Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Not by Sight by Kathy Herman

Her Sister Couldn't Be Alive . Could She?

It had to be Riley Jo. She was certain. . .wasn't she? But when Abby Cummings tells her mother she thought she saw her sister at the store, her mother quickly dismisses the idea. After all, Riley Jo and their father had been missing for years. Presumably dead. Yet Abby cannot ignore her intuition. Telling her friend J. D., they investigate. But J. D. may know more about the disappearance than he's telling, or even realizes. And as they work to uncover what happened, all they have to go on is blind faith. Will it be enough. . .especially considering what the truth might be?

My review:
   I'm always excited to see a new book come out from Kathy Herman. I have several favorite authors, and she is definitely one of them, and is close to the top of that list. I am always sad to see a series end, but enjoy starting a new one. This book. Not By Sight, is the first in the Ozark Mountain Trilogy, and if this book is any indication, this may be her best series yet.

   Kathy always comes up with interesting and likable characters, and I really like the ones she has come up with for this series. She is not afraid to make her books Christian, and always deals with some truth in her books. In this one, the topic of faith is covered. Having faith in God even when things are going bad, even when the bottom has fallen out of your world and you wonder if God doesn't care. Some of her fictional characters in this book hold onto that faith, and some of them let hold of it and are mad at God. This book shows that Christian fiction can be a tool to help and encourage people. I got the message that I really needed from it, and was not just encouraged, but convicted by how easily I doubt when things go bad.

   I loved this book, and everything about it. It had a great plot with great character development, which isn't always done in fiction. The plot was great and kept me turning the pages as fast as I could read. As I often do with a really good book, I read it in one sitting. And then I re-read my favorite parts over at least 4 times. This may be her best book yet.

  Kathy writes Christian suspense, which is my favorite genre' to read, but her books are never gory, the violence never overdone, nor are they scary. If you aren't sure you'd like Christian suspense/mysteries, she would be a good author to try. And that doesn't mean her books are not suspenseful. They are. And definitely worth reading. This one would be a great place to start. And though this is adult fiction, teenagers should enjoy this series as some of the main characters are teenagers and younger.

   Something neat Kathy does that I don't know of any other author doing, though there may be some who do: When she starts a new series, she puts a group of pictures on her website that she had in mind for the setting for her books, and below are the ones for this book:

About the author: (in her words)

When I began writing novels, I had several well-meaning individuals tell me they never bother to read Christian fiction because they prefer books with a meaty spiritual message. I was amused, since some of the Christian novels I’ve read have impacted me even more than my Bible study classes. I hear this echoed from my readers.
Perhaps the reason is because stories can present the application of biblical truth through the actions of believable characters facing true-to-life, even gut-wrenching dilemmas, yet provide safe boundaries in which to consider what we would or wouldn’t do given the same situations. In a very real sense, a well-crafted story is a means to gain life experience without suffering loss.
I write books that appeal to a broad spectrum of readers of both genders, and with a message I believe is contemporary, gripping, and relevant. I’ve always enjoyed reading page-turners that challenge my thinking, and that’s what I seek to write.

It might surprise you to know that my stories rarely come to me until I actually sit down and begin typing. In fact, what intrigues me most (and sometimes plays havoc with my deadlines) is that I don’t outline the stories. I start with an idea, then turn my fingers loose and get inside the characters and let them take me where I need to go. Sometimes it’s as though my fingers have a brain.
And in case you were wondering, my plots are not consciously based on personal experiences or my characters on people I know. And yet my mind is a storehouse of experiences, relationships, information, and impressions that cannot help but shape the stories I write.
My hope is that each of my novels will not only entertain, but also inspire and challenge. That in the deepest part of our souls, we’ll embrace the depth of what it means to be believers, and then be moved to share its powerful simplicity with those who struggle without hope.
And might I add a few things: I am friends with this great lady on facebook. In addition to being a great writer, she is also quite the photographer and often posts lovely pictures she has taken. She is also a very nice and gracious lady. I am very glad I discovered her books.

Check out her website at
Not By Sight is available from David C Cook publishing.
Thanks to Kathy for the review copy.
Kathy, talking about her new book: