Christian Fiction Reviews | February 15, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Redwood, Jordyn. Poison. Kregel. (Bloodline Trilogy, Bk. 2). Feb. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780825442124. pap. $13.99. CF

It’s been five years since Keelyn and Raven survived being taken hostage by their mentally ill stepfather. Keelyn, who started seeing SWAT team member Lee Watson two years after the tragedy, has tried to put the past behind her. But when her niece is kidnapped, Keelyn seeks to reconnect with Raven, from whom she had become estranged. Soon, others close to Keelyn begin to die and she wonders if she and Lee will escape the madness alive. VERDICT As intricately plotted and compelling as the first book in the trilogy (Proof), this psychological thriller will keep readers perched on the edge of their seats. A must read for fans of Lis Wiehl and Frank Peretti.

Library Journal Reviews starred review Lee, Tosca. Iscariot: A Novel of Judas. Howard: S. & S. Feb. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781451683769. $22.99; ebk. ISBN 9781451683943. CF

Lee (“Book of Mortal” series with Ted Dekker) takes a big risk as she re-examines the life of Christianity’s most infamous figure and his role in the crucifixion of Jesus. As Judas moves from his turbulent childhood to his years as a disciple of Jesus, Lee paints a portrait of a man of deep faith who believes he has found in Jesus the one who will overthrow Rome and bring unity to his people. As Jesus’s path becomes clearer, Judas realizes that the liberation Jesus promises is not the liberation he wants. VERDICT This brilliant, sympathetic reinterpretation of Judas will force readers to reexamine the man they thought they knew. Recommend it to patrons who enjoy the biblical novels of Ted Dekker or David Maine.

Library Journal Reviews starred review Blackstock, Terri. Truth Stained Lies. Zondervan. (Moonlighter, Bk. 1). Mar. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780310283133. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780310289333. CF

Former attorney Cathy Cramer blogs about homicide investigations, but she is thrust into the action when her brother is accused of murdering his ex-wife. A few days earlier, Cathy received an anonymous note warning her that her judgmental posts would come back to haunt her. With her two sisters, she works to find the real murderer, clear her brother’s name, and keep her nephew safe. VERDICT Crisp prose, an engaging story, and brisk pacing make this thriller another home run for Blackstock (Downfall). Recommend it to readers who enjoy material by Lynette Eason and Erin Healy.

The following titles are reviewed in the February 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

I’m sure that you will be as surprised as I was with the number of starred reviews in this month’s column. That’s not to say that there aren’t many wonderful books out there, but in order to get a starred review a novel must rise above the rest. It should have outstanding character development, an intriguing plot, and writing that grabs readers and connects them to the story. This month, five books rose to that level. Terri Blackstock’s fast-paced series debut (Truth-Stained Lies) offers readers layer after layer of suspense to peel away before its satisfying conclusion. In A Cast of Stones, Patrick Carr’s unlikely hero must address medieval political intrigue and deceit. Gina Holmes pens a complex tale (Wings of Glass) that deals realistically and honestly with a harsh topic: marital abuse. Tosca Lee dares to reexamine the life of Judas (Iscariot), revealing a character far more complex than most have believed, and Jordyn Redwood’s Poison is a terrifying journey of darkness, possession, and survival. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Bricker, Sandra D. Always the Baker, Finally the Bride. Abingdon. (Another Emma Rae Creation, Bk. 4). Apr. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781426732270. pap. $14.99. CF

Library Journal Reviews starred review Carr, Patrick W. A Cast of Stones. Bethany. (The Staff and the Sword, Bk. 1). Feb. 2013. 432p. ISBN 9780764210433. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781441261021. CF

Coble, Coleen & others. Secretly Smitten. Thomas Nelson. (Smitten, Bk. 2). 2013. 400p. ISBN 9781401687137. pap. $15.99.; ebk. ISBN 9781401687151. CF

Collins, Ace. Darkness Before Dawn. Abingdon. Mar. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781426714672. pap. $14.99. CF

Connealy, Mary. Swept Away. Bethany. (Trouble in Texas, Bk. 1). Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780764209147. pap. $14.99. CF

Copeland, Lori & Virginia Smith. A Cowboy at Heart. Harvest House. (The Amish of Apple Grove, Bk. 3). Apr. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780736953412. pap. $13.99. CF

Craig, Patrick E. A Quilt for Jenna. Harvest House. (Apple Creek Dreams, Bk. 1). Feb. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780736951050. pap. $13.99. CF

Dobson, James & Kurt Bruner. Fatherless. FaithWords: Hachette. 2013. 448p. ISBN 9781455513116. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781455513123. CF

Eakes, Laurie Alice. Choices of the Heart. Revell. (The Midwives, Bk. 3). 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780800719869. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781441240637. CF

Gray, Shelley Shepard. Daybreak. Avon Inspire: Avon. (Days of Redemption, Bk. 1). Feb. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9780062204400. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062204417. CF

Hannon, Irene. Vanished. Revell. (Private Justice, Bk. 1). 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780800721237. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781441240606. CF

Library Journal Reviews starred review Holmes, Gina. Wings of Glass. Tyndale House. Mar. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9781414366418. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781414381923. CF

Mehl, Nancy. Unbreakable. Bethany. (Road to Kingdom, Bk. 2). Feb. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780764209284. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781441261014. CF

Thrasher, Travis. Home Run. David C. Cook. Mar. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9780781408387. pap. $14.99. CF

White, Linda J. Seeds of Evidence. Abingdon. (FBI Thrillers, Bk. 2). Apr. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9781426735424. pap. $14.99. CF

Windle, Jeanette. Congo Dawn. Tyndale House. Feb. 2013. 496p. ISBN 9781414371580. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9781414382128. CF