First-rate supporting characters complement the sprightly pastor, who remains impeccable in this thriller.

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LIONHEARTS

A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL

In this seventh entry of a series, terrorists attacking Christians in the United States must contend with the proficient recurring protagonist armed with Scripture and a Glock.

When a bloody, nearly dead Fred “Freddie” Pederson stumbles into St. Mary’s Lutheran Church during a service, he has a message for his old SEAL pal Pastor Stephen Grant. Undercover for the FBI, Pederson just managed to escape an Islamic terrorist group planning strikes against “Christian infidels,” a specified target being Pastor Richard Leonard, son of another fellow SEAL. The warning’s unfortunately too late: men strapped with explosives walk into six churches in five states. Leonard, along with badge-carrying congregation members, fights off terrorists at St. Mark’s on Staten Island. But fearing Leonard will still be a target, Grant, who’s also a former CIA operative, offers pastoral assistance as well as protection. Meanwhile, an interrogated terrorist hints at additional attacks, putting many on high alert, including Paige Caldwell, Grant’s CIA partner, who now co-runs a private security firm. No one can foresee or prevent a subsequent assault that rattles the entire country. As a result, Grant and law enforcers are determined to ensure that no one else falls prey to terrorism on American soil. By now, fans of Keating’s (Wine into Water, 2016, etc.) thriller series will anticipate skillfully drawn characters. Grant, for one, is a considerate husband and unquestionably capable in action. But TV interviews with Leonard and Imam Anwar Abdullah bolster the tale by shedding positive light on both Christianity and Islam. The narrative’s swift momentum is retained even during profound moments, as in a scene in which terrorists debate their cause after murdering two men that’s intercut with clergymen reciting biblical passages. Though sequences of Grant or Caldwell and her team engaged in combat are exhilarating, the story’s brimming with everyday heroes. One political figure, for example, is rescued by a neighbor whose courage is measured by the hefty Desert Eagle gun he brandishes.

First-rate supporting characters complement the sprightly pastor, who remains impeccable in this thriller.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5489-6418-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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A bold, fertile work lit by powerful images, often consumed by debate, almost old-school in its feminist commitment.

THE BOOK OF V.

Esther, the Old Testament teenager who reluctantly married a Persian king and saved her people, is connected across the ages to two more contemporary women in a sinuous, thoughtful braid of women’s unceasing struggles for liberty and identity.

Biblical Esther, second-wave feminist Vee, and contemporary mother-of-two Lily are the women whose narrative strands and differing yet sometimes parallel dilemmas are interwoven in Solomon’s (Leaving Lucy Pear, 2016, etc.) questing, unpredictable new novel. All three are grappling—some more dangerously than others—with aspects of male power versus their own self-determination. Esther, selected from 40 virgins to be the second queen—after her predecessor, Vashti, was banished (or worse)—is the strangest. Her magical powers can bring on a shocking physical transformation or reanimate a skeletal bird, yet she is still a prisoner in a gilded cage, mother to an heir, frustrated daughter of an imperiled tribe. Vee, wife of an ambitious senator in 1970s Washington, finds herself a player in a House of Cards–type scenario, pressured toward sexual humiliation by her unscrupulous husband. Lily, in 21st-century Brooklyn, has chosen motherhood over work and is fretting about the costumes for her two daughters to wear at the Purim carnival honoring Esther. Alongside questions of male dominance, issues of sexuality arise often, as do female communities, from Esther’s slave sisters to Vee’s consciousness-raising groups to Lily’s sewing circle. And while layers of overlap continue among the three women's stories—second wives, sewing, humming—so do subtly different individual choices. Finely written and often vividly imagined, this is a cerebral, interior novel devoted to the notion of womanhood as a composite construction made up of myriad stories and influences.

A bold, fertile work lit by powerful images, often consumed by debate, almost old-school in its feminist commitment.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25701-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS

These letters from some important executive Down Below, to one of the junior devils here on earth, whose job is to corrupt mortals, are witty and written in a breezy style seldom found in religious literature. The author quotes Luther, who said: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." This the author does most successfully, for by presenting some of our modern and not-so-modern beliefs as emanating from the devil's headquarters, he succeeds in making his reader feel like an ass for ever having believed in such ideas. This kind of presentation gives the author a tremendous advantage over the reader, however, for the more timid reader may feel a sense of guilt after putting down this book. It is a clever book, and for the clever reader, rather than the too-earnest soul.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1942

ISBN: 0060652934

Page Count: 53

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1943

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