Tag Archives: supernatural thriller

Book Review: Coldwater

22 Jan

Having forfeited his youth to the state prison system, Michael moved back to the only home he’d ever known. An empty shell of a man who now lived — if it could be called living–in the still vacant house of his parents in a town with one stoplight. A town that hated him. Had always hated him. And was ready to pick up where the prison system had let off.

Now he’s on the run from men who’ve tried to kill him once; but Michael is more than an ex-con. A powerful, sinister force creeps inside him, threatening and destructive. Who — and what — it will destroy next is the only real question. From the bold voice that brought readers down Purgatory Road comes a new pulse-pounding, spine-rattling tale of vengeance and justice that will have them up all night.

 

Samuel Parker was born in the Michigan boondocks but was raised on a never-ending road trip through the U.S. Besides writing, he is a process junkie and the ex-guitarist for several metal bands you’ve never heard of. He lives in West Michigan with his wife and twin sons.

 

My Impressions:

Coldwater by Samuel Parker is an intense, gritty, emotionally-charged read. It definitely ain’t your grandmother’s Christian fiction. More on the lines of Peretti, Dekker, or Dellosso, this novel will stretch your view of sin, justice, and the spiritual implications of both. It is an excellent novel, but it will not be for everyone.

Michael Sullian committed a horrible crime while just a child. The justice system didn’t really know what to do with him, so he was sentenced to a super-max jail. Now 20 years later he has been released, but not everyone believes that justice has been served.

Coldwater can be described as a supernatural thriller. There are lots of incidents that cannot be explained away by coincidence or natural phenomenon. The short chapters and Parker’s writing style create a fast-paced narrative. The main character is very complex — he wrestles with guilt of his past crime and a fragile hope of a someday redemption. The other characters in the novel vary in their complexity — some being just what you see, while others are on a journey as fraught with danger as Michael. While the novel is action-packed, Michael’s story unfolds slowly. Bits and pieces are revealed in such a way that kept this reader turning the pages to find out just what was going on. There are a number of spiritual themes in the book — justice vs. revenge, redemption vs. condemnation being just a few. There is a lot of demonic activity, yet God is never mentioned. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand the novel is a strong statement on how human choice is the opening for sin. On the other, the release Michael receives hinges on forgiveness, but forgiveness by whom is the question. There are a lot of things left unsaid in Coldwater, leaving me feeling like there should have been more. But that may have been the aim of the author all along. This book certainly left me thinking of things I haven’t thought before.

There are certain elements of Michael’s life following his crime that reminded me of Cain’s judgment by God. I don’t want to go into specifics due to spoilers, but if you read Coldwater, make sure to go back and read Genesis chapter 4 as well. On the subject of sin, there is one quote that resonated with me — We gloss over our own sins, softening their edges, while assuming the sins of other are forever razor sharp and at the ready to slash our throats. Coldwater will have you looking at sin in a new way, especially the consequences.

So should you read Coldwater? If you are not a fan of darkly intense suspense novels with supernatural elements, I would say you need to give this one a pass. I found Coldwater to be chilling, disturbing and riveting. It gets a recommended rating from me.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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Book Review: Fatal Accusation

3 Feb

51ys3rhhiplAttorney Olivia Murray hopes her life will get back to normal after a hard fought trial. But she soon finds out that the forces of evil have not given up their pursuit to win the hearts and minds of those in Windy Ridge.

An embezzling scandal breaks that rocks the community church to its core. The New Age groups are ready to declare victory when a high profile prosecutor files criminal charges against the local pastor. However, Olivia is not willing to give up on the community she’s come to love. She takes on the defense pro bono knowing it could destroy her career, but it’s a case that she is called to defend.

The battle will be fierce, but she’s not fighting it alone. Her friend and fellow attorney Grant Baxter is by her side. Olivia must use all the tools in her arsenal to combat those who seek to destroy the believers in the community. If Olivia can’t prove the pastor’s innocence, more than her career is on the line. The entire community of Windy Ridge could fall to the forces of darkness.

71l2nnpxbsl-_ux250_-pngRachel Dylan writes Christian fiction including inspirational romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense. She also writes the Danger in the Deep South series and the Windy Ridge Legal Thriller series. Trial & Tribulations is a 2016 Selah Awards Finalist. Rachel has practiced law for a decade and enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids — two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at http://www.racheldylan.com.

 

My Impressions:

The faith community of Windy Ridge is rocked by a seeming betrayal by Pastor Dan Light in Rachel Dylan’s latest legal thriller, Fatal Accusation. In this supernaturally-charged suspense novel, the reader is treated to twists and turns galore and fast-paced action. If you haven’t read book 1 in this series, Trial & Tribulation, make sure to do so first. The plot lines are continuous, so you’ll miss some really good stuff!

While the action in Fatal Accusation is front and center, characterization does not take a back seat. Olivia Murray is a great lead character — complex, with a strong faith foundation. Dylan uses her to show the power that God can exhibit through His people. Spiritual warfare is chillingly illustrated in this novel, but in a very realistic way. Perhaps that is why it makes such an impact on the reader. The battles between good and evil make this a thought-provoking page turner. I liked that Dylan resolved the legal fight Pastor Dan is involved in, but she leaves some plot lines dangling. There’s more than enough for another much anticipated book.

One theme I especially liked was the idea of God using our circumstances, both good and bad, to shape our lives and purpose. Pastor Dan finds himself in a difficult place, but realizes he is just where God wants him. That was a good reminder to me.

A quick read, Fatal Accusation is a good choice for fans of legal thrillers, and gets a recommended rating from me.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE. The Kindle version is just $3.99!

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Audiobook Review: Fatal Tide

9 Nov

51Y1criVkUL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_In East Salem, the elite St. Adrian’s Academy is at the nexus of a satanic apocalypse—and the fatal tide is rising.

When Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights is reunited with the pagans who commissioned it, a dark prophecy begins to unfold in East Salem, beginning with a savage double-murder by hellish creatures straight out of the painting itself. The lone survivor of the attack, a seventeen-year-old Brit, finds sanctuary at Tommy Gunderson’s home—and the place is soon surrounded by demons who seem to be biding their time . . . but for how long?

Tommy’s pond has been contaminated with Provivilan—an insidious drug that could transform New York City’s children into an army of violence addicted murderers. But for an occult cabal in the upper echelons of Linz Pharmaceuticals, contaminating the water supply is just part of an ancient conspiracy against all of humankind.

As the clouds gather, Tommy and Dani realize they must infiltrate Linz and St. Adrian’s to stop the dissemination of Provivilan. Even then, it could take a tangible eruption of the battle between angels and demons to save humanity from the supernatural evils that have been summoned to East Salem.

logoLis Wiehl is one of the nation’s most prominent trial lawyers and highly regarded commentators. Currently, she is the legal analyst and reporter on the Fox News Channel and Bill O’Reilly’s sparring partner in the weekly “Is It Legal?” segment on The O’Reilly Factor. Prior to that she was O’Reilly’s co-host on the nationally syndicated show The Radio Factor. She is also a Professor of Law at New York Law School. Her column “Lis on Law” appears weekly on FoxNews.com.

Prior to joining Fox News Channel in New York City, Wiehl served as a legal analyst and reporter for NBC News and NPR’s All Things Considered. Before that, Wiehl served as a Federal Prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s office.

Wiehl earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland.

Wiehl is also the author of The 51% Minority, which won the 2008 award for Books for a Better Life in the motivational category, and Winning Every Time.

She lives with her husband and two children in New York.

fea4e03ae7a06dbcacda3210-l-_v192614257_sx200_Pete Nelson lives with his wife and son in Westchester, New York. He got his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1979 and has written both fiction and non-fiction for magazines, including Harpers, Esquire, MS, Outside, The Iowa Review, National Wildlife, Glamour, Redbook. He was a columnist for Mademoiselle and a staff writer for LIVE Magazine, covering various live events including horse pulls, music festivals, dog shows, accordion camps and arm wrestling championships. Recently he was a contributing editor and feature writer for Wondertime, a Disney parenting magazine.

 

My Impressions:

Fatal Tide is the final book in the East Salem series. The race against the forces of evil that began in Waking Hours and increased in Darkness Rising, takes on a greater urgency as Satanic forces make a last push to wreak mayhem on the world. But the team headed by Dani Harris and Tommy Gunderson are determined not to let evil have its way.

I really liked the time frame for this series. The first book, Waking Hours begins at October, taking advantage of all the creepiness of Halloween. Darkness Rising includes a Thanksgiving celebration in the midst of physical and spiritual attacks. Fatal Tide opens just a few days before Christmas. Christmas Eve is evil’s target date to bring humanity to an end. So if you want a supernatural suspense series to match the season, you should check this one out. The series combines ancient curses, prehistoric beasts and high tech gadgets and expertise to create an interesting blend, and to reinforce that the evil that existed from the beginning of time still exists today. New characters join series favorites in the fast-paced action. And there is no shortage of twists, turns and oh-no moments.

The narrator of Fatal Tide did an excellent job with timing and emphasis complimenting the suspenseful flavor of the book. All in all, Fatal Tide was a great conclusion to this series. Frank Peretti fans should definitely check this one out.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Aduiobook Review: The Curse of Crow Hollow

23 Oct

51zref80qGL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.

 

bcoffey-209Billy Coffey‘s critically-acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

 

My Impressions:

I was looking for a spooky read for October and I got more than I bargained for in Billy Coffey’s latest novel, The Curse of Crow Hollow. It is indeed a spooky and chill-inducing read, but it is so much more. With its Southern gothic style, its impeccable characterization and Billy’s trademark story-telling, this is a book that will do more than give you the creeps. It’s going to make you think and continue to think long after the last word is shared.

Crow Hollow, Virginia is a small town on the way out. Not many are left in the Hollow — jobs are scarce and its back-woods atmosphere is not likely to attract people or industry. It does have a close-knit community full of gossip, resentment and past sins. And there is a witch on the mountain that overlooks the town. This town is trouble just waiting to happen.

The Curse of Crow Hollow has a first person narrator who is not identified until the end of the book. He is down-home friendly and candid in his description of his fellow citizens. He describes to a visitor what has led up to the current state of the town — burned down buildings and few remaining residents. It’s a ghost story of sorts that begins when four teenagers tangle with the witch and unleash the curse on the whole town. As the story unfolds, the reader is made aware of hidden sins and secrets, deals struck and promises broken. Jealousy and prejudice abounds, though no one wants to acknowledge it, let alone confront it. The whole persona of the town and its people is a mask hiding the ugliness of those determined to go their own way. The town has embraced its isolation from the outside world and from God, although they would never admit that. The curse that takes hold of the town is of their own making, and the evil that has taken hold is not likely to let go any time soon. A few townspeople are determined to make a change and in the end, the reader knows the fight continues, and a sliver of hope remains. The Curse of Crow Hollow is definitely fiction, but completely on the mark for the hypocrisy of a religion without true faith and lives full of sin without repentance. It is riveting and soul-convicting.

I listened to the audiobook version and have to say, if possible, that is the way to read this book. The voice of the narrator is perfect. The last few words spoken made chills run down my spine for quite a long time. Just don’t listen to or read this one after dark, unless you have a very powerful lamp! 😉

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Do you like scary books? Why or why not?

 

Book Review: Darkness Rising

13 Oct

51CeSyzf2+L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_The evil in East Salem is no longer content to hide in the shadows. The stakes ― and the darkness ― are rising.

Dani Harris thought there wasn’t much left that could surprise her after serving as a forensic psychiatrist in East Salem. And Tommy Gunderson has faced few challenges in his life that he couldn’t overcome by either physical strength or his celebrity status.

But as they race to uncover what’s really happening behind the high walls of St. Adrian’s Academy, it becomes clear that supernatural forces have been at work here for generations. And now their focus is on making sure Dani and Tommy don’t interfere.

When the unseen becomes seen, faith is the only weapon strong enough to fight in a battle involving not just murder and betrayal ― but angels and demons.

 

logoLis Wiehl is one of the nation’s most prominent trial lawyers and highly regarded commentators. Currently, she is the legal analyst and reporter on the Fox News Channel and Bill O’Reilly’s sparring partner in the weekly “Is It Legal?” segment on The O’Reilly Factor. Prior to that she was O’Reilly’s co-host on the nationally syndicated show The Radio Factor. She is also a Professor of Law at New York Law School. Her column “Lis on Law” appears weekly on FoxNews.com.

Prior to joining Fox News Channel in New York City, Wiehl served as a legal analyst and reporter for NBC News and NPR’s All Things Considered. Before that, Wiehl served as a Federal Prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s office.

Wiehl earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland.

Wiehl is also the author of The 51% Minority, which won the 2008 award for Books for a Better Life in the motivational category, and Winning Every Time.

She lives with her husband and two children in New York.

fea4e03ae7a06dbcacda3210-l-_v192614257_sx200_Pete Nelson lives with his wife and son in Westchester, New York. He got his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1979 and has written both fiction and non-fiction for magazines, including HarpersEsquire, MS, Outside, The Iowa Review, National Wildlife, Glamour, Redbook. He was a columnist for Mademoiselle and a staff writer for LIVE Magazine, covering various live events including horse pulls, music festivals, dog shows, accordion camps and arm wrestling championships. Recently he was a contributing editor and feature writer for Wondertime, a Disney parenting magazine.

 

My Impressions:

Darkness Rising is book 2 in Lis Wiehl and Pete Nelson’s East Salem series. The action begins where Waking Hours left off (my review HERE). Filled with demons, this supernatural thriller definitely registers high on the creepy meter. If you like scary this one is for you. If not, I’d give it a pass.

Dani Harris, a forensic psychiatrist, and Tommy Gunderson, ex-football player turned PI, continue to investigate the bizarre murder that has rocked the quaint town of East Salem, New York. Evidence mounts up implicating the local academy that prides itself on teaching future leaders. As Dani and Tommy get closer to the truth, the action ramps up, including demonic activity that is determined not to be stopped.

Darkness Rising features new and returning characters. The bad guys are not well-developed, but Wiehl and Nelson make sure the good guys’ emotions, motivations and background are explored. The emphasis of the novel is the struggle of good and evil and uses an interesting framework to portray the ancient battle. Demons, as well as angels, play a major role, and the book does not shy away from the violence of the battle. The theme of Christ’s redemptive work is portrayed along with God’s plan and purposes in His people’s lives. Even as the demons work to separate Dani and Tommy, God turns those efforts to work out His plan.  I did have one problem though. A character who is a believer becomes demon-possessed. This is contrary to my understanding of scripture. I believe in demonic attack and oppression, but never possession in a believer. 1 John 4:4 states — But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world (NLT). *For this reason I would not recommend this book to non-believers.

Darkness Rising ends with a battle won, but the war is definitely not over. The characters are united and committed to uncover truth and expose evil, but it will be a daunting task. I look forward to the conclusion of this series.

*Recommended. (Please see note above.)

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)