Category Archives: Thriller

Afloat by Erin Healy

Afloat cover artTitle: Afloat

Author: Erin Healy

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

Who will you trust when dark waters rise?

Eagle’s Talon is an architectural marvel—shining residential units afloat in a protected cove of the gorgeous Rondeau River. The project is nearly complete, partially occupied, and ready to make investors rich when a sinkhole gives way. Then torrential rains and a flood leave a ragged collection of builders, investors, and residents stranded in one floating building, cut off from the rest of the world.

They’re bitterly divided over what to do next.

Architect Vance Nolan insists they should sit tight and wait for rescue. Developer Tony Dean wants to strike out into the darkness. And single mom Danielle Clement, desperate to protect her young son, Simeon, struggles to hold their motley band together.

Power failure, a pall of unnatural daytime darkness, explosions in the distance, then a murder ratchet tensions to a boiling point. But Danielle’s young son, Simeon, has spotted something strange underwater—beautiful, shifting lights in the dark water below.

In this watery world where everyone’s secrets will eventually come to light, salvation may mean more than just getting out alive.

Another stunning exploration of the human spirit and supernatural possibilities from best-selling author Erin Healy.

Review:

Vance Nolan designed floating housing with the goal of providing affordable housing for the poor and homeless. Tony Dean finances the project and then turns the floating condos into an exclusive housing development for the wealthy. Danielle Clement is a single mom struggling to find her way after the death of her husband, and both Vance and Tony want her for their own. When disaster strikes the floating neighborhood of Eagle’s Talon, everybody who gets trapped by rising floodwater must set aside their differences if they want to survive.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading Afloat, but what I got was a complex mystery, supernatural elements, suspense, and a new way to view Psalm 119 all wrapped up in an almost apocalyptic setting. Between the eclectic cast of characters, mysterious events, and revelations about what brought several of the characters to Eagle’s Talon, the story pulled me in and made it difficult to put the book down. The plot contained so many twists and turns that I couldn’t even begin to guess what might happen next. Every time I thought things couldn’t get worse for those stranded in building 12, it did. Yet through Vance, his old friend Zeke, and Danielle’s five-year-old son Simeon, it was impossible to not hope everything would turn out all right in the end.

Ms. Healy did an amazing job of showing the battle between good and evil, as well as God’s faithfulness even in the worst situations. The contrast between selfishness and love, which creates selflessness, is artfully woven throughout the story. I particularly enjoyed the way Ms. Healy applied verses from Psalm 119 to events in the story and used them to give Vance strength when his faith struggled. If you enjoy suspense or speculative fiction, you’ll enjoy Afloat.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Speculative Fiction, Thomas Nelson, Thriller

The Scroll by Grant R. Jeffrey and Alton L. Gansky

The Scroll cover art

Title: The Scroll

Author: Grant R. Jeffrey and Alton L. Ganksy

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Book Description

One last dig.  One final descent into the twisted tunnels of ancient Jerusalem.  Will the truth be fund among the treasures that lie beneath the holy city?

Dr. David Chambers, leading archaeologist, has spent his professional career uncovering the facts in the artifacts. His work sets the standard for biblical research in the Holy Land. But surrounded by the evidence, David has sunk into an abyss of doubt. A painful experience with a seemingly unresponsive God has left him without hope.  The Old Testament scriptures that used to fill his mind with wonder now drive him to frustration. His unanswered questions have ripped him from both his academic pursuits and the love of his life, his fiancée, Amber. An old friend and mentor reaches out to David, enticing him with the riches described in the enigmatic Copper Scroll. Losing ground with his peers, his love, and his faith, David Chambers has a choice to make. Will he undertake one final dig to unlock a secret that could alter the course of history? Do the mysteries of the Old Testament hold the key to the political turmoil of the Middle East?

In a world where faith has been eclipsed by the allure of doubt, The Scroll offers a different journey: a gripping adventure to find truth worth dying for.

Review

A biblical archaeologist who lost his faith is drawn into one last expedition in Israel, but what he presumes to be a simple dig turns out to be a life-threatening, world-changing adventure.

David Chambers has decided to leave biblical archaeology behind since he has lost the faith that drove his pursuit of the discipline. A phone call from his good friend and mentor, Professor Ben-Judah, convinces him to undertake one last expedition in Israel. This expedition promises to be unlike any other, since he’ll be following the clues provided in the Copper Scroll. Although the project is cloaked in secrecy from the beginning, David can’t help but be intrigued by Ben-Judah’s insistence that they can find the treasures listed in the Copper Scroll. To David’s irritation, he learns that the two archaeologists he will be working with are his ex-fiancée Amber Rodgers and his nemesis Nuri Aumann. While the inclusion of these two people from David’s past adds plenty of tension to the story, it is never explained why David and Nuri hate each other. They just appear to be arch rivals for no specific reason. The reason David’s relationship with Amber ended is explained and remains a constant source of tension between them.

For anyone with even a passing curiosity for biblical archaeology, this book provides plenty of historical background, discussion of archaeological finds, explanations of techniques, and biblical references for several of the items listed on the Copper Scroll. While fascinating information, at times it slows down what is otherwise an exciting, suspenseful story. Despite the slow moments, however, the danger faced by the archaeological expedition, the growth of the characters, and the dry humor inserted here and there all combine to make The Scroll a great read.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Thriller, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

The Canary List cover artTitle: The Canary List

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Book Description:

Protected by the dark of night, Jaimie Piper runs. But is anywhere safe when Evil is hunting you?
 
She’s just a twelve year-old girl, bumped around between foster homes and relegated to school classes for challenged kids, those lagging in their test scores or with behavioral issues. But her real problem is that she can sense something the other kids can’t—something dark. Something compelling her to run for her life.
 
All Crockett Grey wants is to mark the anniversary of his daughter’s death alone.
 
But when his student Jaimie comes to him, terrified, her need for protection collides with his grief, and a tangled web of bizarre events sends them both spiraling toward destruction.

Crockett’s one hope of getting his life back is to uncover the mysterious secrets of Jaimie’s past and her strange gift. It isn’t long before his discoveries lead him to a darker conspiracy, secrets guarded by the highest seat of power in the world—the Vatican.

Review:

When we first meet Crockett Grey, a teacher his troubled students affectionately call “Mr. G.”, he’s determined to get as drunk as possible in an attempt to dull the pain of losing his daughter. He thinks he’s seeing her ghost at his window, but then he realizes it’s one of his students. Jaimie Piper is terrified and Mr. G. is the only person she can trust to keep her safe from Evil, which she can feel hunting her. Unfortunately, her arrival draws Crockett into a complex and frightening conspiracy that extends all the way to the Vatican. In order to protect Jaimie and regain control of his own life, Crockett must work with child psychologist Dr. Madelyne Mackenzie and a hacker named Catfish to uncover the truth.

Author Sigmund Brouwer doesn’t disappoint with this speculative fiction thriller. From the beginning, readers are drawn into a dark and scary conspiracy that takes the standard “what if” question to a whole new level. The main question explored in The Canary List appears to be “What if a Satanist holds a high position in the Catholic Church?” As expected, this leads to a plot full of twists and turns, fraught with danger, and many references to make readers wonder if demons are real.

This book is not for the faint of heart. However, if you enjoy conspiracy theories, thrillers, suspense, complex mysteries, or speculative fiction, this may be the book for you. The Canary List contains all of this, along with a very disturbing look at what could happen if certain key elements of the story were real. The story grabs readers from the first page and holds them captive until the very end. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Brouwer’s work in the future.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Speculative Fiction, Thriller, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group