If I Live by Terri Blackstock – You Won’t Want to Put It Down

I love reading Christian mysteries and suspense novels and Terri Blackstock is one of my favorite writers.  That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to read her newest book, If I Live, which is being released March 6, 2018.

This is the third book, in the If I Run series, which tells the story of Casey Cox who has been on the lamb since her friend Brent Pace was found brutally murdered.  She is the chief suspect because her DNA was found all over the crime scene.  Dylan Roberts, who was hired by Pace family to bring Casey to justice, now believes she is innocent.  So much so that he has been working with Casey to compile evidence that will break open this case wide open and allow the guilty to be exposed.

From the opening chapters of If I Live, the reader had better be strapped in because it takes off and doesn’t let up until the very end.  Each chapter in the storyline is told from a different character’s perspective.  It’s a different technique and almost makes you feel like you are in the character’s head and seeing things from their point of view.

I really liked If I Live, it’s full of suspense and intrigue.  It’s fast paced.  I appreciate how the Christian faith has been woven in to several characters.  Casey become a Christian during the course of this book and it’s interesting to see all that happens to her from the point of view of a new believer.  I especially liked how Casey recognized that though it was tempting to be angry and unforgiving towards those who had done evil, the Holy Spirit was showing her that a Christian doesn’t respond the same way as the world does.  I liked the developing relationship between Casey and Dylan.

As a Christian, I appreciate how author Terri Blackstock tells a good story without including sexually explicit scenes, filthy language and shows the Christian faith in the lives of characters.

After everything that Casey has been through, will it all be for naught?  Will she make it out of this alive?  Will she be free or spend the rest of her life in jail?  Just how much evil can one person get away with?  How widespread is this corruption and how many lives have been affected?  Who is clean, who is dirty and most importantly who can be trusted?

Well to find out the answers to those questions and more, you’ll need to read Terri Blackstock’s newest book, If I Live, which I highly recommend.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Zondervan Publishers for the opportunity to read If I Live in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

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Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon – Filled with mystery, intrigue and characters you want to get to know

Author, Irene Hannon, is relatively new to me and I really like her work.  That’s why I was excited for the opportunity to read her new book Dangerous Illusions.

This mystery is about Trish Bailey, a woman’s whose life has been filled with much tribulation over the last couple of years.  Two years ago, her life was turned upside down when she lost her husband and father and nearly lost her mother, Eileen.  Trish is a dutiful daughter and has been caring for her ailing mother in addition to working as an art teacher at an inner-city school.

Matt Parker seems like a nice guy, but Trish has no interest in romance.  And just who is this stranger that seemed to blow in out of nowhere and land on Matt’s doorstep one dark and stormy night?

After all that Trish has been through, what more could go wrong?  Well, that’s where Dangerous Illusions starts.

As I started reading this book, I was hopeful that things would turn around for Trish.  Instead, circumstances went from bad to worse.

I don’t know if it was the author’s intention in writing the book for readers to be able to relate to Trish and feel overwhelmed as the vulnerable character might have, but that’s how I was feeling as the book started.

At first it seemed so dark.  I felt very uncomfortable as Trish was the victim once again and this time at the hands of some very unsavory characters.  Detective Colin Flynn was like a breath of fresh air and I hoped he would be able to see the truth through some murky troubled waters that were overwhelming Trish.

Though the book seemed to start off dark and it felt like evil was prevailing, I pressed on because my experience with Irene Hannon’s writing is that she is a safe writer.  I appreciate how she doesn’t have her characters do stupid things to put themselves in danger.  She doesn’t have them making bad decisions that make no sense.

I liked the mystery and intrigue in Dangerous Illusions and Irene does a great job in developing characters and relationships in her book.  The characters seem real and like someone you would want to know.  I really liked the characters Colin and his long-time friends Kristin and Rick and fellow officer Mac McGregor.

I recommend Dangerous Illusions, especially if you like a good mystery. I appreciated how Irene Hannon wove the Christian faith into the storyline and characters.  I appreciate that there was no profanity or explicit sexual scenes and that the author shares and respects my Christian faith and values and doesn’t assault them.

I would like to thank Baker Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

A Deadly Business – Mixed Emotions

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I’ve watched her on Fox News and I’ve seen her mystery books in Christian bookstores, but this is the first novel I’ve read by author Lis Wiehl.

A Deadly Business in the second book in the Mia Quinn mystery series by coauthors Lis Wiehl and April Henry.  The main character Mia is mother of two children, widowed and a prosecutor in Seattle.

This is a fast-paced novel, filled with action from the get go.  Starting on page two, buckle you seat belts because you are on a roller coaster ride as Mia, her family and coworker are thrust into danger, mystery and intrigue.  Questions arise on her husband’s death seven months earlier, that may indicate murder not an accident.  In the middle of dealing with that duty calls as Mia is assigned a case prosecuting juveniles who critically injure a woman by dropping a shopping cart on her from two stories up.  Mia has to make the tough decision to prosecute these criminals as juveniles or as adults in a highly volatile and politically charged atmosphere.

Now what did I think of the book…well the book held my attention.  I found that I didn’t have a chance to get to know the main character early on because the action started so abruptly.  I connected with two of the characters, Detective Charlie Carlson and Mia’s fourteen year old son Gabe because they seemed good and real.  There were times I found myself put off by Mia’s thoughts and approach to the criminal justice system.  Rather than punishing criminals for their acts, the character approached it as a place to help rehabilitate criminals.  I wondered is that the authors view point or just what they wrote about the character?

Another question that came up, as I was reading this novel, is that I’m not sure what would qualify this book as “Christian Fiction”.  If a writer is a Christian does that mean what they write is Christian fiction?  I don’t think so.  There was precious little in the book about God, faith or prayer and nothing that would stand out to suggest it was a Christian book.  I wouldn’t have guessed this book was from a Christian writer unless I had known this was put out by a Christian based publisher.

Nevertheless, I did appreciate the fact that the book did not contain filthy language or promote sexual immorality, etc.

Would I recommend this book?  I would advise customers to read the book synopsis, reviews, and choose based on an informed decision if it sounds like something you might like.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for someone who likes to read books that include characters dealing with God, scripture, prayer and wrestling their faith.  But if you are looking for a good mystery you might like it.

I would like to thank the people at BookLook for providing me with a free copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review.