Literary Christians

After the disappointment that was The Boy, it was nice to read this detective/thriller novel.

Nine Elms is a book about the disgraced Kate Marshall. As a young police officer, Kate has the drive and ambition to climb the professional ladder at her workplace, but soon that changes after a life altering affair. Now, 15 years later, she must face the demons of her past again.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The first couple of chapters gripped me and then never let go. The characters are very well developed. The story is a bit dark and gritty, but if you are a fan of Karin Slaughter, you will love this book. The book does have cuss words and gory scenes. The villains in the book are sick and depraved and Mr. Bryndza does a superb job in capturing their twisted nature. The book’s darkness also encompasses sex and this adds another layer of just how degenerate the villains are. There is also cannibalism involved. Did I mention the book is dark?

As a Christian, I am not oblivious to the depravity of the human heart and mind. Verse after verse speaks about how quickly and naturally we resort to evil behavior. Without God, there is no hope for us. This is what I get from reading books like this. It provides a window into the world that, if I am not careful, can become invisible in my sweet little Christian life. I was depraved, but God saved me. I heard the call and I became a child of God. There is no hope besides Him. The world, in all its darkness, needs the light. I appreciate authors that lead us into these black hearts and minds. It gives Christians more to be Christians with. Here is a great article that makes the case for the need for Christians to read works of fiction.

I am looking forward to the second book featuring Kate Marshall in “Shadow Sands.” This book is set to hit shelves in the U.S. in November.

#nineelms #cannibal #thriller #killer #katemarshall #robertbryndza

First book I read by Ruth Ware

turn of the key

Turn of the Key is a mystery thriller written by Ruth Ware. The book is composed of several letters mostly written by the protagonist, Rowan Caine. When Rowan finds  an advertisement for a full time nanny position in the Highlands of Scotland with great pay, she cannot believe her luck. She gets hired and begins this new chapter in her life soon afterwards. She is to watch 4 girls, ages 1, 5, 8 and 14. The house where she will watch the girls is super high-tech, full of cameras and said to be haunted. Several other nannies have fled, none lasting more than several weeks. Little does Rowan know that the house has a lot more secrets than just the hauntings.

SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ANYMORE IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK!

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed this book overall. What I didn’t enjoy was that this whole book is basically a letter from Rowan behind bars writing about her innocence to a lawyer. Yes, the whole book is a letter, and Rowan became quickly annoying because she wouldn’t get to the blooming point of the murder she was charged with. This just made me read even more, which I think was the intention of the author. The ending was great and the twist at the end was also perfect. I didn’t see it coming, but Mrs. Ware does leave some of the ending to our own imagination. What did happen to Rowan in the end? What happened to Ellie? Did she get the help she needed? Living with such a burden is bound to cause a lot of mental torment in such a young little girl. Mrs. Ware doesn’t answer those things in the epilogue. We are left to guess for ourselves, and that leaves for a great conversation with this book’s fans.

As a Christian, what I noticed was that the book had a lot of profanity in it and Rowan is a liar. The teenage daughter, Rhionnan is very wordly also. There is the pain and baggage that comes with adultery and that is where I want to focus on in this blog post. There are two men in this book that are developed into characters. Both of them are the opposite of what God expects them to be. They take advantage of the women they are meant to protect and are scoundrels. The mess they leave behind because of their need for immediate gratification are a bunch of hurt children and broken homes. That is what adultery does. It shatters those we love and exposes the soft core of their hearts. Rowan is broken. The Elincourt girls are broken. Sandra, the wife, becomes broken. The wife of Jack becomes broken. These men are worthless in this book.

Books allow us to see into how the world interacts and lives its lives. We get a clear picture of families and how they deal with the pressures of day to day life without God. Yes, some books we read may have a faith element sewn into them, but most secular fiction books do not. I see in books like these, I really am not missing out on much. Yes, believers and the lives we live can be dark and yield forth bitter fruit, but the world yields way more and frankly it should since they go against what God says is right. This reminds me of Psalm 37:1-2 – “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.”

I recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries and or thrillers. This book did have a Gothic feel also, so if you are into those, you will love this book. If it wasn’t for the frustrating narrative of Rowan, I would have given this book a 5 stars on Goodreads, but I gave it a 4.

The book is scary and frightening, I would only allow my older teens to read it. There are no explicit sex scenes. There is cussing throughout the book.

 

#readingchallenge #ruthware #turnofthekey #books #goodreads

The Rook – Book Review

The Rook is the 2nd book of the Patrick Bowers series by Stephen James. This book is about a murderer who video tapes the death of his victims. Simultaneously there seems to be an arsonist on the loose and a government secret weapon that has the potential of changing the way wars are fought forever. All this is going on and in the backdrop Patrick and his relationship with his step-daughter is stressed and strengthened. There also seems to be a growing romantic relationship with Patrick and Lien-Hua. We also learn a little more about Lien-Hua.

This book is intense. The author gloriously lead me astray several times and I was sad when the book ended. But I am grateful to know that this is a series, so I am not too sad knowing there are 5 more books available.

I recently learned that the author is a practicing Christian and you really can’t tell. Let me clarify. The book takes the reader to the dark cesspool of human nature. It is grim, and the murderers are vile. The book frightened me at times because of how dark it was, but the author never used cuss words, never depicted sex scenes or gave too much detail of the violence committed by the bad guys. This is what makes Mr. James a great author. He paints a picture just clear enough to allow our own depravity to assume what is going to happen next. He also sprinkles deep theology into his books without being preachy about it. This is so hard to do, but Mr. James does it effortlessly. The story line very well developed and I can’t wait to get my hands on the 3rd book!

I highly recommend this book to those who like mystery, thriller, detective, and suspense books. Also, I really think that any one with a military background will enjoy the Patrick Bowers series.

You can buy the book here

The Snowman – Book Review

Summary:

The Snowman is the 7th book in a series with the main character being the tall,  Harry Hole. For several years women involved in adulterous affairs have been disappearing. Sometimes their bodies are found and sometimes only parts of them are. This book takes place in Norway during the first snow – the hunting ground of the Snowman. There are several suspects and the story line twists and turns until it comes to an ending that leaves Harry maimed for the rest of his life.

The beginning and the end were really good in the book, but it did get a little slow and long in the middle. As the book was ending there were several times the author purposely mislead me and that was great! Those twists and word play made this book a good read, but it still could have done without a lot of the long descriptions in the middle.

I have never read this author before and I probably wont again. He used too many cuss words and there was mindless sex throughout the book. Also, the story in itself wasn’t that good. He did do a good job in surprising me who the killer was, but nothing more. I really didn’t like Harry, but this can be because I don’t “know” him from the other 6 books Mr. Nesbo used to develop this character.

I really don’t recommend this book. It was long and Harry Hole was the typical broken, alcoholic detective. I don’t think it brought anything new to the thriller/mystery genre. I did find out the book was turned into a movie. I am still trying to decide if I will see it or not. Probably not.

If you are interested in reading this book, you can order it here.

The 4th Monkey – Book Review

 

Summary: This book is about a serial killer who was hit by a bus on his way to deliver a package in the mail. His latest kidnapped victim has only days to live before she dies of dehydration. The investigation unfolds jumping between the present and the found journal of the serial killer.

My take: I didn’t like the book too much. The plot really intrigued me and I liked the idea of the killer already being dead and the tension of finding the girl he had planned to kill, but I figured a lot of it out before the end. The serial killer’s journal did seem childish, maybe that was the author’s intentions, but because of the language that was used, it lost it’s effectiveness in being serious and frightening. I did like the story of the lead detective, Sam Porter. His pain and humanity was really well portrayed, but I saw what was going on way before he did.

There are a lot of great reviews about this book, and frankly, because of those reviews I bought it. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the hype. It was okay and kept me entertained. There is a lot of foul language, sexual references and gore in the book. I would only let my adult children read this book, but would probably stir them more towards the Steven James series if they prefer these kinds of books. They’re better stories and not near as crass.

These kinds of thrillers that delve into the cesspool of humanity always remind me of man’s depravity.  Romans 3:10-18 says: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;  “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

You can buy this book here.

Dark Places – Book Review

This book is about a little girl (Libby Day) who survives her family being slaughtered  by her brother. After 25 years she finds herself without money, without friends and still battling the demons of her past. In order to get some much needed money, she teams up with a group of lay true crime enthusiasts called the Kill Club. The people from this group are eerily obsessed with what happened to Libby, her family and specifically to her brother – Ben Day.  Ben was found guilty based on the testimony given by Libby and is now going to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Because Libby is the only other survivor, the Kill Club decides she can find out more about what happened 25 years ago and hopefully get Ben out of prison. Libby is sure that Ben is her family’s killer but soon vacillates back and forth as she investigates.

This book is dark. The author – Gillian Flynn – does a wonderful job developing some of the most worthless characters I have ever read about. I hated most of them, including Libby, but that’s not really a bad thing. The characters in this book were flawed and broken. The depravity of humanity and the emotional and financial struggles of life was very real in this book.

Saying this, the book does contain a lot of profanity. There are sex scenes and they are short, tenderless and thankfully not violent. This book delves into the cesspool of humanity. And the dignity given to them by God, is practically snuffed out by their degradation.

As a Christian, I forget that there are people like this. I try hard to get out into the world and be a light in dark places, but admittedly I am surrounded mostly be people like me. Although, I don’t grimace when people who aren’t saved cuss or act like unbelievers. It’s the “saved” Christians that make me cringe when they unrepentantly act like the world. – Don’t worry, I also cringe at myself. I don’t often read these kinds of books because my mind sometimes feels assaulted, but the whole time I was reading about Libby’s struggles I just wanted her to know the true freedom found in Christ. I wanted that for all of these unfortunate characters. They were very real and very hopeless.

This book is for adults only. All the cussing aside, the book is very well written and the unfolding of the mystery of who killed the Day family is thrilling. When I got to the end of the book and the true crime was revealed, it was perfect! Mrs. Flynn had given the reader a hint and I failed to see it and put it together. It was excellent! I recommend this book to the person who likes dark thrillers.