, please go here.

My Review: “Not in the Heart” by Chris Fabry


Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline—the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

Not in the Heart will release on February 1, 2012. For a sneak preview, download the first chapter.

I was born in West Virginia in 1961 and grew up in a small town much like Dogwood. I was affected by my parents, my older brothers, the hills, and books. I was never a very fast reader, but the things I read really helped change me. Particularly novels. I vowed I would write if I ever got the chance.

I met Jerry Jenkins at Moody Bible Institute in the 1980s. He discovered I wanted to write and said, “I can help you do this if you want, but it will be painful.” Boy was it painful. Gloriously painful. In 1998, Jerry and Dr. Tim LaHaye hired me to write the Left Behind: The Kids series. I had published five books up to that point. I wrote 35 books in that series over the next six years, finishing in 2004. I later collaborated with Jerry on the Red Rock Mysteries series and The Wormling series, and in 2008 the NASCAR-based RPM series rounded out my work in the area of children’s fiction.

Dogwood was my first attempt at writing fiction for adults. It took more than six years to get to the page and to find a publisher. It received the 2009 Christy Award for Christian fiction in the Contemporary Standalone category, which surprised the Dogwood out of me! My next novel, June Bug, draws its themes from the classic Victor Hugo tale, Les Miserables. A nine-year-old girl walks into Walmart and sees herself on a missing children poster. Who is she? Who is her father who travels with her in the beat-up RV? Charles Martin wrote this about the story: “Anne Lamott said that ‘good writing is about telling the truth.’ Chris Fabry has done this. Beautifully. June Bug is masterful. An honest story that dove deep inside me and lingered long after I turned the last page.” June Bug was named a 2010 finalist for the Christy Award and the ECPA’s Christian Book Award.

My Review:

Truman Wiley is a man lost–out of work as a reporter; out of touch with his family; drowning in gambling, hospital and school debts; loss of his small house; car repossessed; neglectful father and husband; and most importantly, out of touch with God.  His son, Aiden, is slowly dying from a heart ailment, and is desperately in need of a heart transplant to survive.

Truman’s estranged wife, Ellen, gets him a job writing a book about Terrence Conley, a death row inmate accused of murder, who is willing to donate his heart for Aiden, an impossible feat in itself without intervention.  Terrence and his estranged wife, Oleta, are friends of Ellen from church, and they just want his side of the story told before his execution.  As most death row inmates, he claims his innocence.

After receiving the retainer money on the book, Truman immediately goes and gambles it away instead of visiting his son and paying off bills.  His daughter, Abigail (Abby) ends up finding him and working with him on the book, since he neglected to pay her college bills so she could graduate.

In his book, Not in the Heart, Chris Fabry methodically creates a real-to-life story that is heart-wrenching in terms of Truman’s estrangement from himself, God and his family.  One sees into the disturbing devastation of gambling, a peek into the realms of evil, Godless men, and the anguish of his love-starved family.  Truman’s circumstances, his attitude towards God, and his comments directly spoken to you, the reader, opens wide a space for him in your heart–what a great point of view insertion that gets your attention! You sense the futility of his life without God, stumbling around, trying to stay ahead of the loan sharks and bill collectors.  Your heart is truly caught up in Truman’s life and relationships, and he seems to stay on your mind as someone you know.  The book also touches on those on death row who maybe shouldn’t be there–a hot topic today.

The investigative, suspenseful part of the story is woven in amongst the continuing family issues.  You’ll find this to be a book of superb suspense with multiple plots, and a sensitive, heart-warming book of hope for family relationships.  Without the prayers of the those who knew the Lord, things wouldn’t have happened as they did.

This book was provided by Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group, Inc, in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.