This is an unusual mystery/thriller in that the novel is a series of cases, some of them unrelated to the main story line. However,each case whether related to the plot line or not fleshes out the main character, and John Wesley Tucker is not your run-of-the mill private investigator. He’s a devout Christian who sees himself as a shepherd for the Lord here on earth…though in many cases a flawed one. He can rush into a fight almost on impulse, is quite capable of packing a punch, and is not afraid to use a fire arm.
Tucker is hired to do a background check by a powerful and wealthy oil man who has political aspirations and immediately is attracted to the man’sbeautiful employee. He asks Christine out on a date which enrages and prompts the oil man’s personal assistant to make unwanted advances toward her. Christine resigns and not long after Tucker hires her as his receptionist. By mutual agreement, their relationship becomes one of employer to employee and they begin to develop a deep friendship. Christine doesn’t believe in God and Tucker witnesses to her. My only criticism of this engaging novel is some of the witnessing dialog goes on too long and interrupts the movement and pacing of the story line. I think it would have been better to cut up the apologetics and sprinkle it throughout the story.
The main characters are highly likeable, and I rooted for them. Secondary character Detective Sergeant Tony Escalante, and Tucker’s best friend, is also likeable and one of the good guys. Tucker pays attention to the rambling of Dustin, a homeless guy with mental issues who seems to be in touch with the supernatural world, and this helps the P.I. solve a child abduction case. The bad guys are truly incorrigible, very dangerous, and they move the mystery forward as they maneuver selfishly to satisfy their dark desires. And their desires are truly evil. This is a novel of good vs. evil. #ChristFic #Cleanread
I write detective stories. Mostly that’s what I read and showcase. But every-once-in-awhile I come across a general fiction novel that’s so good, I have to promote it. SUTTER’S LANDING by Betty Thomason Owens is such a novel. Although it does have a measure of suspense, too.
Literature, Biblical Allegory
Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep.
In early spring of 1955, Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie have nearly made it through the first winter on their own. Then the skies open up as West Tennessee and much of the south endures one of the worst floods in history. As many of their neighbors endure losses due to the flooding, Annabelle and Connie sit tight on dry ground.
As spring gives way to summer, Annabelle begins to dread Connie’s upcoming marriage and removal to Sutter’s Landing. Though she’s happy to note the growing affection between Alton Wade and her daughter-in-law, their marriage means Annabelle will be on her own for the first time in her life.
Connie’s doubts increase when Alton’s bigoted brother Jensen uses every opportunity to drive a wedge between them. Is she doing the right thing? Did she move too quickly? Unexpected summer visitors and anticipation of a new neighbor provide diversion and open possibilities for both Annabelle and Connie.
EXCERPT: Chapter One
Connie Cross sat straight up in bed. What was that sound? Slowly, her vision adjusted to the semidarkness of her room. Outside, but close—too close. A gunshot? She slipped out of bed, donned her robe and tiptoed through the next room where her mother-in-law Annabelle lay. A soft snore told her the woman still slept.
Quiet as possible, Connie opened the back door and stood looking through the screen. Chilled air curled around her ankles and sent a shiver up her spine. She pushed the screen door open. Outside, on the small back porch, she stood for a moment to get her bearings. A thick, white fog enveloped the surrounding area. She wrapped her arms around herself for warmth and peered into the mist.
One of the hens broke into a loud cackle, which wasn’t unusual, though a bit early in the morning for such a racket. Connie was just about to retreat to the warmth of her bed when she caught a movement out of the corner of her eye. She squinted in that direction, listening. Was someone approaching the house? An odd noise, like an animal snuffling, was the only sound. Her scalp prickled. She trembled, though not because of the cold. The sound moved closer.
Gradually, a shape emerged, advancing through the mist. Before she could make out what it was, there came a sharp whistle. Her back straightened as her nerves uncoiled. She recognized that whistle. The thing halted. Connie stepped forward. “Samson, is that you?”
The dog whined, and gave a soft yip. He trotted closer, nose to the ground, tail at attention.
A smile warming her insides, Connie peered into the mist. “Alton?” Their nearest neighbor, Alton Wade, was also her fiancé, though they hadn’t publicly announced it yet. A moment later, she made out his lanky frame, moving toward her.
“Samson, sit,” he said.
The dog sat.
Alton stopped below the porch, too far away for her to make out the face beneath the brim of his hat. Dressed in a loose jacket, he held a disjointed shotgun in the crook of his arm. “Did I wake you?” His voice was low, as though he was not yet fully awake.
Keenly aware of her state of undress, Connie kept both arms crossed over the front of her blue chenille robe as she crept closer to the edge of the porch. “You did. Was that a shot I heard?”
“Yes, it was. A fox was about to have herself a morning snack on Miss Annabelle’s chickens.”
Connie caught her breath. “Did you kill it?”
“Of course I did.”
Connie could hear the prideful grin on his face. She gave him an answering one. “Of course you did.”
Betty Thomason Owens has been writing for almost thirty years. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of the Louisville area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a 2016 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM. When she’s not writing, Owens is a part-time bookkeeper, who loves to travel and spend time with her family.
I’m super excited!!! It’s time to reveal the cover for DEADLY DESIGNS…
Book #2 in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series
The planned release date is October 4th, 2015.
Private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels teams up again with Lt. Deputy Dawson Hughes to find a geeky radio broadcaster’s missing wife and young daughter. They fear the woman and child were taken by Islamic terrorists as revenge against a pro-Israel guest host who subbed on the talk show for a week. The investigation takes Ronnie and Hughes to manicured estates, interviewing a snobbish A-List society crowd, as well as to the seamy, drug-riddled underbelly of the fashion world. All the while, the specter of international terrorism hovers.
Ronnie is furious at both Hughes and the broadcaster for waiting two days to start the search. She knows the longer it takes, the less chance there is of finding the child alive. Talk-show host Ed Barton has been hoping-against-hope his pot-smoking, model wife is on one of her esoteric experiences and has simply taken the child while she romps for a few days. He doesn’t want to consider the other, more dangerous possibility…that his radio program has angered some very dangerous people.
Hughes, recently promoted to lieutenant in the Taylor County, Texas Sheriff’s Department, is on leave on a special assignment with Authorized Operations (AO), a clandestine, quasi-government agency operating out of a sea-side mansion on Long Island, NY. The only thing is, many politicians and government big-wigs claim the organization doesn’t exist.
Nike: I absolutely love the title BAT CRAZY. How did you come up with it? It seems as if it’s a pun. Is that intended?
Carole: Lol. Yes, it is, Nikki! When I first (way back!) began with this series–although I didn’t know it would be a series at the time–I wrote Hog Insane as a short story about a couple. The woman was an adventurous type and dreamed of riding a Harley Hog; the man was kind of a stick-in-the-mud type with no adventure bones holding his self together.
Anyhow, that’s the beginning. From there, I decided to play on the word “insane” with each book’s title having an “insane” word in it.
Hog Insane, the hog being a Harley bike.
Bat Crazy, bat being bats, particularly an Australian bat that is huge!
The third book will be titled Daffy’s Duck: this one is kind of two-fold. Daffy being used to go w/the “insane” word and also being the name (Daffodil/Daffy) of a main character in the book.
Mad Dog, Horse Senseless, Touched Kitty, etc. until I run out of words.
Nike: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Carole: Denton Davies is kind of a laid back character in some ways, yet he’s not afraid to push himself/his investigation/questions out there if he thinks it’s needed. He’s a word fanatic, loves fishing, his dog, Taffy, and his wife Alex. He’s like most amateur detectives in that he can sense and figure out things quite well. He tries to hide deep feelings, and worries a bit too much for Alex’s more outward personality.
Nike: After you’ve got word count and/or marketing done for the day, tended to your job and/or family, how do you find “you time” to relax?
Carole: Love being with my family and any time I can sneak in time with my grandsons is time I count as a blessing. My husband and I always try to spend a little time together in the evenings, we love going to a few select places, traveling, and camping, soaking in the hot tub at home, gardening, photography, reading or just casual talking without any stressful subjects filtering in. I also putter with my scrapbooks, write in journals–both as the mood hits me. I’m contemplating making a quilt from my mother’s clothes, but since I’ve never, ever in my life made one, I’m hesitating. ~~ Probably for good reason. LoL
What’s this novel all about…
Monster Bats with red eyes that attack humans?
Denton doesn’t think so and Alex hopes not, but who are they to quibble with the local gossip?
Transmission problems and a blown tire land Denton and Alex Davies right in the middle of a dilapidated, unfriendly town that’s welcoming no strangers, least of all nosy ones with a bent toward solving mysteries.
But with support from the town detective–an admirer of the Davies–and their own tenacious personalities, Denton and Alex aren’t easily scared off. Not when warnings in the form of painted bats show up on the porch of their rented cabin, not when the mayor threatens to run them out of town and not even when Denton finds the bones . . .
An ancient story, a bit of a map, a lost jewel and even a bat clan serve to provide the Davies and their sidekick, Taffy, the dog, their hardest case so far.
Wow, what an abfab cover. Can’t wait to get into the interview with Allyson Carter on her new romantic suspense novel, HEARTS UNDONE. How exciting!
Nike: When did you start writing for publication?
Allyson: Six years ago I started writing seriously and for publication. And why? I was snowed in with the kids and going crazy. A book idea came to me and wouldn’t let me go. I had to write it down. What drives you to write? The joy I get from writing drives me to get them on paper.
Nike: How do you get inspiration for your stories (plots, characters, etc.)?
Allyson: Everywhere. That’s pretty much where I get my ideas. It can come from a song I heard on the radio, something I read in a newspaper or even on the news.
Nike: Can you give us a sneak peek or preview into the next work in progress (WIP) you’re working on? When do you expect to release it?
Allyson: I just finished and sold book two in this series. It has a working title, but that might change. This book picks up with two characters from HEARTS UNDONE. Two I think no one will expect. There’s lots of danger, romance and faith. It releases July 19, 2016.
HEARTS UNDONE excerpt…
Hannah’s hair bounced as she skipped down the sidewalk with her mother. Shelby unlocked the car door. A piece of paper sat on her seat. She pulled her daughter back before she could get in.
“Stay right here, sweetie.”
Reaching in, she picked up the paper and read the words: “Keep quiet or else!” Her hands shook and her bacon burger sat in the pit of her stomach like a lead weight. Nausea made her head swim.
Approaching the car, Mark spotted the white square in Shelby’s hand. “What’s wrong, Shelby?”
Shelby coughed as a lump formed, making it difficult for her to speak. Swallowing several times, she began to feel light-headed.
“What’s the matter, Shel?”
She tried to talk and nothing would come from her lips. Shelby shook her head. He rushed to her side and took the white piece of paper from her. The note had been written with words cut out from magazines and glued to the page. At first glance it looked like a preschooler put the note together. She tightened her hold on Hannah as she glanced around. Someone got into her locked car when they were only a few feet away. Why?
“Take Hannah and move to the sidewalk.” The dominant tone to his voice forced her to focus better. She blinked to stop her mind from racing.
A Sneak Peek…
After a bitter divorce, Shelby Johnson is looking to rebuild a life for herself and her daughter, Hannah, while avoiding the thing she mistrusts most: men. Her resolve is tested, however, when her brother’s best friend, Mark, moves in across the street and her long-buried feelings for him rise to the surface. Can she open up her heart again? When someone threatens her life, she realizes that her heart isn’t the only thing on the line. She turns to the only man she feels she can trust.
Mark Daniels returns to his hometown to solve a crime committed in the military. When he gets caught up in Shelby’s troubles, he knows she needs someone to protect her, but can he be that man? Being around heragain is forcing him to face the way he feels—something he’d rather not do. When his past comes to haunt him, he vows to protect Shelby and her daughter until his last breath.
Through God’s love, Shelby and Hannah find their way into Mark’s heart. Will there be room for God too?
About the author…
Allyson writes Edgy Christian romance and suspense novels. In her books, readers will find emotionally stirring story lines, as well a compelling mixture of suspense and faith. She resides in Missouri with her loving husband and four wonderful children, and three cats. When not spending time with her family, you can find her knitting, and watching perhaps a few way too many suspense and reality television shows.
She can be found around the Internet at these places, website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can get a copy of HEARTS UNDONE on eLectio Publishing and Amazon.
HARMFUL INTENT: action-packed detective novel with zany humor and a terrific love story will be permanently reduced in price to $1.99.
Why you might ask?
Well, the second novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes detective series is about to release, titled DEADLY DESIGNS.
Winner in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Historical Suspense category.
Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.
Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.
Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.
I’m so happy to have Renee Blare visit the blog today for an interview and to talk about TO SOAR ON EAGLE’S WINGS. I’m happy when an author uses a new approach or has a fresh perspective. So, I was intrigued to learn the hero of this mystery was a game warden.
The novel in a nut shell…
Spring’s in the air. While the sun shines in Timber Springs, snow falls on the Snowy Range, and trouble’s brewing in the meadows. The area’s new game warden, Steve Mitchell launches his first wildlife investigation of the season but the trouble follows him—straight to town.
Rachel Fitzgerald’s on Spring Break. Or at least she’s trying. Between paperwork, and harassing phone calls, she may as well have stayed in her classroom. So much for relaxation. A ‘chance’ meeting with her brother’s old roommate offers her weary soul a shred of hope, but she discovers love, like life, isn’t easy.
He talks with the wisdom of the Lord but rejects the future. She wants to soar with the eagles but walks alone. And trusting God proves to be more of a challenge than ever before…
Nike: To Soar on Eagle’s Wings centers on a game warden investigation. Tell us about that. Is this a mystery novel?
Renee: Steve Mitchell has recently moved to Timber Springs. He’s the area’s new game warden. During one of his routine sweeps in the mountains, he stumbles upon a lonely baby moose. But he finds more than he bargains for when he discovers the calf’s mama miles away, trapped in a muddy bog. Clues to her entrapment crisscross the snowy meadows, and he heads toward Timber Springs only to find the trouble has followed him home.
Like Beast of Stratton (my first book), To Soar on Eagle’s Wings is a romantic suspense with a blend of mystery. I write sweet romance, but the suspense keeps you turning the pages. Sprinkled within the book, the reader discovers—they may even be taken by surprise—an element of cryptic mystery and intrigue. I think there should always be a bit of revelation in a good tale.
Nike: I love your blogs tag line, “Rugged Christian Fiction.” How did you come up with that and what does it mean to you?
Renee: It comes from several sources actually—my writing, my home, my life. I’ll address them in order, I guess.
How is my writing rugged? I wouldn’t necessarily call my “writing” rugged, but the people, settings, or lives within them are. They or the topics aren’t polished or pretty. They’re real. I don’t use profanity, erotic, or crude connotations to show the rougher side of life, but I get the point across. You see it.
My home’s just as rugged…it’s Wyoming. Oh, we have running water and electricity, but there’s a reason I have a Subaru and Jeep. Let’s say it’s not because they’re cool or fun.
As for my life, I praise the Lord for every mountaintop and crevice on this rugged path. It hasn’t been easy. It could be much harder. I’ve been asked many times, “how can you do the things you do?” In other words, how can I accomplish everything I need to do in a day or week or month? Or overcome an obstacle and press on to the goal, given the challenges I may face at any given moment. Seizures, migraines, school, surgeries, work, writing, marketing, friendships, family, etc. The list goes on…and on. I only have one word for them. God.
Nike: Which authors have influenced you?
Renee: The biggest influence on my writing has been Rick Joyner. After I read his book, The Final Quest, I could never look at a book the same way again. That book did two things for me. Spiritual warfare was now real. A book became something more.
Other influences have been Lena Nelson Dooley, and many other ACFW writers…they’ve taught me more than I could ever repay.
Nike: Do you read exclusively in your own genre? Tell us who and what you enjoy reading.
Renee: Frank Peretti, Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins, Rick Joyner, Robin Cook, Arthur Hailey…I love to read suspense, mystery, and about spiritual warfare. Most of all, I love to see it. I can do that with these authors. Give me a good historical too, and I’m happy!
Nike: What motivates you? Not only in your writing, but in life?
Renee: Well, I have to say…faith and hope…in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s what keeps me going even when I think I can’t take another step. And believe me, there are times I feel as if I can’t. Why do I write? To spread the truth of His message and offer hope to a dying world.
Nike: Where do you see yourself in five-years time?
Renee: That’s a hard question. Why? Because I don’t spend much time worrying about tomorrow. I have way too much on my plate today. I guess if I was to make a goal for five years down the road, it would be to have my series published. There are seven books planned. I have two written, one published, and one researched. I’ll start writing the third one soon. So…I have five more to write, four to research, and six more to publish in five years. What do you think?
Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and she’s been counting pills ever since. While writing is her first love, well, after the Lord and husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar. Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, Rugged Christian Fiction and her group blog, The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction.