A Shred of Truth, Second Aramis Black Novel by Eric Wilson

What would you do if a Scripture spouting sociopath captured your mother, the mother you believed had been murdered twenty years ago when you were just a child? This is the dilemma facing hero Aramis Black in Eric Wilson’s A Shred of Truth.

Although not a new Eric Wilson book, I read the first in the series some time ago and had this one on my very long “to read list.” I’m glad I got to it. Now if I could get to some of the others on my list.

The novel opens when Aramis’s country western singer brother Johnny Ray’s interest in redheads gets him tied to a statue with the letters “AX” carved into his shoulder. Out this scene comes my favorite line in the book — short, snappy, and to the point: A test in red.

In addition, the kidnapper forces Aramis’s former girlfriend to participate in his twisted head games and then brutally murders her. To further compound Aramis’s problem, the villain has specified no cops. Yet Nashville’s Detective Meade insists on tailing Aramis, possibly placing his mother in still more jeopardy.

I love what Wilson has done with Aramis’s voice in this second book of the series. The protagonist seems matured, somehow. Perhaps due to his fledgling walk with the Lord. Yet enough of his rough and tumble past linger to keep getting him into deeper and deeper trouble. He’s still a hothead, but with reservations. That rash aspect of his personality now seems tempered by his relationship with God. Aramis has grown. It’s been two years since he fled from the politically nihilistic gang he ran with in Portland, and little by little he’s been tearing free of the violent chains of that past.

Wilson poses more questions about the state of human kind than he answers, but perhaps that’s for the best.

Announcing The Inspy Finalists In Thriller/Mystery/Crime

The Inspy Finalists in Thriller/Suspense/Crime are:

Priceless by Tom Davis, David C Cook, 1st June, 2010

The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello, Thomas Nelson, 16th March, 2010

The Knight by Steven James, Revell Books, 1st August, 2009

Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig, Abingdon Press, 1st March, 2010

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker, Hodder & Stoughton, 27th May, 2010

There’s A New Blog In Town: The Clash of the Titles

It’s great to be interviewing Jennifer Slattery. Jennifer is in charge of marketing for a new and exciting blog that is about to launch: Clash of the Titles.

Nike: Jennifer, can you tell us what Clash of the Titles is all about?

Jennifer: Clash of the Titles is a literary website where authors compete and reader’s judge. Our goal is to partner with God in His expansion of Christian fiction into all genres and we are excited at the prospect of seeing new readers drawn to quality, engaging Christian fiction.

Nike: When does it launch?

Jennifer: We are taking submissions from authors now, but our site officially launches on October 18th.

Nike: Who are some of the other staff members involved with Clash of the Titles and what do they do?

Jennifer: There are six of us in all. April Gardner, author of Wounded Spirits, is our Senior Editor. This site was her baby. She wants to unite authors with new readers while challenging readers to venture outside of their usual genre. Amanda Flower, murder mystery writer and author of Five Star’s recently released, Maid of Murder is in charge of scheduling. Lisa Lickel, edgy Christian fiction writer of Meandar Scar and numerous other titles handles advertising. Michelle Massaro, an aspiring author of contemporary fiction handles public relations. I’m in charge of marketing and Catherine Terry handles media relations. We’re all writers and avid readers that love seeing the rapid expansion of Christian fiction!

Nike: As you probably know, my passion in fiction is crime fiction, detective stories, thrillers, suspense, and murder mysteries. Do you have plans to showcase this type of perhaps more hard hitting Christian fiction in the new blog?

Jennifer: We aren’t about to limit God. He is doing amazing things in the Christian fiction industry and we want to ride on His shirt tails. His message–reaching out to the lost and broken–won’t change, but His method never stops changing. Which is why there needs to be a large variety of Christian fiction. Thrillers, suspense novels, and murder mysteries can reach an audience that romance novels cannot–an audience that may not listen to a sermon or visit a daily devotion.

Nike: In the past we’ve spoken about what a great work God is doing in Christian fiction. How He’s expanding Christian fiction. How new genres seem to be cropping up. As a catch all, this is often referred to as edgy Christian fiction. My main interest in edgy Christian fiction is the more gritty and realistic crime fiction some Christian suspense writers are penning now. Do you see The Clash of the Titles show casing any of the edgier titles coming out now in Christian fiction?

Jennifer: You are right, Nike, Christian fiction is expanding and breaking out of traditional molds. Some people worry about this. I am excited to see the lengths God goes to to reach each one of us. And again, we are not going to stand in the way of what God is already doing, nor try to make Him conform to our preconceived ideas on what Christian fiction “should be”. We will guard the message–the message of God’s love, grace, and His free offer of redemption–without hindering the method. That being said, there are certain boundaries we will adhere to–those that have been generally accepted by the Christian market. Entertain us, grip us, challenge us, inspire us. Show us a bit of the worst of the worst so we can see the true depths of grace. Just don’t drag us into the bedroom or blister our ears. lol

Nike: I want to thank Jennifer for taking the time to participate in this interview. To view Clash of the Titles go to this link: http://www.clashofthetitles.com/

I’m On A Thriller Panel~Wahoo~Pretty Impressive

I’m on the Inspy Award’s Thriller Panel. Hey even I’m impressed. We’re talkin the Inspy’s.

I’m not impressed with me, but with the awards. These are the bloggers’ awards for excellence in faith-driven literatiure.

This is where all those fanatical bloggers who sit up to all hours of the night reading novels that move, inspire, and elevate them and then spend their waking hours blogging about those books — these bloggers get to nominate said books for thes awards.

I’m on the Thriller/Mystery/Suspense judging panel and I’m more than honored, I’m delighted, ecstatic, over the moon. I’m also humbled to be in such great company with the other judges on the panel.

For a link to the Thriller JudgesPanel: http://inspys.com/?p=321

Just Who Is Colton Parker Anyway???

This has been an edgy Christian fiction summer for me and I’ve loved every minute of it. Via my Kindle (kissing it now), I read one of Michelle Sutton’s spicy novels and two of Brandt Dodson’s noir novels while on vacation in sunny Florida. The reading experience was incredible!!!

I always prefer to begin a crime fiction series from book one. So, of course, the first book in Brand Dodson’s series is Original Sin and I gobbled it up.

I got introduced to the droll main character, former FBI agent, now an Indianapolis private investigator (trying to make ends meet) Coltin Parker.

I like to get to know the protag in a work of crime fiction from the get go. Here I find Coltin, figuratively speaking, nearly on life support. He’s been fired from the FBI for beating the tar out of a kidnapper, which resulted in the rescue of the little girl victim. So, right from the beginning I knew if circumstances warrant it, Colton can become violent. In addition Colton’s wife Anna recently died in a car accident leaving him unprepared to be both father and mother to a thirteen year old daughter who because he’s been such a workaholic he hardly knows. In addition his daughter Callie blames him for her mother’s death.

This guys is so adrift after the death of his wife, if it wasn’t for his love for Callie he might take his own life, or find some low-life criminal to take it for him. As the book progresses, I discover violence isn’t so foreign to Colton, in fact he often has to reign himself in, sometimes with great difficulty. Now this is a hero on the edge. I don’t know what he’s gonna do and that makes the read exciting.

The return of Colton Parker in Dodson’s second gritty novel, Seventy Times Seven, deals as one might suspect with forgiveness. Colton’s looking for a nerdy rich business owner’s wife who it seems has run away. Then her car turns up with blood in the trunk and thing are not what they seems.

In the midst of this Colton begins to discover he must seek the forgiveness of his daughter for what she perceives to be his misdeeds and his involvement in the accident that killed his wife, her mother. To complicate matters more, although intellectually Colton believes he’s not responsible for his wife’s death, emotionally he feels he may be.

As the story progresses and plot elements intertwine, we discover Colton has someone he must forgive.

Brandt Dodson

Gritty Crime Fiction Demands Justice For The Victim(s)

Gosh, I’ve been reading edgy crime fiction for years, both Christian and secular. Truth be told, until very recently I read a whole lot more secular crime fiction than Christian. Well, let’s be honest, there wasn’t a lot of gritty Christian crime fiction out there. Now things have changed. Christian writers are penning edgier crime ficiton novels.

I love a gritty crime scene, a lurid murder, a rollicking good autopsy scene. Why would that be?

There’s something in me that cries out for justice for the victim. I can handle a hero who smokes like a chimney and drinks too much, or a heroine who’s not much of a wife and mother. They can have major flaws. If I’m going to be a fan of the book, the one thing the main character must show is a passion for justice for the victim.

Some would ask, why do these authors have to tell you every single gory detail of the murder?
Well there’s something cathartic in telling the story. Crime victims who go to survivor’s groups like to tell their story, often over and over. It’s healing for them to share the details of the horror, fear, intimidation, and humiliation they’ve been through.

In my writing, I hope I’m an advocate for the crime victim. I strive to create heroes and heroines who demand justice for the victim(s).

Philly Conference AbFab!!!

The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference was terrific. The workshops informative with intelligent questions from attendees. It was a wise investment of my limited financial resources. I’d recommend this conference to any Christian writer who is serious about their craft and their walk with Jesus.

The totally amazing Bonnie Calhoun on the job!!!

The darker side of Bonnie Calhoun. Note the guilty smile…here she sits writing her novel and eating chocolate instead of staffing the desk. LOL

She’s gonna kill me…I’m running for the hills.

A very gracious lady, Dawn King (right), allowed me to stay at her house during the conference.

On the left, other house guest, my roomie, who doesn’t want her name publicized.