HOPE IS A DANGEROUS PLACE by Jim Baton ~ a review

Hope is a Dangerous Place

Christian Suspense, Christian mystery

 

This novel has a mystery at it’s core and there’s no shortage of suspense. It could even be said to span genres and slip into Christian Young Adult Suspense.

Hope, Colorado has secrets, more than one. There are the ‘haves’ who’ve got all the power and the ‘wannabees’ as high school jock Jordy so crassly calls them. Harmonie Seymour’s family had been in Hope for generations on the black side of town where folks live in run-down houses. The Latino residents practically live in shacks. Bigotry is rampant. Kelsey is the new kid in town. She arrived with her widower pastor dad, Bret Axel. Both girls are outsiders in the high school and soon become fast friends. Pastor Bret Axel has the gift of prayer. He is a mighty prayer warrior, but he’s also bound by anxiety and fear since the untimely death of his wife…so much so that he pops Valerian to calm his nerves.

Enter the new high school teacher Olivia Montez, who has her own baggage. She assigns the three students in her journalism class an assignment  and has no idea will blow up in all their faces. She wants Kelsey, Harmonie, and an angry young Latino student named Miguel to interview elderly residents about the town’s name change. It was once named Purgatory. However in the mid-1940s the name was changed to Hope. There are powerful people, perhaps those in the original families, who don’t want anyone looking into the past and they will go further to stop the investigation than these three students can ever imagine.

This novel is a very good example of redemptive Christian fiction…and yet the author keeps it real, very real. Bad and/or worldly guys act and talk like bad and worldly guys. I’d recommend this novel to anyone from ages 17 to 117 who enjoys suspense and a story where the characters grow in their Christian walk.

 

SECRETS & LIES by Janet Sketchley ~ a review

Secrets & Lies. 2 jpg

Who can she trust?

The author sets up a situation where Carol Daniels, a pretty blonde waitress at a local café, her son Paul, and wealthy antagonist Patrick Stairs are caught in an elaborate trap set up by drug lord Lear, a man with a far reach. Sadness is a burden Carol carries as her oldest son Keith died of a drug overdose, and his father and her husband, rock ‘n roll guitarist Skip Daniels, abandoned her and Paul. As if that is not enough to weigh her down, Carol’s brother Harry Silver is in prison having been convicted of serial murder and rape. He’s also holding out on Lear, having hidden a large sum of illicit drug money, and the drug lord is threatening Carol to help him get his money back.

The author does a fine job with characterization. We get to know jittery, suspicious, emotionally shut-down Carol who is on the verge and sometimes even crosses the line at being over-protective and controlling toward her teenage son Paul. Yet, the author somehow makes this tense mother likeable, and I found myself in her corner.

Oldies radio jock Joey Hill is likeable from the get go. He’s an all-around nice guy, but unbeknownst to Carol, he’s also got a drug past. When she finds out, she’s unable to trust him and turns to Patrick who is being manipulated by Lear. And so, the treacherous web gets more tangled.

This is a Redemption’s Edge Novel, book two but it is definitely a stand-alone. It is Christian fiction and a clean read. I recommend it to anyone who likes a well plotted suspense novel with well-developed characters.

The Dividing Stone by Anita Estes ~ a review

The Dividing Stone

 

Margo’s intention was to discover more about her ancestors and her family’s history. Instead, she uncovered evil. THE DIVIDING STONE is a supernatural mystery/thriller, much along the lines of a Frank Peretti novel, depicting the forces of evil in a tirade against heavenly angelic forces.

Margo is a potter in the small town of New Coven, where she lives with her husband Chris. She discovers a note handwritten by an now deceased relative warning her there is great evil and danger in New Coven, which used to be named New Covenant. Immediately, she begins having troubling prophetic dreams. She discovers the existence of the Dividing Stone, actually two circular stones welded together. One half is in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the other in Celtic lettering. She learns the dark purpose of this stone is division: breaking up Christian marriages and causing church splits, even death to believers. At times the story has an eerie quality. Yet it also has the quick plot twists of a contemporary mystery/thriller.

A smartly dressed, sophisticated man comes to town. He’s known to Margo and Chris as Bill Guiles and begins attending their church. His real name is Bill Guiles Eville and he’s a fairly high ranking member of a dangerous, occult secret society. He fooled a number of townspeople and members of their church, including the pastor. Bill senses Margo has deep spiritual discernment and it enrages him. He vows to destroy her. The town has a group of very strong prayer warriors. As the struggle between good and evil supernatural forces plays out in the heavens, it became very stirring and vivid. This is a novel that will stir the soul of anyone interested in the supernatural, as well as anyone who loves a fast paced mystery.

When Death Draws Near (A Gwen Marcy Novel) by Carrie Stuart Parks ~ a review

Book Three in a Series

When Death Draws Near

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey needs a job, so she and her daughter head for Appalachian hill country and Pikeville, Kentucky. She’s been hired to draw the likeness of the “Hillbilly Rapist” to help local law enforcement catch him. His victims and witnesses vanish. The author shows Gwen’s depth of character in a range of situations. Her heart goes out to the rape victims and she faces the fear of her own cancer scare.

Gwen is plunged into a second mysterious case surrounding a local snake handling church and a growing number of murders…some by snake bite. She is persuaded by a prestigious local family with White House aspirations, to scope out this church and its members. As she delves deeper into both cases, she thinks there may be a connection between the two.

Although she’s both attracted to and suspicious of handsome and mysterious Blake, she allows him to blindfold her and take her to their annual meeting where there will be snake handling. She’s not altogether sure he’s not the murderer, and neither is the reader.

My favorite aspect of the writing is the author takes chances. By no means is this a formulaic mystery read. It’s unique in its conception and execution.

 

The Nike N. Chillemi Blog ~ has a new look

palm trees

Lighter, brighter, a dash of humor…new photos in the side-bar.

Of course I’m still blogging about murder mysteries, detective stories, romantic suspense, thrillers, cozies, and espionage stories, as well as policing, first responders, and the military. I find myself increasingly linking crime fiction and policing to the human psyche, culture, and societal institutions. I hope to offer a “merry” view of my subject matter — merry in a biblical sense. This would be not only a sense of humor, though I love a lighter touch where appropriate, but also healing and wholeness.

Since I’ve moved from the industrial northeast to Florida, I’ll be incorporating a more breezy, beachy, tropical feel.

Proverbs 7:22 [KJV] ~ A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.