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Christian Fiction: Contemporary Mystery / Suspense


No One To Trust

- A Hidden Identity Novel

by Lynette Eason


This was my ideal book—being categorised as a romantic suspense—it ticked both my favourite reading genres. The book follows the story of Kyle and Summer Abernathy, newly married after a whirlwind romance. Set along the eastern seaboard of the U.S, it starts with Summer being woken to a gun in her face demanding to know where her husband was. Kyle is missing and as Summer searches for him she is taken into the world of organised crime and is left wondering just who her husband really is and can she really trust anyone she comes into contact with.

This was a real page-turner for me. A well written and enjoyable book and I look forward to reading more of Eason's work.



Review by Zoë Stevenson  (08/08/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 978-0-800-72208-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Dolled Up To Die

- The Cate Kinkaid Files Series

by Lorena McCourtney


This is the first in the Cate Kinkaid files that I had read and I quite enjoyed. It is the second book in the series, following "Dying to Read"

Cate is a haphazard assistant private investigator who seems to get herself into all sorts of unnecessary scrapes as she starts to investigate a triple homicide of 3 handmade dolls, which leads to a whole lot more.

As Cate pokes around she finds out that it is more than just dolls that have been murdered and it turns into a real whodunit novel with quite a few suspects.

Not wanting to fail as a detective we follow Cate as she uncovers the real truth.

McCourtney has a lovely eclectic cast of characters and the plot for the story is quite novel.

I've not read anything else by McCourtney before but would quite happily read more, especially if they all have quirky storylines.



Review by Zoë Stevenson  (29/04/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: August 2013
ISBN: 978-0-800-72159-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Critical Reaction

- A Novel

by Todd M. Johnson


The survivors of an accident at Hanford Nuclear Reservation seek justice, discovering in the process all sorts of shady behaviour by bosses at Hanford.

The novel kept my attention all the way through, and the author's 30 year career as a lawyer gives credibility to the lengthy courtroom scenes. T

he main characters are a father and daughter who work together as a legal team. Their characters are well developed, and early tensions between them helpfully described, as is the father's protective attitude towards his daughter.

I did feel that there were a number of ‘loose ends' in the plot, which made the ending feel hurried and something of an anti-climax.



Visit the author's website:authortoddjohnson.com

Review by Barry Vendy  (06/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: December 2013
ISBN: 978-0-764-21015-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

An Unholy Communion

- Monastery Murders Series

by Donna Fletcher Crow


This is the third novel in the Monastery Murders series, the first two of which I have not read. It stands well on its own, though it would still be preferable to read them in order for a better understanding of how the characters got to where they are now. The suspense builds well as we follow engaged clerics Andrew and Felicity, still reeling from the violent death of a colleague, shepherding a group of young people on a pilgrimage through sights of historical and spiritual significance in Wales, all the while dogged by odd, unexplainable and increasingly menacing occurrences. Since almost all the characters are previously unknown to each other, everyone can - and does - seem suspicious at one time or another. It is perhaps inevitable that some of the teenagers are somewhat stereotypical and I found the continual swapping of viewpoint distracting, but these are minor quibbles in a well-written and solidly grounded mystery. The author has managed to make her main protagonists both likeable and realistic, which is no mean feat. I shall certainly be looking out for other Monastery Murders.

Review by Diane Morrison  (13/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-1-782-64004-2
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Breath of Dawn



by Kristen Heitzmann


This is the first novel by Heitzmann that I have read and I was a little sceptical at the length, ­437 pages. To me you see length can sometimes = waffle, however this was not the case. I enjoyed every page of this book. The main character Quinn is a very independent young woman who I could identify with and it was nice to watch her grow and fall in love with Morgan, ­her very own knight in shining armour. I liked the way the storyline wasn't predictable although the plot was ­but it wouldn't have been a great story had it ended any other way. Heitzmann was able to keep the story interesting all the way through with other character's mini stories as she uncovers the background to Quinn's barriers that she keeps firmly up around herself.
Heitzmann has two other romantic suspense novels that link with this book and are set before The Breath of Dawn but can easily be read independently and I look forward to reading them at some point.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (05/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: December 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-21042-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Shattered



by Dani Pettrey


This is a crime story set in Alaska, easy to read, containing romance, and with a Christian flavour. The crime story: Police Deputy Landon Grainger embarks on a search for a murderer. He is accompanied by the feisty Piper McKenna. (Would that happen in real life, I wonder?). She is determined to prove the innocence of her brother, Reef, who has been arrested for the crime, with much evidence pointing to his guilt. Landon comes to agree with her. The search enlists the help of Piper's very sporty family. It ranges over great distances, with moments of tension and suspense, until the unexpected identity of the killer emerges and he is apprehended. The romance? You've probably guessed. Landon and Piper fall in love. And how about the Christian flavour? The author is herself a Christian. She says that she'd be lost without Jesus, "my Lord and Saviour", and her wish is, "May every story be for your glory". She doesn't lay her faith on too thickly in the story, but Piper and most of her family are Christians, and words of testimony are sometimes put on their lips. Landon moves from his earlier scepticism to recognition of the power of prayer. If you appreciate a fairly light crime story, you'll probably enjoy this one.

Visit the author's website:www.danipettrey.com/

Review by Barry Vendy  (17/06/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-764-20983-3
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Lethal Legacy

- A Novel

by Irene Hannon


Here is another exciting 'romantic suspense' novel, from a prolific American mistress of the genre, Irene Hannon, recipient of multiple honours, including two RITA awards (the 'Oscar' of romantic fiction). The book held my attention right through to its dramatic climax. The author has done her research and consulted her advisors thoroughly on matters that are central to the book, such as the Mafia, the Witness Security programme, health concerns and allergies, and paramedic / rescue procedures. The quotations from the Bible and positive references to church added to my enjoyment.

Visit the author's website:www.irenehannon.com/

Review by Barry Vendy  (23/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-73458-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Placebo

- A Jevin Banks Novel

by Steven James


A fantastic new series off to a great start from Steven James. A taut interesting thriller that has good characters, dilemmas and a touch of quantum physics and pharmaceutical research mixed in with military / political conspiracy, and a lot of ethical questions asked throughout. If you like Dan Brown style fiction then you will love this. The main character Jevin Banks is kind of a cross between David Blaine and Derren Brown - an escapologist and illusionist that is now making documentaries that try to debunk and explain psychics and other such things. Working with him are the people he used to use in his stage show before the tragic death of his wife and twin sons. Whilst making the latest documentary trying to debunk what seems to be the pseudo-science of quantum entanglement arising from quantum physics he stumbles onto something much bigger… This book really did grip me from the first page right through to the last and I can't wait for the second in the series to come out later this year.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (05/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: December 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-73425-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Nothing to Hide



by J Mark Bertrand


I probably wouldn't give this book a 5 star rating. It was painfully slow to begin with and for the first few chapters it felt like I was sitting in a cold dark room with a dimly lit light in the corner even though the story in those first few chapters is outdoors, however after you have persevered through the beginning the plot thickens and some interesting characters are introduced.

A murder mystery which has a few twists and a surprisingly unpredictable ending! I guess if you don't mind a slow start, and enjoy a good mystery then give it a go - you may like it more than I did.

Review by Charmaine Hill  (28/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 24 August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20639-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Deposit Slip



by Todd M Johnson


It is difficult to believe that this accomplished, Grisham-esque tale is a first novel for Todd Johnson. Despite the fact that the blurb focuses on the female client’s woes, this is substantially the story of lawyer, Jared Neaton and his struggles to stay afloat both financially and ethically while pitted against big law firms for whom neither money nor ethics are any object. Neaton is a well-drawn, believable character whose relationships with his father, secretary and colleagues ebb and flow around his obsessive commitment to his work. The story is complex and intriguing, centring on a deposit slip for $10,000,000 found by Erin Larson amongst her late father’s possessions, about which the bank denies all knowledge. Where did the money come from? Where did it go? And why do so many influential people want to stop her – and her lawyer – pursuing the matter at any cost? Todd Johnson achieves the difficult feat of making the ending both satisfying and credible, while also leaving it open for a possible sequel.
Recommended for all fans of legal thrillers.

Review by Diane Morrison  (27/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 24 August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20986-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Rare Earth



by Davis Bunn


The good guys despise Marc Royce as a mercenary cashing in on the crisis caused when a Kenyan volcano erupts in a drought zone; the bad guys despise him as an accountant with no African experience. They’re both wrong.
He’s been sent to find out why corrupt officials are seizing apparently worthless tribal lands and evicting the people by force, and why anyone caught asking questions has either died or disappeared.
It’s a brutal world where life is disposable and expediency everything. Nobody trusts anyone – usually with good cause – but an unlikely alliance is forged of natural enemies whose only common ground is allegiance to Jesus Christ and a determination to find out what’s wrong and put it right. This is a full-blooded, uncompromising thriller with non-stop action, genuine suspense and a Christian heart. The characters are recognisably human and, for the most part, not stereotypical; the hero’s past is touched upon but not wallowed in, neither is there a pat, saccharine ending. I was unfamiliar with Davis Bunn before reading this, but I will certainly read more of his work. Thoroughly recommended.

Review by Diane Morrison  (27/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 24 August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20906-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Submerged

- Alaskan Courage Series Book One

by Dani Pettry


The plot, we've heard it all before. The characters, nothing really new. So what kept me reading this book? Dani keeps her reader hooked with intrigue as you wonder what she is going to come up with next.
Beautifully described scenery captures the imagination as Bailey and Cole find an underwater world just off their coastline.
A book filled with suspense, romance and intrigue. Well worth a read!

Review by Charmaine Hill  (22/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 22 June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20982-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Harbinger

- The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America’s Future

by Jonathan Cahn


I was fascinated when reading this novel comparing the warning of destruction on Israel with the same warning brought on America leading up to 9/11.
I really enjoyed the way Cahn uses a narrative predominantly between the main character Nouriel and a prophet. Like all things from God, Nouriel is fed a clue in the form of a seal with a marking on it and it is Nouriel’s job to uncover the meaning of the seal therefore revealing a step by step account of the run up to 9/11 using the scriptures from Isaiah.
The back of the book says that this book will take you on an amazing journey that will change the way you’ll see the world forever and I have to say that I’m not much of an end times person nor super knowledgeable on scripture but I couldn’t help thinking that maybe there is some truth behind the words here. I did enjoy it – not my kind of book really but overall a good read.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (18/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Front Line imprint of Charisma, Distributed by Kingsway
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-616-38610-8
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Lion of Babylon



by Davis Bunn


Set in the troubled region of Iraq Lion of Babylon is a thriller in the style of Tom Clancy, John Le Carré and Fredrick Forsyth. As such it carries the standard thriller fayre of kidnapping, terrorism and threats to global peace. While it would be easy to dismiss Lion of Babylon as just another novel in this genre, which is how it comes across for the first few chapters, the story goes deeper into issues than many secular equivalents. It deals, not just with the faith and accompany doubts of the American protagonist but also the realities of being a Christian in post-Saddam Iraq as well as the many streams of Islam in that country along with their ability or inability to work with each other and foreigners. It also deals with the willing sacrifices made by aid workers, military personnel and government officials in such a situation. Unlike many novels of the type Lion of Babylon does not set out to argue either for or against the war in Iraq instead focussing on the individuals and how their lives play out. Because of the subject this is not an easy read and takes a lot of effort to get into but is worth sticking with.

Review by Phelim McIntyre  (28/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-764-20905-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Sons of Jude



by Brandt Dodson


St Jude, apparently, is the patron saint of policemen, in addition to Lost Causes, and this racy novel ‘with an ethical twist’ is set in contemporary Chicago, in the Police Department, the world of organised crime and City Hall politics, newspaper offices, the striptease industry, and illegal immigration. The ethical twist concerns the place of Christian principles in a corrupt and corrupting environment, as well as the endurance of human values in corrosive situations. The book has plenty of action and surprises, and once you’re used to the language, it is easy to read.

Review by John Thomas  (18/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: July 2012
ISBN: 978-0-857-21205-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Firethorn

- Discarded Heroes Book 4

by Ronnie Kendig


Book 4 in the Discarded Heroes series, Firethorn is the second piece of fiction that I have read by Kendig and I was so excited to get the chance to read this novel, but for me it wasn’t as good as Dead Reckoning.
Although I wasn’t as blown away by Firethorn, it was still a good read. Set around a team of Special Forces this is a tale reassembling the Nightshade team that have been forcibly disbanded and everyone is a suspect and anyone connected to the team is at risk.
Kazi Faron is tasked to seek the team members out and reunite them so they can hunt out those behind the initial attack. Kazi is good at her job but not at relationships: but God has other plans for her besides reuniting this dedicated team of God loving soldiers. Whilst this plot is very dramatic and would feature the likes of Steven Segal or Sly Stone if it was made a film, I found it quite a complicated story to follow as it was jumping back and forth between countries and characters and I felt that it wasn’t all clearly laid out initially in the first quarter of the book, although by half way through most of it was clear and I began to follow the story better. The romantic element of the story I think could also have been more tense and passionate but it wasn’t a love story so that’s okay.
All in all an enjoyable read.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (13/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Barbour from David C Cook/Kingsway
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-602-60785-9
Paperback
Price: £9.99

When the Smoke Clears



by Lynette Eason


If you're a fan of action-filled, complex mystery stories then this is the book for you – it’s packed with a bewildering array of mysterious incidents coming one after the other in relentless procession. Who started the fire that nearly wiped out Alexia Allen’s dysfunctional family? Where are her drug-dealer brother and abusive father now? What did her high-school friend see on prom night that terrified her into disappearing and what does it have to do with people in high places? Who is trying to kill Alexia or frame her for murder and why? And there are still others that I cannot mention without giving away more of the plot! Throw in some romance, some sibling rivalry, the healing of old wounds and the influence of God, and you have some excellent escapist holiday reading. Beware, though, if you prefer a story to finish with all the loose ends neatly tied up you'll be frustrated; the stage is left set for a sequel, or maybe more than one. Lynette Eason knows how to write a page-turner and leave her audience wanting more – the adventure continues in When a Heart Stops out in the UK in November 2012.

Review by Diane Morrison  (26/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 23 March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-72007-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Sydney Chambers and The Shadow of Death

- The Grantchester Mysteries Book One

by James Runcie


I set this aside for a time I could just sit and read. I felt in my bones I would not want to put it down and I was right!
This is a ‘gentle’ ramble through a busy clergyman’s life at a time when he is caught up in one crime after another. None of his seeking.
Canon Sydney Chambers is a reluctant detective, but can delve in ways his police inspector friend cannot. In The Shadow of Death more than one murder, and a theft occupy every spare moment of his time. The Canon, the Inspector, together with two beautiful women, a new Curate and a wonderfully portrayed ‘awkward’ housekeeper and of course Dickens the dog are just some of the characters and we are sure to meet them again in the next five of this promised series of six books.
The crimes are all solved but we are left wondering about the Canon’s love life. This thirty-two- year-old bachelor will surely find love?

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (26/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: Spring 2012
ISBN: 978-1-408-82595-2
Hardback
Price: £14.99

Beguiled



by Deanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand


I liked this book. It was easy to read and captivating from the get go. Even though set in modern day Charleston the location of the story still took you back in time to the golden age of Charleston opulence.
This suspense novel has you guessing all the way along, drawing you back and forth between who was the goodie and who was the baddie.
The characters had a good range of personalities that come together well and also had you fooled, reminding you that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. On that note I liked the front cover but felt that the title and authors should have been embossed; It would have been a nice touch – adding to that opulent theme of Charleston. Saying that though, it didn’t detract from the story. Happy reading!

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (02/04/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 19 March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-764-20628-3
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Dead Saint



by Marilyn Brown Oden


This is a fast moving, well written and enjoyable novel of international intrigue and murder that begins on the streets of New Orleans and ends in the Oval office at the White House.
The story starts with an apparent random shooting of a New Orleans Saints football player, continues through the tortuous realms of Balkan politics until with the assassination of a head of state it moves to the very heart of the American political system. Bishop Lynn Peterson becomes increasingly embroiled in a plot involving a mysterious Balkan secret society and deception at the highest level, and the lives of her husband and she herself are at risk as she wrestles with questions of trust, mental and physical pressure and most important of all, the spiritual dimension of her experience.

Visit the author's website:www.marilynbrownoden.com/

Review by George Taylor  (24/11/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Abingdon Press from Alban Books
Published: June 2011
ISBN: 978-1-426-70867-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

I Shall Not Want

- The Psalm 23 Mysteries

by Debbie Viguié


I didn’t read the first of these mysteries – I wish I had!
Cindy Preston has scarcely recovered from the traumas she encountered in the first book, before she is plunged into another mystery involving several of the characters from The Lord is My Shepherd and introducing others.
The back of the book gives an excellent pr&éacute;cis -
It’s Thanksgiving and Joseph Tyler, one of the members of Cindy’s church, has organized a new charity that provides homeless people with rescue dogs to love and care for. But one by one, the homeless recipients are being murdered and their dogs stolen. Could an overly competitive millionaire with his prize-winning pooches and a grudge be behind the crimes? Or could it be someone much closer to Joseph who has something sinister to hide? Cindy and Jeremiah must rush to find a killer before he strikes again.
I couldn’t have put it better.
A book to sit down and keep reading till you reach the end – enjoy!

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (05/11/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Abingdon Press from Alban Books
Published: 12 December 2010
ISBN: 978-1-426-70190-0
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Diagnosis Death

- Prescription for Trouble series

by Richard L. Mabry


This is another book from The Prescription for Trouble Series, and again full of suspense with a little romance thrown in. Still set in a medical environment but that would be expected due to the author’s profession and the series format. Mabry has not over jargonised the book nor made the story unrealistic.
This is the second book by Mabry I have read and it has left me guessing all the way through which I like. As the previous book I reviewed in this series, Medical Error this book was quick to read although 302 pages long. The chapters were broken up by scene breaks which I find handy especially if I’m really tired or short on time and I can’t indulge in a full chapter.
There are references in this book to racial prejudices towards the lead character for being Hispanic and her colleague who is black which I find sad that this is still a part of the American society especially in Texas and Mabry is using the book to illustrate that racism still exists in the US. Maybe a topic for prayer.
If this book was to be read in a book club there are some interesting discussion questions at the end.
Again a good read and I would definitely read more of Mabry’s stuff.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (05/11/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Abingdon Press from Alban Books
Published: 04 April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-426-71021-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

When the Devil Whistles



by Rick Acker


An enjoyable thriller with well-rounded characters set in the shadowy world of the professional whistle-blower. Allie inserts herself into various companies as a ‘temp.’ accountant to collect evidence of fraud and corruption involving government money; Connor, a Christian lawyer, handles the legal side and the company that hides her identity. Her high success rate, however, attracts the unwelcome attentions of the unscrupulous. Her cover is blown and blackmail and betrayal follow. The author works for the California Department of Justice and his loving detailing of legal procedures is, on occasion, slightly overdone. Also, the sub-plot involving Koreans on a salvage boat comes across as almost an entirely separate story that only connects with the rest in the final few chapters. Overall, though, the quality of the writing and characterisation overrides these quibbles. “You find out who you are when the devil whistles” is the theme: Connor’s struggles to define and remain true to his ethical principles in the face of much pressure, and Allie’s painful process of self-discovery when her world implodes, make fascinating reading.

Review by Diane Morrison  (28/05/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Abingdon Press from Alban Books
Published: February 2011
ISBN: 978-1-426-70767-4
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Bishop

- Patrick Bowers Thriller Book 4

by Steven James


Fourth in the chess-themed series featuring RBI agent, Pat Bowers, The Bishop continues the author’s exploration of evil, morality and what it means to be human. Slightly less gory than its predecessors, this episode fleshes out the characters of some of the supporting cast, making them less stereotypical and more interesting. It also manages to consider deep issues while still maintaining the requisite pace and action. It is not absolutely necessary to have read the preceding three; the book stands alone and will appeal to any devotees of the genre. The villains are still appallingly fiendish and unnaturally clever, the maverick cop is still hampered by his antagonistic superiors and distracted by his personal life, and things are never quite resolved at the end – leading the reader neatly into the next sequel. This reader found the abrupt changes of viewpoint shifting from the first to the third person irritating, but others consider it inspired! Well-written, intelligent, but not for the faint-hearted.

Review by Diane Morrison  (23/04/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-800-73302-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Last Word

- Sophie Trace Trilogy Book 2

by Kathy Herman


Vanessa Jessup – daughter of Police Chief, Brill – takes centre stage in the second instalment of the Sophie Trace trilogy. As her existence was only alluded to in the first book, Vanessa’s character as the middle child is brought to life when she finds herself in a very precarious situation. After becoming romantically involved with her college professor, Vanessa discovers she is pregnant and is pressured by her commitment-phobic lover to get an abortion. While she recognises that this would in fact be the easiest option, her Christian upbringing and personal convictions about the sanctity of life convince her otherwise. When the father of her unborn child flees the scene, Vanessa is compelled to leave college and return to her parents’ home in Sophie Trace – despite fears of disappointing them.
The drama continues as Brill, not only having to come to terms with her daughter’s surprise pregnancy announcement, also faces a very real threat on her life. A convicted wife-beater and murderer, who Brill helped put behind bars, is released and is out to take revenge on those police offers involved in his arrest. Time and resources are running out as she fights to protect herself – and her colleagues – from the man who has sworn to kill her.
A vast improvement on the first book of the series, “The Last Word” is gripping, fast-paced and emotional. While some of the characters are still a little flat, and a few phrases have been over-used, the storyline is much more dynamic. More importantly, the gospel message is explained thoroughly and repeatedly in a number of different scenarios. The author deals with the pregnancy situation very sensitively, and conveys well the issues that a backslidden Christian would struggle with in our secular culture.

Review by Sarah Broady  (26/03/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Xlibris distributed by Gardners
Published: 29 May 2009
ISBN: 978-1-434-76785-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Real Enemy

- Sophie Trace Trilogy Book 1

by Kathy Herman


The Real Enemy is the first instalment of the Sophie Trace Trilogy by CBA best-selling author, Kathy Herman. The series – which sells itself as suspense fiction – follows the personal and professional trials of Chief Brill Jessup and her family. This first book sets the scene as Brill settles into Sophie Trace’s small-town life following an abrupt decision to relocate from her home, and eighteen-year career, in Memphis. Broken and bitter after being betrayed by her husband, Brill struggles to build a happy home for her nine-year old daughter, Emily, while still living with the man who broke her heart. Not only does she have to stay strong for her impressionable child, she also has to prove herself as the town’s first female chief of police. When innocent people start disappearing and Indian spirit legends are resurrected, the pressure mounts for Brill as she furiously attempts to solve the case and protect her family.
The main issue covered in this story is that of betrayal and forgiveness. Brill – understandably - cannot come to terms with her husband’s infidelity and refuses to accept his heartfelt apologies. Her relationship with God also suffers as she delves deeper into her anger, and we eventually see her being brought to a point of real vulnerability where healing can begin. Some aspects of the storyline and dialogue are repetitive, and the characters are perhaps not as dynamic or memorable as they could be. But all in all, the crime-based plot is interesting and the overall message is one that continually needs to be heard in our broken world.

Review by Sarah Broady  (16/03/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Xlibris distributed by Gardners
Published: 01 April 2009
ISBN: 978-1-434-76786-8
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Nightmare



by Robin Parrish


Do ghosts exist? Is every incidence of ‘paranormal activity’ demonic? All Maia, daughter of two famous TV ghost-hunters, wants is a quiet, anonymous college education leading to a normal career among the living, but financial difficulties lead her to accept a job from an occult-obsessed, rich fellow student, Jordin, who wants a guided tour of America’s most haunted sites. Maia is alarmed by the unusually high level of paranormal events that ensue. And then Jordin disappears and Maia finds herself teamed up with her erstwhile employer’s hostile Christian fiancé to find out what has happened to her, and many others like her. The novel starts slowly and takes time to engage, possibly because none of the characters seem overly likeable at first, though some of them do develop. It is a fantasy novel, so don't expect a likely or realistic solution to the mystery, but it is – in the end – a gripping read. It does contain graphic and somewhat gory descriptions of supernatural phenomena, so not recommended for the nervous or the sensitive!

Review by Diane Morrison  (18/02/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-764-20607-8
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Medical Error

- Prescription for Trouble series

by Richard L. Mabry M.D.


This book came recommended on the back of the reputation of a book in the same series; The Prescription for Trouble Series, and they were not wrong. I very much enjoyed this story. It had a good balance of suspense and romance to my liking.
Although set in a medical environment it is not over jargonised nor unrealistic, although the story was more akin to a John Grisham novel and was entertaining to read. At some points in the book I actually felt Mabry had been clever in his writing which left me a’gasp until I had read on further to see that I had been diverted off the scent.
The book felt shorter than the average length book but I think that this was helped by the fact that the chapters were broken up by scene breaks which were quite handy if I was really tired or short on time and I couldn’t indulge in a full chapter.
I liked this book and would definitely read more of Mabry’s books.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (05/02/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Abingdon Press from Alban Books
Published: August 2010
ISBN: 978-1-426-71000-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Back On Murder

- Roland March Mysteries

by J. Mark Bertrand


Roland March is a Houston detective who is no longer performing at a level acceptable to him, or his Department. Once he was a top performer in the Houston Homicide Department but he is now disillusioned and is being given a number of low rank tasks taking him outside Homicide that are prodding him towards retirement.
Then a sordid drug related shooting gives him the incentive to think again about his work, life, relationships, his career and leads him towards a more fulfilled life. A missing girl, and a series of seemingly unrelated crimes culminating in more savage murders and the exposure of police corruption at a high level carry the story forward and lead to March’s reconciliation into the Homicide Department. A readable novel, with an unexpected twist in every chapter, which carries the reader along with it to its final outcome and the examination of levels of morality and humanity which confront us all.

Review by George Taylor  (27/01/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-764-20637-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99