Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A Quiet Roar by Randall Arthur

Book description:

At a Baptist Church in rural Georgia, male leaders are taking turns filling the pulpit in the absence of a pastor.

Two weeks before Easter, one of the leaders—an eighty-year-old millionaire—looks out over the congregation of sixty people. “I’ve decided not to teach this morning,” he declares. “Rather I’m going to make an announcement. And it’s going to upset many of you. But at this point I honestly don’t care; I’m angry. The two previous pastors have nearly destroyed our church. So, I’ve decided to do something about it. Before I make my announcement, I should remind you that my brother, when he was still alive, and I built this church building on our property with our money. The agreement at the time was that when my brother and I are deceased, the deed to the property and all the buildings will transfer to the church. But I’m not dead. And I still hold the deed to the property. Therefore, I’ve made a unilateral decision. And there’s nothing anybody can do about it.”

Eyebrows all across the auditorium instantly lifted.

“In two weeks from now, on Easter Sunday, I’m bringing in a lady pastor. I’m going to pay her salary. I’m going to furnish her a home and a car. All I’m going to tell you at the moment is that she’s a widow, and she has served as a long-time missionary in Africa.” The old man paused and pointed an aged finger toward the foyer. “If you don’t like my decision, you know where the doors are.”

My review:

 A disclaimer before my review: I personally have never been for women pastors. It isn't something I make a big deal about, and have interacted with and respected women pastors at a Christian bookstore I worked at for 5 years, and at the hospital I work at. I have listened to female evangelists as a kid, and my church's first pastor was a woman way back in 1954, and was named for her for many years.


  I read three of Randall Arthur's previous books several years ago, and was especially impressed by Wisdom Hunter and Jordan's Crossing. Even with the somewhat controversial subject, I was eager to review this newest book when given the chance. I'll break it down what I thought of the book:

1) The writing: As Arthur has proven in his other books, he is a great writer. The book was an interesting and suspenseful read - not in the mystery suspense kind of suspense, and was a page turner in its own way. I didn't want to put it down, and wanted to see what happened next.

2) The characters: I loved the characters in the book, good and bad. The preacher lady was an awesome character you had to like, and even the ones who fought her were great characters, even if you didn't like them.

3) Content: This book had a lot of Christian content, Scripture, sermon content. I thought that through the fictional female pastor, the author presented some great arguments for female pastors.

What I didn't like:
1) I caught one use of the "d"word, and I am one who have always disliked curse words in a Christian book. It IS the only one I caught.

2) The ending. I won't give any spoilers, but I love happy endings. I thought the book was heading one way with a happy ending for two people......but.....

   I did enjoy the book, and it was a fascinating read. Though it is fictional, the book shows how easily Christians can get radical and show bad attitudes and actions over a verse that may not necessarily mean what we hold it so rigidly to mean. Also through fiction, the author addressed racism in the church, and brought out ways to befriend people and possibly get them to our church by just being friends and not putting on pressure.


I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Randall and his wife have been career missionaries since 1975. They have planted churches in Oslo, Norway; Munich, Germany; and Berlin, Germany. In addition, Randall has coordinated and led over 100 short-term mission trips.

Randall is an Atlanta native. He became a believer at the age of 12, and surrendered his life to be a preacher and missionary at the age of 15.

Randall’s first novel, Wisdom Hunter, was penned in the late 1980’s. The volume was born, not out of a long held ambition to write a novel, but rather out of a therapeutic need to put into writing the painful lessons he learned as a young legalistic missionary in Norway.

The purpose of the book was to illustrate in a real-life drama the destructiveness of legalism in the body of Christ. The novel proved to be too controversial for Randall’s legalistic camp. The president of the mission agency with which Randall served demanded Randall’s resignation the very day he read the book.

Randall later wrote Jordan’s Crossing, Brotherhood of Betrayal, and Forgotten Road. These books were also born out of personal struggles and/or partial real-life experiences.

Randall’s goal as a writer is to rip the mask of pretense from American Christianity and present stories that portray true-to-life struggles, true-to-life thoughts, true-to-life reactions, and true-to-life journeys.

A Quiet Roar is his latest, and perhaps most controversial, offering.

Check out his website at RandallArthur.com, where all of his books can be purhcased.

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

Book description:

The case was tragic. But it was an accident. Right?

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 is alive. 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.

My review:

  This was a new author to me. He has published a few other books, but not on the Christian market. I have been eager to read his first book on the Christian market, and was not disappointed.

   A lot of the suspense novels I read are non-stop action and suspense. Bad guy trying to kill or kidnap someone while the good guys are on the chase. This book was a much slower pace with a lot of investigating and interviewing going on for much of the book. That isn't to say the book was boring. Slow does not equal boring, as this author proved.

 The plot for the book is genius. I assumed that the boy in question had not died in the crash that killed so many, but how? And why? The answers to those questions were a long and complicated plot that had be amazed and on the edge of my seat by the time it was all over. I was disappointed in one thing at the end, and asked why the author had to do THAT?!....but it was a great read that I enjoyed very much, and am now wanting to read his other books.

 Collision of lies had a lot of different characters, likable, and not so much. Were I a male author, I would have had a male character as the main character, but Threadbill had a female. She did end up being a great character with a great supporting "cast." Though books like these typically have a romance between the two main characters, there really wasn't one in this book. Nor was there really a main male character. The book did sort of lean that way towards the end with a possibility of a romance.....maybe that will happen in the next book.

 Also, there was nothing really Christian about the book, though it was clean and curse free, and had a Christian world view. That didn't bother me, just making note of it. This is a book I would recommend, and an author I am interested in reading more of.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Tom Threadgill is a full-time author and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). He is currently on the suspense/thriller publishing board for LPC Books, a division of Iron Stream Media. He lives with his wife in rural Tennessee.

  Collision of Lies is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

End Game, Capital Intrigue #1 by Rachel Dylan

Book description:

Each New Clue . . .
Every Crime Scene . . .
Brings Them Closer to Discovering the End Game

When elite members of the military are murdered on the streets of Washington, DC, FBI Special Agent Bailey Ryan and NCIS Special Agent Marco Agostini must work together to bring the perpetrator to justice. Unfortunately, all evidence points to a Navy SEAL sniper who Bailey refuses to believe is guilty.

When Bailey and Marco start to connect the dots between the victims, they wonder if there's a deeper cover-up at play. After Bailey is targeted, it becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep their dark secrets.

With the stakes getting higher by the moment, Bailey and Marco rush against the clock to determine whom they can really trust in this twisted conspiracy. As allies turn to enemies, the biggest secret yet to be uncovered could be the end of them all.

My review:

  I really enjoyed The Atlanta Justice Series by Rachel Dylan, so I was looking forward to this new series by her. The other series centered on lawyers and the justice side of things, but this series is going to revolve around law enforcement.

  End Game was a great suspenseful read that had everything I liked in a suspense novel. This book had something not featured in many books I read: NCIS agents, or Naval Criminal Investigative Service, if you are not familiar with the initials. This law enforcement agency doesn't make many appearances in Christian suspense novels, so I thought it was pretty cool that the author teamed them up with the FBI to work the case.

 Characters are important, and both main characters, Marco and Bailey, were great characters easy to cheer on and like.

  The plot was a really great and complicated one, yet easy to follow. I like a suspense novel where it isn't easy to figure out what is going on right away, and the author did a great job of spinning a plot that had me clueless to who killed the victims and why. I found it fascinating to learn more about government contractors and the workings of law enforcement.

 As with all of these books, there is a romantic angle, but it took a back seat to the suspense, drama, and action. Faith also played a part, something I always appreciate authors including.

 This was what I label "read in one sitting book". I started it at work on my lunch break, read more on my second break, and then finished it at home. It is not a book one would find easy to let lie around for a week, reading once in a while. It demands your attention and you won't want to put it down. Awesome start to this new series.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:


Rachel Dylan (www.racheldylan.com) was a litigator in one of Atlanta's most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of The Atlanta Justice Series and four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband.

End Game is available from Bethany House, a part of the Baker Publishing Group.