Tag Archives: mystery

The Silver Shadow Epic Book Launch

About the Book

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Book: The Silver Shadow

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release date: May 2021

A Shadowy Figure Is Intent on Harming Denver’s Women

Book 11 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

Book Excerpt

Edwin adjusted his wire-rimmed glasses and glanced over his scribbled reports. He’d taken them in such haste, he had a difficult time reading them. “They were both struck over the head. And”—he scanned the page—“this is strange. Neither of them was robbed or

violated.”

“That’s very different.” O’Fallon snatched the notebook from Edwin. “What do you make of it?”

“Not much. A pretty typical day in Denver. I just hope both women are going to be okay.” Edwin gestured for the paper, and Ralph returned it. “I’ll go interview Mrs. Lillian Bell first. What is this world coming to when someone attacks a widow? Hopefully I’ll get the chance to speak to the other one at some point.”

“Looks like a late night.”

Edwin excavated his coffee cup from where it was buried under an avalanche of papers and took a swig of the almost-cold brew. Yes, it was going to be a long night.

As he settled into his chair to review his notes before questioning the victim, he caught a uniformed officer leading a slender, doe-eyed woman through the station. Her dark blue skirt swished across the floor as she followed him. Was this one of the victims? If so, she didn’t

bear any signs of being mugged. No cuts, no bruises. In fact, her skin was flawless.

As she approached, she straightened the fedora on her head, the paper tucked in the band labeling her as a member of the press. Fabulous.

Just what he needed.

When the officer stopped at Edwin’s desk, he scraped his chair back and stood. “What can I help you with?”

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Framed in Death Valley Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Framed in Death Valley

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational Suspense

Release date: March 1, 2021

Framed for a murder he didn’t commit, firefighter Beckett Duke gave up on everything—including his marriage to spirited Laney Holland. That is, until Laney’s life is threatened. Knowing the real killer is still at large, Beckett now has one purpose: protecting the woman he loves…and their unborn child. But sometimes an innocent man’s second chance comes with a deadly price.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle.

More from Dana

What’s up in Death Valley?

As the desert vistas opened up in front of Papa Bear and me, I felt an amazing sense of peace. Mind you, we were visiting Death Valley in the fall. No braving the 130 plus summer temperatures for this couple! I simply cannot describe to you the wonder I felt, as a suburbanite from a bustling, noisy Northern California city. There is never a moment at home when I see only open horizon, when I hear nothing but quiet breezes. I was, quite simply, stunned.

I had done some research about places to visit as potential series settings, and Death Valley was at the top of the list. The websites did not disappoint. Artist’s Palette, the gorgeous peak painted in a rainbow of rock colors? Check! Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, glistening with salt and not so lifeless as one might think…check! How about my favorite moment…jouncing along the precarious trail through Titus Canyon? Check! Would all of these incomparable locations be suitable for a six book suspense series? Roger that!

It’s ironic that I felt so welcomed by such an inhospitable locale. Visiting is one thing, but it takes a certain rugged breed of individuals to live in such a hostile climate. What fodder for fiction! I simply could not wait to get home and start creating the Duke family. And you know what? When this pandemic is over, Death Valley is the first place I want to return…in the fall, of course! Do you have a place near and dear to your heart? What’s first on your travel list after the world opens up again?

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

Blog Stops

Hebrews 12 Endurance, March 16

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 16

Among the Reads, March 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 17 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, March 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 18

Genesis 5020, March 18

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 19

Betti Mace, March 19

Lighthouse Academy, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bizwings Blog, March 20

Texas Book-aholic, March 21

Reviewingbooksplusmore, March 21

Inklings and notions, March 22

Remembrancy, March 22

Simple Harvest Reads, March 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

For Him and My Family, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 23

Older & Smarter?, March 24

Fiction Book Lover, March 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

KarenSueHadley, March 24

She Lives To Read, March 25

deb’s Book Review, March 25

Through the Fire Blogs, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 27

Labor Not in Vain, March 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 28

Pause for Tales, March 28

Blossoms and Blessings, March 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 29

Daysong Reflections, March 29

Hallie Reads, March 29

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card, a set of six mini cactus candles, and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1093d/framed-in-death-valley-celebration-tour-giveaway

Texas Target Standoff Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Texas Target Standoff

Author: Virginia Vaughan

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release date: March 1, 2021

A sniper lurks closer…

and only a navy SEAL can save her.

When psychologist Shelby Warren suddenly becomes a sniper’s target, navy SEAL Paul Avery springs into action to protect her. He needs her evaluation to get back to his team…and rescuing her might finally give him the redemption he’s been searching for. But when danger follows them to his family’s Texas ranch, keeping Shelby safe could be his most difficult assignment yet.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Bestselling author Virginia Vaughan writes inspirational romantic suspense. Blessed to come from a large, southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love or writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger.

More from Virginia

As writers, we discover many new and interesting things while researching a story. For TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF, I decided I wanted the hero to have a dog so I started looking at different photographs of dogs online until I found the one image I wanted to use—a sweet little border collie I named Bullet. He helps my navy SEAL hero find comfort and friendship while he’s recovering from injuries at his family’s ranch. But looking at dog photos on the internet did more than help my character grow, it also inspired me to adopt a dog of my own.

My home had been pet-free for many years since my beloved dog Miss Duchess died from cancer five years ago and, although the ten-year-old nephew I’m raising had been asking for a dog for about a year, I hadn’t reached the point of pulling the trigger and bringing another one home. Only the research I did for this book reopened that desire inside of me for canine companionship. In September of 2020, my son and I searched the shelters in search of a family dog and, when I spotted this adorable border collie mix, I knew we had to bring her home. We named her Ivy and, since joining our family, this sweet girl has brought us lots of love and laughter, plus a new adventure—dog training. I’ve never trained a dog in my life and little Ivy is a stubborn one. I’ve scoured YouTube for videos, taken classes, and worked daily on the simplest of commands like sit, wait, lie down. Slowly, we are making progress although barking, jumping, and walking on a leash are still some areas where we’re struggling.

I’d love to hear about your pets or your best training tips! To learn more about my family, including my training journey with Ivy, follow me on Facebook or subscribe to my newsletter at the links below. And look out for the next book—little sister Kellyanne’s story—in my Cowboy Lawmen series coming June 29, 2021.

Blessings!

Virginia

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 12

For the Love of Literature, March 12

Through the Fire Blogs, March 12

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 13

Bizwings Blog, March 13

Texas Book-aholic, March 14

Bigreadersite, March 14

Fiction Book Lover, March 14 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 15

Genesis 5020, March 15

Hebrews 12 Endurance, March 16

For Him and My Family, March 16

Artistic Nobody, March 16 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, March 17

Reviewingbooksplusmore, March 17

Older & Smarter?, March 18

deb’s Book Review, March 18

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 19

Blogging With Carol, March 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 20

Betti Mace, March 20

Mary Hake, March 20

Lighthouse Academy, March 21

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 22

Blossoms and Blessings, March 22

Labor Not in Vain, March 22

KarenSueHadley, March 23

She Lives To Read, March 23

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 24

Pause for Tales, March 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 25 (Author Interview)

HookMeInABook, March 25

Simple Harvest Reads, March 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Virginia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Texas Target Standoff!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1095e/texas-target-standoff-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Lady in Residence Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Lady in Residence

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: February 2021

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a four-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series, once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties and most recently for the critically acclaimed The Seamstress which takes a cameo character from the Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities and flourishes her to life amidst the French Revolution. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

More from Allison

From Haunting to Healing: How Stories Bring New Life to Old Ghosts

If you really think about it, every story is a ghost story. Not the floating spirits of the dearly departed kind, not bumps in the night or mysterious howling in the darkness—but the best stories come from examining a haunted heart. Memories that pursue the present.

A few years ago I took the walking tour of haunted San Antonio. It was a lark, a fun tourist-y thing to do with some visiting friends. I’m not a believer in ghosts, but I am a collector of stories. The tour opens at the Alamo—sacred ground of slain soldiers. The second stop is the Menger Hotel, listed as one of the most haunted hotels in the United States by those who measure and evaluate such things. And while the tour guide waxed on about the guests’ litany of haunted experiences (including Teddy Roosevelt raging through the lobby), my mind stuck with the story of Sallie White. Sallie White is the Menger Hotel’s most famous ghost—a chambermaid whose apparition is reported to be seen walking the halls, towels draped over her arm, or to be heard as an efficient two-rap knock on your door late at night. My mind, however, didn’t dwell on Sallie the ghost, but Sallie the woman—just a normal, hard-working, poor woman, murdered in the street by a man who claimed to love her. But for that, she would have passed into history unknown. Instead, her story is told every night as strangers gather on the very sidewalk where the crime took place.

Years after first hearing the story of Sallie white, I stayed in the Menger for a few days to gather details for The Lady in Residence. I booked what they call a “Petite” room—meaning it is a room that maintains its original structure. Read: tiny. Exposed pipes, creaky wooden floors, antique furniture—the only update, the bathroom fixtures. As it turned out, my room was directly above the place where Sallie White was murdered. One night I pressed my ear against the glass and listened to the ghost tour guide tell her story. The next morning, I stood in the exact spot with a fancy Starbucks drink, thinking about her. She lives on, not because people claim to see her walking and hear her knocking in the dead of night, but because she is a woman remembered.

So, is that beautiful? Is it ghoulish? Maybe it’s both, but when I was given the chance to write a story set in and around the Menger Hotel, I was determined to make Sallie White’s story a part of it. I didn’t want to write her story—that would have required embellishment beyond those few historic, factual tid-bits that such a woman left behind. Sallie White didn’t have correspondence to catalog or a journal to give us insight to her thoughts. Instead, I wanted to tell it to readers everywhere who might never make it to San Antonio to hear it for themselves. When you read The Lady in Residence, you are going to hear the true story of Sallie White, all of it taken from a newspaper account of the time. And then, I did what all historical writers do…I folded it into my own tale and folded that tale into another.

That’s really the joy of writing a split-time novel—being able to draw back and shoot a narrative-arrow straight through the hearts of two stories, threading them together, to bring a haunting to a place of healing.

My Review

The spirit of Sallie White had stolen the spirit of Hedda Krause, and I was determined to reclaim it.

After turning the last page of Allison Pittman’s The Lady in Residence, my first thought is that this is a very cinematic novel that plays out on the pages as would a film on the screen. It is at once simple and multifaceted. A split-time story, interplay between the two time periods forms a mirror of sorts that becomes apparent as the tale progresses. The book opens in 2017 with magician Dini Blackstone, a young, somewhat reclusive performer from San Antonio who has had a lifelong obsession with Hedda Krause. Hedda’s account forms the other half of the storyline, focusing on her life at the Menger Hotel beginning in 1915 and related through excerpts from her autobiography entitled My Spectral Accuser: The Haunted Life of Hedda Krause, Published by the Author Herself.

When the two stories converge across the century that separates them, the power of the past to inform and guide the present becomes apparent, as does the bittersweet influence of love. First-person narration in Hedda’s account reinforces this truth, which forms the basis for all that will unfold. With five words, Hedda’s brokenness and sanity teeter on the edge: “Something for you, Hedda Krause.” In the present, Dini meets Quin Carmichael, whose own connection to the Hedda Krause case shares uncanny features with her own. With Quin, too, comes the only explicitly Christian content in the novel, marked by his brief but sincere comments about God and His working in the world.

The Lady in Residence offers a unique addition to the dual-timeline category and to Barbour Publishing’s new “Doors to the Past” series. I would have liked to have seen more Christian thematic elements, but I still enjoyed this story very much, and I do find the author’s note to be informative with regard to this and other topics in the story. I appreciate Pittman’s definition of a haunting as a memory of something that stays with you, expanding it beyond and even eclipsing the paranormal aspect. Also, for as much as I usually do not like magic being used, I do respect that it was defined as illusion, which forms one of the main themes of the story. Despite my reservations, I do recommend The Lady in Residence for readers of romantic split-time novels with a Gothic, somewhat supernatural feel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 23

Artistic Nobody, February 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Fiction Aficionado, February 24

For the Love of Literature, February 24

Where Faith and Books Meet, February 24

Texas Book-aholic, February 25

Mia Reads Blog, February 25

Connie’s History Classroom, February 26

Inspiration Clothesline, February 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 27

Books I’ve Read, February 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 28

Remembrancy, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

For Him and My Family, March 2

Hallie Reads, March 2

deb’s Book Review, March 3

Blogging With Carol, March 3

By The Book, March 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 5

The Write Escape, March 5

Life of Literature, March 6

Inklings and notions, March 6

Godly Book Reviews, March 7

Vicky Sluiter, March 7

To Everything There is A Season, March 8

Pause for Tales, March 8

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Lady in Residence!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1086e/the-lady-in-residence-celebration-tour-giveaway

Cold Case Pursuit Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Cold Case Pursuit

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Romantic Suspense

A cold case solved by the K-9 unit…

but the past is not so easily escaped.

Decades after her parents’ murders, Penelope McGregor’s grateful the killer’s finally been identified—until he comes after her. Now Detective Tyler Walker and his K-9 partner, Dusty, must protect Penelope and catch the culprit…while making sure his little girl stays out of the crosshairs. But can the single father outplay a killer whose endgame will leave no one safe?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Poisoned Pen Press, and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself puttering around her Northern California backyard. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I love book covers with adorable children on them, don’t you? There’s something so angelic about those wee folks on the covers. I have two bear cubs myself, young adults now, and I love them devotedly. Tell you what though. Sometimes, just occasionally mind you, they were a wee bit naughty. Don’t tell anyone, but one reason I enjoyed writing Cold Case Pursuit so much is that hero Tyler is the single dad of a little girl named Rain who is….er…a handful. Sure, she’s adorable, but she’s prone to disobedience and the occasional tendency to flush things down the toilet. So in addition to the edge of your seat pursuit of a murderous clown killer, there are the shenanigans of a precocious preschooler, a highly trained yet distractible police K-9, and a romance that doesn’t exactly run smoothly. Fun to write? You betcha! I hope you enjoy coming along with me on this True Blue adventure!

My Review

It doesn’t take much to convince me to read Christian suspense, but throw in a dog and I can’t turn away! I have a great love for and respect of working dogs of all kinds. That is, admittedly, what first attracted me to this book, followed quickly by the author’s name and the fact that I have yet to read a Love Inspired Suspense novel that I did not enjoy. I was apprehensive about one thing, however, and discussing it will be a bit of a spoiler, but hopefully not one that will cause any upset. Any time I read a book that features a dog, I worry that something will happen to cause or lead to its demise, and I absolutely cannot handle it when a dog dies. Therefore I make it a point to note whether the dog emerges unscathed, because it is the first thing I want to know, and in this case I am happy to report that all is well on that front.

Identifying a murderer dredges up a two-decades-old homicide case that seems to be taking on new life as author Dana Mentink gives readers insight into the K-9 police unit with Cold Case Pursuit. Through Penny McGregor, who witnessed her parents’ murders at age 4 and whose brother Bradley is part of the K-9 unit, and Detective Tyler Walker and his K-9 partner Dusty, Mentink explores the effects of past trauma and how they impact the present and even the future. Penny has overcome the challenges of her childhood, but she still harbors fears of inadequacy, and when she once again becomes a target for the killer from twenty years ago, her world is shaken. Likewise, Tyler tries to be the best single dad he can be to his vivacious toddler, Rain, but he struggles with opening his heart after former rejection. And yet in spite of their fears and brokenness, God shows each of them their unique ability to meet someone’s needs because of their past experiences. As Tyler tells Penny, “You are lovable and loved because God says so. I tell Rain that every day and I think maybe you need to hear it, too.” Indeed, your past doesn’t define you, nor does what someone else says about you; what God says about you is what defines you, and in His Word He says that you are chosen, beloved, and free from condemnation through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 19

KarenSueHadley, January 19

Bigreadersite, January 19

Through the Fire Blogs, January 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 20

Remembrancy, January 21

Genesis 5020, January 21

By The Book, January 21

For the Love of Literature, January 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

CarpeDiem, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 23

Inklings and notions, January 24

Fiction Book Lover, January 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Batya’s Bits, January 24

Betti Mace, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 25

Labor Not in Vain, January 25

Hebrews 12 Endurance, January 26

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 27

Lighthouse-Academy, January 27

Older & Smarter?, January 27

Artistic Nobody, January 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Splashes of Joy, January 28

Mary Hake, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 29

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, January 29

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Hallie Reads, January 30

To Everything There Is A Season, January 30

She Lives To Read, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Daysong Reflections, February 1

Bizwings Blog, February 1

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a Mentink giveaway bundle, including a $50 Amazon gift card and a tote bag!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/105ab/cold-case-pursuit-celebration-tour-giveaway

Justified Means Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Justified Means

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release date: January 7, 2013

How could she not be terrified?

When Erika Polowski is abducted from her bed and held captive without explanation, she has one goal. Get away before they kill her.

Keith Auger’s job as an agent is to keep Erika safe—even if it means keeping her locked in an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. At gunpoint.

What should be a routine “involuntary extraction” goes south when someone finds out where they’re hiding. Add to that a coworker with a chip on her shoulder and too many unexplained “accidents,” and it all adds up to one unlikely, terrifying explanation.

There’s a mole in The Agency.

He’s promised to protect her, but can Erika trust a man whose job it is to hold people against their wills? Does his deep faith make it any better or just a whole lot creepier.

And just who wants Erika dead anyway?

The Agency Files: They’ll do whatever it takes to keep their clients safe. Period.

Grab this first book in the series today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Isn’t That Idea a Bit Crazy and Farfetched?

Black ops teams. They’re the stuff of TV shows and movies. I have no doubt such things exist—military groups that have to exist and work outside the normal scheme of things to give those who answer to the public plausible deniability or some such thing.

Then one of those “what if?” questions hit me. They’re an occupational hazard, those “what if?” questions. They appear out of nowhere and start crazy thoughts in your head. Ones like, “What if a private company existed to do things that couldn’t be tied to the government in any way—no money exchanged?”

What if sometimes a protection company had to work outside the law in order to do the job they needed to do? What if that meant they might just have to abduct someone to save his or her life?

Those of course led to the granddaddy of all questions. What if that someone didn’t appreciate being saved?

The Agency was born and with it their motto: Whatever it takes.

That’s what they’ll do to keep their clients safe. Only the wealthy can afford their services. Some of the poorest of the poor receive them. But it always boils down to one primary goal. Protect their clients at all costs.

Even if the client doesn’t want protection.

Is the idea a bit crazy and far-fetched? Yeah… probably. But I wouldn’t be surprised to discover there are similar agencies out there, and if there are, I hope they save lives with the sort of compassion my guys have.

My Review

You’re here. You’re here for your own good. I’m here to protect you. That’s all you need to know.

Suspense has always been one of the genres that I most enjoy reading, fueled by the first Nancy Drew mystery I picked up in elementary school. After years as an avid reader, it is very difficult for me to find a mystery or thriller that is genuinely different and that I don’t figure out within the first few chapters at most. Not that this inhibits me from reading them, but it does detract a bit from the entertainment factor. However, once in a while I hit literary gold and find a book that offers a new perspective and an intriguing challenge. As such, Justified Means by Chautona Havig is one of the most unusual suspense novels that I’ve ever read—and I love it!

From the eye-opening first chapter, this book is one that keeps readers guessing and also intrigued by the novelty of the plot. I can easily envision it as a movie, and it would qualify as action and adventure, drama, mystery, and a whisper of romance in addition to suspense. The story itself is divided into two clear sections in my mind, and this marks the book’s halfway point. Had I not known better, I would have assumed that the narrative was drawing to a close, and I did want it to be over so that a happily-ever-after could happen, but the second half brought more twists. I will say, however, that this story does end, which is always an important factor for me, regardless of genre. In fact, the denouement occurs fairly quickly, but not to such an extent that it seems trivialized.

Havig touches on several current trending topics throughout the pages of Justified Means, some in an unconventional way. The plot itself is a kidnapping story, but one that is quickly turned on its head. The idea of a vigilante protection agency is not new, but this approach demonstrates one way in which such an organization might exist and operate. The fact that this is a Christian fiction book makes it all the better because it raises the bar for success higher, and Havig executes this element of the novel thoughtfully and gently, with an empathetic eye toward those who have not been raised in the faith or who are coming to it later in life. Keith is a good role model, but thankfully not to the extent of being impossibly perfect and flawless. I love the author’s description of him: “Rejection of Jesus wounded him, but derision of his faith hardly registered. Christianity wasn’t about him.” As with any good novel, he learns about himself throughout the course of the story, just as Erika’s attitude shifts. She even reminds him, in a dire moment and with a quotation that provides an accurate summation of the Christian faith, that “You have someone, Keith. You’ve got your god. You have to believe he’s watching out for you, or why would you even believe in him? If you need someone to back you up, look there.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

For the Love of Literature, January 5

Inklings and notions, January 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 6

Texas Book-aholic, January 7

Artistic Nobody, January 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Amanda Tero, Blog, January 8

deb’s Book Review, January 9

For Him and My Family, January 9

Through the Fire Blogs, January 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 12

Lots of Helpers, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 14

Spoken from the Heart, January 15

Blogging With Carol, January 15

Pause for Tales, January 16

Adventures Of a Travelers Wife, January 17

A Novel Pursuit, January 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 18 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10708/justified-means-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mayday: A Book Review of Lisa Harris’s “The Escape”

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Lisa Harris is an author whose name I’m familiar with, but whose work I had not yet read until now. This seemed like an opportune time, with the release of her new US Marshals series, and as far as I’m concerned, there is never a bad time to read a romantic suspense novel. Although it took me a week to read because of the holidays, The Escape is a very fast-paced novel, with no breaks in the action from start to finish. Several times I thought that the plot was about to be resolved, only to have another twist thrown in, and while this technique might become wearying in certain cases, Harris capably pulls it off without resorting to implausible scenarios. This story definitely engenders respect for the US Marshals Service and the extent of the work that they perform!

As one would expect, this story revolves around two US Marshals, Jonas Quinn and Madison James, and their pursuit of a fugitive who goes on the lam after their prisoner-transport plane crashes in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Damon Barrick, a felon convicted of murder, wastes no time in making his getaway and initiating a treacherous cat-and-mouse game across the West, somehow managing to stay one step ahead of the law. Although this story is fictional, it does make me wonder how often circumstances like these do play out behind the scenes, while we as ordinary citizens remain unaware or only see the end result, such as the trial or conviction. Jonas’s thoughts early on in the narrative indicate this: “Truth was, there was never anything routine when dealing with felons. He of all people knew that.” Consequently, as with other law enforcement and also military careers, trauma is part and parcel of the job. Jonas and Madison have different trauma backgrounds, and I think that this is part of what makes them a good team. The question is whether their shared experience during this case will be beneficial or detrimental to them as partners moving forward, which is something that readers must wait to find out because The Escape ends with a lead-in to the second book in the series.

Ordinarily, I am not a fan of open-ended conclusions, but I am willing to accept it with The Escape because the main plot is resolved (as far as I know!) and due to references within the narrative, this lingering part of the storyline will be ongoing and will eventually also be resolved. This does mean, however, that this series is clearly intended to be read chronologically and not as standalones. With a constant surge of adrenaline fueling the storyline, this is a very cinematic book, and honestly my only complaint is that I personally felt that the plot resolution scene itself was rather brief and anticlimactic. I do, however, wholeheartedly recommend The Escape to readers who enjoy thriller-dominant romantic suspense that will keep you engrossed from the first page to the last and have you clamoring for the sequel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

The Gold Digger Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Gold Digger

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian/Historical/Suspense

Release Date: December, 2020

Men Are Disappearing in LaPorte, Indiana

Book 9 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

In 1907, shy but loyal Ingrid Storset travels from Norway to support her grieving sister, Belle Gunness, who owns a farm in LaPorte, Indiana. Well-to-do widow Belle, who has lost two husbands and several children, provides Ingrid with enough money to start a small business. But Ingrid is confused by the string of men Belle claims to be interviewing for her next husband. When Nils Lindherud comes to town looking for his missing brother, who said he was going to marry Belle, Ingrid has a sinking feeling her sister is up to no good.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

More from Liz

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This story was so much fun to write, and the research was so interesting. It has to rank up there with one of my favorite books to write. That’s what makes my job the best around.

There are a great number of characters in The Gold Digger who are historical. Many of the places I mention are also historical. I had the pleasure of spending a day in LaPorte, Indiana, to research the book and take some pictures they had in the museum there. Research is one of my favorite aspects to writing. I could have spent much, much longer losing myself in the museum and in the archives. Good thing my cousin, who I was staying with, called me to let me know that it was getting dark and she had dinner ready, otherwise who knows how long I would have been there. Probably until they kicked me out!

One thing that the people of LaPorte would want you to know is that they really are nice people and that their town is a nice town. Lots of good people have been born there or have lived there over the years, including Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, William Mayo, who founded Mayo Clinic, and William Scholl, who found Dr. Scholl’s. They kept emphasizing to me while I was there what a great place LaPorte is. Judging by their friendliness and helpfulness, I would have to agree.

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To help you better visualize the characters and setting, here are some photographs of the real people and places that appear in The Gold Digger.

Enjoy the book!

Liz

My Review

They were taking a risk. They both wanted answers, but different ones. No matter what happened, one of them would be disappointed. More than that. Likely devastated.

An interest in forensics has led me to a variety of TV programs and books over the years, because while the crimes themselves were heinous and reprehensible, solving them intrigued me. Considering the lack of both sophisticated equipment and knowledge about DNA until recent years, it seems quite impressive that earlier investigators were able to solve as many cases as they did. The drawback of reading material of this nature is its darkness, which can be nightmare-inducing at times, and this is why I love Barbour’s True Colors (Historical Stories of American Crime) series so much. Able to be read in any order and written by a variety of authors, each story focuses on a major criminal event that occurred in America sometime between the late eighteenth through the early twentieth century. Best of all, these books are not only clean, leaving out the graphic details, but also inspirational, with a faith message in each.

Each True Colors book proves to be fascinating, and The Gold Digger by Liz Tolsma is no exception. Even though I was already familiar with the story of Belle Gunness, I was a bit hazy on some aspects of the case, so I still very much enjoyed reading this story. With a story such as this, it is easy to recognize the draw of sinful activities that may and perhaps even do start as one-time events that escalate. The enemy knows that it is more difficult to grow and to mature in our faith walk when we’re isolated, and most of the attacks that happen in this story are perpetrated at night when the victim is alone. Nevertheless, this is when prayers need to become all the louder and more confident, knowing that the God who promises never to leave or forsake us is the same God who created us and who has numbered every hair on our heads.

Echoing the sentiment of Jesus’ parable of the rich fool as found in Luke 12, The Gold Digger exposes the raw and evil root of greed and how it negatively affects relationships. To people living in the early twentieth century, without the means of immediate communication with others regarding business and especially personal matters, family was essential. So, it seems, was keeping secrets. Ingrid Storset, Belle Gunness’ fictional sister, ruminates on the thought that “When you didn’t have family, you didn’t have anything.” As an immigrant to America, her only relative and friend is her sister, Belle; Ingrid has great difficulty in speaking with others and lives under Belle’s shadow. When the threats begin, however, Ingrid starts to wonder whom she should trust, especially as “a stranger in a strange land.” This is the current status of all of us who belong to the Lord as we await His return.

Tolsma employs chilling, clever foreshadowing throughout the narrative. It often has a double meaning, and for those who do not know the story beforehand, it is definitely worth a re-read so as to pick up on all of the delightful literary clues scattered throughout the work, pointing toward what will happen.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, December 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 17

Genesis 5020, December 17

Pause for Tales, December 17

Artistic Nobody, December 18 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sodbuster Living, December 18

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 18

Older & Smarter?, December 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 19

Blossoms and Blessings, December 19

The Write Escape, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

deb’s Book Review, December 20

Blogging With Carol, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

lakesidelivingsite, December 21

Betti Mace, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 22

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 23

CarpeDiem, December 23

Hallie Reads, December 23

Remembrancy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 24

Writing from the Heart Land, December 25

Splashes of Joy, December 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Through the Fire Blogs, December 26

Rebecca Tews, December 26

For Him and My Family, December 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 27

Bigreadersite, December 27

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 27

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

Texas Book-aholic, December 29

Godly Book Reviews, December 29

Daysong Reflections, December 29

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 30

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 30

Daysong Reflections, December 30

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of The Gold Digger!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/104fc/the-gold-digger-celebration-tour-giveaway

Rocky Mountain Revenge Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Rocky Mountain Revenge

Author: Rhonda Starnes

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release Date: July, 2020

To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past…

Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Rhonda Starnes is a middle school language arts teacher who has dreamed of being a published author since she was in seventh grade. She lives in North Alabama with her husband, who she lovingly refers to as Mountain Man. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Rhonda writes romantic suspense with rugged heroes and feisty heroines.

More from Rhonda

Probably the number one question any author receives is “How did you come up with the idea for the story?”

When the Love Inspired editors announced, in February 2019, they were hosting The Great Love Inspired Author Search, I knew I had to enter. After all I’d spent the last six years targeting the Harlequin Love Inspired lines. This would be my fourth time entering one of their pitch contests, my third pitching to Love Inspired Suspense. The only problem was I didn’t have anything new to enter. They’d already seen all of my manuscripts.

I follow the Love Inspired editors on social media, so I had read several posts on themes and settings they’d like to see. One editor had even mentioned Colorado as a setting she’d like to see in a book. This started my wheels turning because my husband and I lived in Colorado for a few months when we were first married. We loved our time there and have often talked about going back one day. I started researching parts of the state that we didn’t get to visit when we lived there, and then I created the fictional small town of Blackberry Falls.

I’d had an idea in the back of my head for while about a story that involved a heroine who wasn’t in law enforcement but who witnessed a crime while on video chat. That’s how I came up with Grace Porter, a veterinarian who had run away from her small-town roots. And what’s a homecoming story without a reunion romance? Enter, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, the man Grace had left behind. Once I had the opening scene, main character, and setting in place, everything else just kind of evolved from there.

My Review

Considering that I read this at Christmastime, the first thing that comes to mind is the song “My Favorite Things.” Rural small-town life, dogs, horses, suspense: yes, “these are a few of my favorite things”! I love that this book combines all of these elements to tell a story about how the past shapes the present and how, through God’s love and His purpose for our lives, He can redeem our past and bring to fruition the promise to “work all things together for the good of those who love Him.” In a world that so often seems incomprehensible, what a blessed assurance to realize this fact!

Rhonda Starnes makes her debut as a novelist with Rocky Mountain Revenge, which is part of the Love Inspired Suspense series. The first chapter is one of the most spine-chilling that I have read in this series, yet without resorting to the macabre, which is one of the many reasons that I enjoy and respect inspirational fiction of this caliber. Because this particular story also involves animals, especially dogs and horses, I also greatly appreciate that no animals meet their demise during the present, unfolding action of the narrative, although for those who may be sensitive, there is an allusion to the prior death of an animal. However, Starnes does a fantastic job of conveying necessary plot points while refraining from any graphic detail. For those like me who can’t stand for harm to come to an animal, this is essential.

To a certain extent, the books in this and similar series are formulaic, giving readers a mostly apparent idea of which characters will become a couple, how the major parts of the plot will likely play out, and at least part of the motive. This is where the author’s writing skill takes effect, and for an initiate especially, Starnes develops her story enough to add in twists that propel the plot forward. More than once, I admit that I thought the mystery was about to be solved and wondered what the rest of the book would be about! Despite guessing some of the plotline, I did not figure out all of the connections, nor did I ever become at all disinterested while reading. The faith aspect is more about showing than telling, as one of the characters slowly comes back to the Lord after a tragedy, and the theme of redemption and of the Lord making all things new finds fulfillment in more ways than one. There is a saying that “You can’t go home again.” However, that does not hold true when it comes to our place of belonging in the arms of the Savior, Who always stands ready to welcome us home to Him, and that is one homecoming that we don’t want to miss!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 9

Through the Fire Blogs, December 10

Genesis 5020, December 10

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 11

Simple Harvest Reads, December 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, December 12

Lighthouse Academy, December 13

Connie’s History Classroom, December 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 14

Reviewingbooksplusmore, December 14

Inklings and notions, December 15

Betti Mace, December 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 16

deb’s Book Review, December 16

Texas Book-aholic, December 17

lakesidelivingsite, December 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 18

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 18

For Him and My Family, December 19

Pause for Tales , December 19

Artistic Nobody, December 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

SusanLovesBooks, December 20

Splashes of Joy, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 22

Daysong Reflections, December 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rhonda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Rocky Mountain Revenge!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/104a4/rocky-mountain-revenge-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Thrill of Facing the Impossible: A Book Review of Davis Bunn’s “Burden of Proof”

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Perhaps not overtly so, but Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn is an apropos book for 2020, right down to the title. This year I have read several works within the speculative fiction genre, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them because I am much more of a historical fiction devotee. In a sense, however, Davis Bunn’s novel also falls within the dual-timeline category, and it is a legal thriller too. Such a formidable combination of genres promises a high yield and begs the question of whether or not they all blend well and complement each other.

Speaking generally, Burden of Proof falls in the middle of the spectrum as far as my personal ratings are concerned. There are parts of the story that I enjoyed, but also loose ends and some questions that I would have liked to have seen answered. I also have concerns about the implication that Adrian’s life is worth more than Ethan’s, taken from the opening chapters of the story; a life-limiting disease resulting in a poor prognosis, combined with the fact that the individual has no living relatives, leads to a decision that could change the future and the past. I will refrain from elaborating so as to avoid spoilers, but this realization of human worth greatly discomfited me. Along with this, there is no mention of Christianity in the book; given that it is marketed as Christian, I believe that it should be held to that standard, and while the story is clean, the focus is given to weaving the present with the outspoken past rather than in spiritual growth.

Time travel forms the crucial event in this story. Despite being so over-done as a theme, Bunn gives it a unique twist here, fictionally broadening its potential use. This brings in the Butterfly Effect, as found in any time travel scenario, as well as the Grandfather Paradox and, as one of the characters explains, the theory of quantum entanglement. Due in part to all of the unknowns, the bonds of family and friends become especially important. As what was thought to be an isolated incident grows into a full-blown conspiracy theory, Ethan and his brother Adrian fund themselves caught up in “the thrill of facing the impossible” for what may be the last time.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 3 stars ♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE