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HOLY TERROR

Faith-based speculative fiction fans should enjoy this tale of an angel vigilante’s glorious journey.

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This debut novel—and series opener—is a blend of Christian mythology, crime drama, and arcane thriller that follows two detectives as they attempt to track down a seemingly unstoppable killer.

Ian Jelani and his partner, Lane Madigan, are Miami police detectives tasked with finding a murderer who has been ritualistically butchering criminals—drug dealers, porn peddlers, terrorists. As the two investigate the elusive executioner, they discover similar homicides across the country. The “Holy Terror,” as the media have dubbed the killer, only targets hardcore criminals. Unbeknown to the two detectives, the entity behind the gruesome murders is an angel named Thumos, Yahweh’s right hand of justice whose flaming sword of vengeance has dispatched those who do evil against Yahweh’s children for millennia. But the recent killings have not been ordained by God—and Thumos is in danger of losing his soul to darkness. As Thumos struggles with his own spiritual demons, so do Jelani and Madigan, both dealing with their own issues with accepting God’s will. Fueled by Christian beliefs—relevant biblical verses and Christian doctrine abound—this tale about the spiritual awakenings of all three characters is powerfully moving. (Christian readers will also undoubtedly enjoy the pop-culture references, like the Christian metal band Stryper.) The pacing is brisk, and Dougherty’s narrative reads like a thriller, high intensity throughout with action-packed scenes from beginning to end. The big criticism here is the wild inconsistency in descriptions of both the setting and characters. Thumos, for example, is richly portrayed: He “shook his head, and his once long, flowing white hair floated away as multiple horns began to now appear out of his head. His once human-like ears stretched into elongated leathery appendages. His mouth expanded outward, creating almost a snout, with long, white fangs.” Satan, on the other hand, is barely described at all, with the devil wearing a black robe and having “grotesque fingers” and “grotesque appendages.”

Faith-based speculative fiction fans should enjoy this tale of an angel vigilante’s glorious journey.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2022

ISBN: 9781667861081

Page Count: 298

Publisher: Book Baby

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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MIND GAMES

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

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Roberts’ latest may move you to tears, or joy, or dread, or all three.

Every summer, John and Cora Fox visit Cora’s mother, Lucy Lannigan, in Redbud Hollow, Kentucky, leaving their children, 12-year-old Thea and 10-year-old Rem, for a two-week taste of heaven. The children love Grammie Lucy far more than John’s snooty family, which looks down on Cora. Lucy, a healer with deep Appalachian roots, loves animals, cooks the best meals, plays musical instruments, and makes soap and candles for her thriving business. Thea—who’s inherited the psychic abilities passed down through the women of Lucy’s family—has vivid magical dreams, one of which becomes a living nightmare when a psychopath robs and murders John and Cora as Thea watches helplessly. Thea’s description of the killer and her ability to see him in real time help the skeptical police catch Ray Riggs, who goes to prison for life. Although Thea and Rem go on to have a wonderful childhood with Grammie, Thea constantly wages a mental battle with Riggs, who tries to use his own psychic abilities to get into her mind. Over the years, Thea uses her imagination to become a game designer while the more business-minded Rem helps manage her career. Thea eventually builds a house near Lucy, where a newly arrived neighbor is her teen crush, singer-songwriter Tyler Brennan. Tyler has his own issues and is protective of his young son but slowly builds a loving relationship with Thea, whose silence about her abilities leads to a devastating misunderstanding. At first Thea tries to keep Riggs locked out of her mind. As her powers grow, she torments him. Finally, she realizes that she must win this battle and destroy him if she’s ever to have peace.

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781250289698

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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THE SILENT PATIENT

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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