Thursday, November 13, 2014

One Night In Tehran by Luana Ehrlich

Trained in lies, a covert agent learns the truth 

Veteran CIA officer, Titus Ray--on the run from the Iranian secret police--finds shelter with a group of Iranian Christians in Tehran. While urging Titus to become a believer in Jesus Christ, they manage to smuggle him out of Iran to freedom in Turkey.

Will it help him deal with his past?

Returning to the States, he discovers his Iranian mission failed because of political infighting within the Agency. In a hot-tempered outburst, he delivers a scathing indictment against the Deputy Director of Operations, and, as a result, the deputy forces Titus to take a year's medical leave in Oklahoma.

How will it change his future?

Before leaving Langley, Virginia, Titus learns he's been targeted by a Hezbollah assassin hired by the Iranians. Now, while trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Christ, he must decide if the Iranian couple he meets in Norman, Oklahoma has ties to the man who's trying to kill him, and if Nikki Saxon, a local detective with an intriguing past, can be trusted with his secrets.

My review:
  Most of my book review opportunities come as offers. This one didn't. I recently started getting emails from a place that lists new books of all genre's - some that I wouldn't consider even reading - and it gives the authors' information if you're interested in reviewing a book. This book was the only Christian book in the email, so I emailed the author and she agreed to send me a copy of her debut novel.

  I started to read it last night. That was a mistake, as I didn't have enough time to read the whole book, so I had to put it down until this evening, and I picked it up again and did read it through to the finish.

  This is a self-published book. And it is an excellent debut novel, especially for being a self-published book (not that self-published books are bad). It is a spy novel, with the main character being a CIA covert agent.  I loved the main character, and thought the author did a great job on creating him and spinning a suspenseful, yet believable story around him.

 There is a lot of meetings, spy talk, and the like in the book, but I didn't find those parts hard to read at all, but found the entire book an interesting and exciting read. There is a total absence of vulgar language and sex in the book, which is a big plus for me. The main character, Titus, has recently become a Christian, and the book follows his slow progress as he starts reading his Bible, attending a church, and praying. He is no super saint by the end of the book, but I loved the character and spiritual development of him throughout the book. And might I add, it was written in the first person point of view, which is not a favorite of mine, but it worked well for this book and helps the reader gain more insight into the main character.

  There is no graphic violence either in the book, and the shooting and action scenes are done well.

  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and was only disappointed at coming to the end of the book and having it end. The book does say it is a "Titus Ray Thriller", so I assume there will be more books to follow with this same hero. I hope so. Ms. Ehrlich has written a great debut novel that begs for a sequel or two, and I will be watching for any to be published.

Read an excerpt here.

About the author:

Luana picked up her first adult spy novel when she was eleven years old.  Today, she continues to have a passion for the thriller/suspense genre of fiction, along with a smattering of interest in historical fiction. In addition to being an avid reader, she is also a news fanatic, following events around the world on a daily basis, particularly the Middle East.

Luana is a minister's wife and has lived in Norman, Oklahoma for the past two decades. Previously, she resided in several states in the South and Midwest. Along with her husband, she also served as a missionary in Costa Rica and Venezuela.
Occasionally, she reports on the experiences of newly converted Christians for Baptist Press, a national news service for Baptists. At one time, she wrote a weekly column for The Indiana Baptist,  entitled "A Story To Tell," which told the stories of ordinary people who became followers of Christ. Luana is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers.
Visit Luana's Author Profile on Amazon. Visit Luana on Goodreads or Luana Ehrlich on Google +

Thanks to the author for the review copy. Vist her website here.

One Night In Tehran is available on

Interview with the author (from her website)

Q.  Why did you create this series? What was your purpose or message?
  A.  Besides the desire to entertain, I wanted to show how a conversion experience often happens to the most improbable people in the most unlikely of circumstances.  Titus is a career intelligence officer, dedicated to carrying out deceptive, treacherous, sometimes violent, operations against both individuals and governments.  He was raised in a dysfunctional family with no spiritual upbringing, yet, while hiding out from Iran's secret police, he was confronted with the truth of the gospel. 

  Q.  Explain the personal struggles Titus encounters in One Night in Tehran.

  A.  Titus faces something common to any new convert--how to grow in Christ--yet his career as a covert intelligence officer erects some unique barriers to his learning to live the Christian life.  He's been trained in deception and subterfuge, and it's second nature for him to lie.  Thus, as he seeks to be Christ's disciple, he's forced to examine whether he can continue to live the life of a covert operative and still follow the teachings of Jesus.

Q.  What do you want your readers to take away after reading One Night in Tehran

  A. First of all, I want this book to be a good read, to be enjoyable, but I also hope any reader struggling with what it means to live a life of faith will identify with Titus as he wrestles with some of the same issues all believers face.  I believe any believer will benefit from what Titus discovers about reading the Bible and the importance of prayer.  Readers will be encouraged by Titus' attempts to tell others of his conversion experience, even when those efforts are met with contempt, misunderstanding, and apathy.

Book trailer: