Tag Archives: suspense fiction

Book Review: Burden of Proof

4 Dec

Davis Bunn has long been one of my must-read authors. His latest novel, Burden of Proof, seals that distinction. A little different from his previous suspense novels, I believe this is my favorite of all time. Highly recommended!

 

Three weeks after his twenty-third birthday, Ethan missed the chance to save his brother’s life when he was murdered on the steps of the courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida. Ever since that fateful day, Ethan has sensed a deep disconnect between the man he should have been and the one he has become. His days play out a beat too slow, his mind replaying the scene of his failure again and again.

But when his brother’s widow appears, asking for his help in uncovering what was really behind his brother’s death, Ethan is stunned to hear that she and her late husband were involved in a much larger case than he knew–one that threatens the global power structure. As Ethan joins the search for answers, he will enter into his own past–and discover a means of redeeming his future.

Bestselling and award-winning author Davis Bunn invites you into a world of intrigue as a man held captive by his failure learns how to move forward with hope.

Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author who serves as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom.

Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.

 

My Impressions:

As I closed the cover of Burden of Proof, I knew that this book would stay with me for a long while. I have read a lot of Davis Bunn’s novels — all genres — and liked them all, but this one is by the far the best I have read. The complex plotting and characterization, plus the numerous themes and questions arising from it, make it a highly recommended read.

First things first — I wasn’t sure how a book that opens with time travel would go over with my book club. (Burden of Proof is my group’s January 2021 pick.) I needn’t have worried, it has all the things my members love — a gripping story, flawed, yet relatable characters, and enough fodder for a long discussion. Besides the time travel theories and the wisdom of doing such a thing, I anticipate great conversations on the twisting plot, the growth of the characters, and the value of giving and taking second chances. Oh, yes, this book has it all! Even the time and setting are developed to perfectly compliment the narrative. I know I am gushing, but I loved everything about this book.

Burden of Proof solidifies Davis Bunn as one of my must-read authors. I am so glad I get a chance to discuss this book with a group of reader friends. If you choose this book, bring someone along for the journey. You will have to talk about it!

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Review: The Escape

3 Dec

Favorite author, Lisa Harris, always delivers great suspenseful reading. Her newest novel, The Escape, will keep you on the edge of your seat — you’ll never see the twists coming! Recommended!

US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are thrust into a high-profile case when they are called on to transport two prisoners across the country on a private plane. But when the plane experiences engine trouble en route from the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, the pilots crash-land the aircraft deep in the heart of the sprawling Salmon-Challis National Forest. 

When Madison and Jonas regain consciousness, they find both pilots and one prisoner dead–and one fugitive on the run. They’ll have to negotiate the rugged and remote backcountry through Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado while tracking a murderer who is desperate to disappear–and will do anything to stop them.

This high-octane game of cat-and-mouse from bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris will have your heart pumping as you try to catch a fugitive with nothing to lose.

Bestselling author Lisa Harris is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent almost fourteen years working as missionaries in Africa where she runs a small non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project promotes Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

 

My Impressions:

Lisa Harris is one of my go-to authors for suspense fiction. Her latest novel, The Escape, takes it up a notch with non-stop action and twists and turns galore. The main characters are also very relatable, even as I would definitely not want their jobs! 😉 A great beginning to a new series — I can’t wait to read more.

US Marshalls Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with the transport of some dangerous prisoners. All would probably have gone by the numbers if it hadn’t been for a storm and a plane crash. Oh, yes, The Escape provides some adrenaline-charged action As they track the bad guy, all of their training is put to the test. Fascinating details about the Marshall service are included naturally within the narrative making this novel feel very real. The two main characters are well-developed with back stories that impact their outlook on life, as well as how they handle their jobs. I loved their very, very real struggles. I became very engaged with them, as well as the engrossing plot. I never knew what was coming next! There is a hint of future romance for the upcoming books, but in The Escape, the job comes first. This just increased the book’s credibility.

For those who like page-turners, then The Escape is a great choice. It was unputdownable!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

Top Ten Tuesday — Top New Must-Read Authors

1 Dec

This week Top 10 Tuesday is focusing on re-reads. I have done a couple of those posts before. (Find them HERE and HERE.) So, as a tweak of the meme, I am featuring new-to-me authors that I read over the past year or so that are now must-read authors. Those first books blew me away, so I will be reading more of their books. My list includes the books I have on my TBR list to read next as well.

 

 

Top New-To-Me Must Read Authors

 

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

 

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

 

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

 

The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal

 

In The Shadow of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson

 

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

 

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

 

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

 

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

 

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

 

Book Review: A Cross to Kill

26 Nov

 

If you are a fan of the Jason Bourne action flicks (or the books 😉 ), you need to check out a Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff.

 

A gripping debut thriller pits a man of God against terrorists — and his own deadly past

John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God’s calling. He’s not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past.

But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf — an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to do penance for all the lives he took. He vowed never to kill again.

Now someone wants the peaceful pastor to pay for his sins with his own life. And when a terrorist out for revenge walks into the church, John’s secrets are laid bare. Confronted with his past, he must face his demons and discover whether a man can truly change. Can he keep his vow — even when the people he loves are in mortal danger? Will his congregation and the brave woman he’s learning to care for be caught in the cross fire? In the end, John’s life may be the only sacrifice he has left to offer. . .

Andrew Huff’s thrilling debut is not only a riveting story of suspense, it’s also a deep exploration of the moral quandaries that face those who choose to follow the Prince of Peace in a violent world.

Andrew Huff spent 10 years in local church ministry before pursuing God’s calling into creative storytelling and media production as the Product Director at Igniter Media, a church media company (ignitermedia.com). He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014 & 2017) and also won the Best Screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, VA. He resides in North Texas with his beautiful wife Jae and their two boys.

 

My Impressions:

If you like fast-moving action with plenty of car chases and hand-to-hand fighting plus a strong faith message, then A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff is the book for you. Main character John Cross has serious Bourne-like skills that he uses in his freelance work with the CIA. He is part of an extraction team since he left the agency after becoming a Christian. His latest operation leads him to second-guess even that much involvement as he settles into his new role as the pastor of a small Virginia church.

John Cross is an interesting character. Much of his skill-set from his military and CIA days is second nature. What is not is his relationship with God. He is truly a believer, but new, even as he leads a church. He is trying to lead a life of denial and penance for the sins of his past. I think he gets mercy, but grace alludes him. The plot revolves around the terrorists who are out to exact vengeance and the attraction towards the woman he rescued. It is a twisting story with plenty of surprises along the way. While this book definitely has a guy-vibe to it, I think anyone who likes high octane action will like it.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

First Line Friday — Burden of Proof

20 Nov

Happy Friday! I am not getting a lot of reading done this week — my family has been here and I have been busy baking, cooking, and following after my grandbaby! 🙂 But when the dust settles, Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn will be the next book up. Are you finding time for good books? I’d love to read your first line.

For more first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books

 

 

Ethan paddled his kayak slowly across the inland waterway, heading into the dawn. 

 

Three weeks after his twenty-third birthday, Ethan missed the chance to save his brother’s life when he was murdered on the steps of the courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida. Ever since that fateful day, Ethan has sensed a deep disconnect between the man he should have been and the one he has become. His days play out a beat too slow, his mind replaying the scene of his failure again and again.

But when his brother’s widow appears, asking for his help in uncovering what was really behind his brother’s death, Ethan is stunned to hear that she and her late husband were involved in a much larger case than he knew–one that threatens the global power structure. As Ethan joins the search for answers, he will enter into his own past–and discover a means of redeeming his future.

Bestselling and award-winning author Davis Bunn invites you into a world of intrigue as a man held captive by his failure learns how to move forward with hope.

Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author who serves as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom.

Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.

 

 

 

Book Review: Collision of Lies

18 Nov

Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she’s correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.

With time running out, Amara must convince others — and herself — that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy lives. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home.

A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story.

Tom Threadgill was born and raised in Memphis back when the muddy Mississippi was less riverish and more streamish. His childhood was unremarkable. (Unless you count the concussion. Oh, and the time he nearly got arrested. And the time his dad made him smoke a cigar so he wouldn’t try cigarettes.)

After giving up on a calling as a professional Pong player, Tom married his high school sweetheart and moved off to Nashville. He attended Belmont University where he majored in English (because the sky’s the limit for English majors, right?), learned to type on an IBM Selectric, and helped his wife study nursing terms with flashcards.

While there, Tom began an almost thirty-year career working for a package delivery company, spending most of the time working his way up the ranks and looking for his stapler. The job took him to Indiana, Missouri, Florida, and Texas, before he opted to retire early and move to rural west Tennessee. Think Green Acres minus the farm but with the helpful county agent.

These days Tom spends his time piddling in the yard and writing novels. His hobbies include working jigsaw puzzles, trying out Dad jokes on his grown kids, woodworking, and using leftover potted meat cans from Y2K for target practice.

Tom enjoys riding his Harley in the mountains with his wife, who shuts off the microphone after the third “I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.” He’s also a rabid hockey fan, following his beloved Predators as they chase their first Stanley Cup.

My Impressions:

First I have to say I love, love, love main character Amara Alvarez and am thrilled that she will be returning in another novel! Okay, I got that out of the way and can say that I really, really liked Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill. Besides the very funny, sometimes quirky, and normal law enforcement types that populate the pages, Collision of Lies is a page-turner full of twists and turns and a lot of please don’t go there — oh you did! No, this book isn’t graphic, but it doesn’t sugarcoat the evil that men will stoop to. Police work is the key to the investigation, so if you like that sort of thing, this novel is for you. The cop vibe is strong, but in a very credible way. There were a few things I did find less than credible, but they heightened the suspense, so perfectly allowable. Amara is a fabulous character — intuitive, empathetic, and kick-butt. I cannot wait to see where she will go next. The book is pure suspense, but there may be a bit of romance down the line.

Great plot, characters, and action — Collision of Lies has it all! It is highly recommended!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Books with Animals

17 Nov

I went the of way of easy today for Top 10 Tuesday. Instead of coming up with characters names for pets, I chose books that include pets or in some cases, books where wild animals are part of the story. Some are your run-of-the mill dogs (is there really such a thing?) and some are a bit exotic, like wolves, possums, seagulls, and kangaroos. All make the books a little more special. I did a Top 10 Tuesday a while ago with characters that made great cat names. You can check it out HERE.

For more animal fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books with Special Animals

 

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Belinda Blake And The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert

Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

 

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert

 

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter

The Woman in The Green Dress by Tea Cooper

 

2021 Christy Award Winners!

16 Nov

Congratulations to the very talented Christy Award authors. This list represents the best of the best in Christian Fiction. You now have a great TBR list! You’re welcome!!

 

2021 Christy Award Winners

 

Book of The Year

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

 

Contemporary Romance

Now And Then And Always by Melissa Tagg

 

First Novel

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin Pearson

 

General Fiction

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

 

Historical Fiction

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

 

Historical Romance

The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron

 

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

The Girl Behind The Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker

 

Short Form

A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

 

Visionary

Hidden Current by Sharon Hinck

 

Young Adult

The Means That Make Us Strangers by Christine Kindberg

Top 10 Tuesday — Song Titles

10 Nov

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge is a fun one — pick book titles that would make great song titles. Song titles and book titles have so much in common. They both are catchy and easy to remember and capture the essence of the book/song in one phrase. Song titles usually come from a line in the lyrics. Book titles often do the same thing — it’s fun when you come across the reference while reading. This week I went to my shelves for inspiration and found some books residing there that reference real songs for their titles, so I included some of those as well. Hope you find a book to love.

For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top Book Titles That Should (or are) Song Titles

 

Books with songs as titles:

Cold As Ice by M. K. Gilroy

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt

You’re The One That I Want by Susan May Warren

 

 

Books that would make great song titles:

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant

More Than We Remember by Christina Suzann Nelson

 

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin 

 

 

Book Review: Airborne

5 Oct

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living ― but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.

As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is Director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn here: diannmills.com.

My Impressions:

Airborne by DiAnn Mills is a very timely suspense novel. Featuring a deadly flu virus targeting airplane passengers on their way to Europe, this book is chillingly real. So real in fact that it was sometimes a bit hard to read. I had to remind myself that it was fiction and not a new twist to the Covid pandemic. All that to say that it was certainly unputdownable! A recommended read if it’s not too soon for you.

Heather Lawrence, an FBI Special Agent, is on her way to Austria for more than a vacation. Her personal life is in shambles and she is endeavoring to gain control after her estrangement with her virologist husband, Chad. But soon after takeoff, people start getting sick — really sick. The terror of an unknown illness is front and center for the reader. Airborne gets a lot of things right — PPE, quarantine protocols, and the race for answers and a cure. There is also the element of social media panic, fake news, and the blame game that eerily parallels what has happened around the world since March 2020. Mills wrote this book way before that, proving what a great researcher she is. A combo of medical thriller and legal suspense, Airborne is a novel that will keep you up late turning the pages. There are lots of surprising twists and turns that keep the characters and the reader guessing. A great faith element is also woven throughout the book as Heather and Chad undergo a lot of changes. Chad is a very unlikable character, and I loved how many stuck with him even as most would have written him off.

I liked Airborne a lot, but understand that in light of all that is still going on with Covid 19, many may be put off by it. If that is you, put it on your maybe list — in a few months you may be ready for a well-written suspense that gives great perspective on what we are going through now.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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