Friday, November 28, 2014


A good book is like a fine bottle of wine; once you open it, you need to let it breathe. 
Otherwise, the experience will be less than expected.

THE PATMOS DECEPTION is a good book. 

Davis Bunn brings to your table characters that are fully rounded, deep, complex.  The interactions are thoughtful and genuine.  The setting, modern Greece, is as much a character in the book as Nick, and Dimitri, and Sofia, and Carey.  Open the book, brew your favorite beverage . . .and let it breathe.

Nick Hennessy, an investigative journalist hailing from Texas, has been tasked with the responsibility of investigating the disappearance of invalauable Greek antiquities.  He has the credentials, he has the chutzpah, he has the charisma, and he knows just the researcher to assist him in his assignment.   However, his journalistic career has hamstringed his ability to engage fully with the moment, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart. 

Carey Mathers, fresh from her studies in forensic archeology, has accepted a job with the prestigious Athens Institute for Antiquities.  Her studies have exquisitely prepared her for the job, when one considers that the Greek isle of Patmos, where the Apostle John received his vision of the Apocalypse, was a particular focus of her research.

Dimitri Rubinos, for whom the Greek islands represent his life, holds on by his fingernails to the family charter boat business. But his country's economic chaos isn't the only thing that has turned his world on its head.

Engage with this book.  Savor it.  Allow it to caress all of your senses, and The Patmos Deception will become, to you as well, as a fine wine.

The Patmos Deception is a good book.

5 stars for another excellent offering from Davis Bunn

Davis Bunn
Bethany House
337 pages
$14.99 U.S., paperback
$ 9.99 U.S., Kindle Edition

Thursday, November 27, 2014


The e-mail I received inviting me to review THE EMISSARY by Thomas Locke
informed me:
“This is a new kind of story that focuses on the positive aspects that come from our life walk: courage in the face of hardship, growth, and change.”

Every one of us must wrestle with these issues as we make the break between choosing to live our lives according to principles of the kingdom of hell, or by the principles of the kingdom of heaven.  The Lord Jehovah, through his servant Moses, declared:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,
Deuteronomy 30:19 (HCSB)

Life is not about choices, life is a series of choices, and living one’s life in light of the ramifications of the choices that we make.  And that message is declared on every page of Scripture.

Enough preaching.  On to the story itself.

Hyam, the hero of our story, is much like the crops that he grows; the fruit on the surface is abundant, rich, and varied . . . and yet there is more to him than meets the eye.  The roots run deep; deeper than even Hyam knows.  His mother’s dying request is for Hyam to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice . . . and where his extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light.  It was also a place that holds bitter memories for Hyam, and the one place to which he had vowed never to return.  But how can one deny his own mother? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelations rock his world to its very core.  An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities--and dangers.

Thomas Locke writes with an attention to detail that doesn’t bog one down with the details.  The action varies as the scenes change, but is intentionally directed to the final resolution.  The characters are complex, and  yet one doesn’t really see them as characters at all.  From the opening pages, one is swept off one’s feet and taken where the stories, and dreams, and aspirations . . . and the dangers, and the heartaches, and the losses . . . take one.

I’m reminded of the preface to HUCKLEBERRY FINN:
Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

Because Mark Twain desired the reader to “join in” the adventure – not psychoanalyse the author, or subject the story to the typical “literary critique.”  As Thomas Locke desires in THE EMISSARY.

5 stars for an odyssey that leaves you longing for more

Thomas Locke
ISBN 978-0-8007-2385-9
400 pages
$14.99 U.S., paperback

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Philip Yancey, obviously, is not afraid of a challenge.  In VANISHING GRACE:  WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE GOOD NEWS?, Yancey takes on the entire population of modern-day Pharisees . . . that populate the pews of the 21st Century mainstream denominational churches.  People who are content, complacent, and contemptuous of those who don’t attend “their” church, or believe the way “they” believe.  And he does so in a journalistic fashion; asking questions, searching for answers . . . and yes, reporting the truth as it is, not how we would like it to be.

It’s a difficult book to get into.  I had to re-start it several times, before it started clicking for me.  You see, I’m probably one of those modern-day Pharisees.  I want the people to walk through the door, and sit down in the pew, and listen to me.  Do I work hard at preparing messages from the Word of God?  Absolutely – ask my family.  After a 40-hour week job, and preparing for Sundays and Wednesday evenings, the only time they see me is in church. 

But Yancey has shown me, through this book, that things need to change.  Scripture calls us to be salt and light to a lost and dying world.  We are to shine the light of the gospel – but in order for light to be effective, it has to reach the optical sensory receptors of another person.  Light shown in a closet – read “church,” – isn’t going to do anybody else any good.  Salt seasons the Word of God, but it also serves as a preservative – and it makes people thirsty for more.  But the salt isn’t going to do any good if it doesn’t come in contact with the taste buds of another person.

A city set on a hill cannot be hid; unless it is draped in the camouflage of traditional programs and dry-as-dust presentations.

In another challenging book (the author is simply known as Fynn) entitled MISTER GOD, THIS IS ANNA, the precocious 6-year old engages Fynn in a simple, yet profound, conversation:
          “Fynn . . . why do people go to church?”
          “Fynn:  Well, I suppose to learn about God.”
          “Anna:  Well then . . . WHY DO THEY KEEP GOING BACK?  I think it’s because they didn’t get Him in the first place . . . or they’re just pretending.”

For Anna . . . and I feel, for Philip Yancey . . . once you get God, you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life giving Him away. 

The good news isn’t good news . . . until someone gets the good news.

5 stars for a challenging book that will change your life for the better

VANISHING GRACE; Whatever Happened To The Good News
Philip Yancey
Religion / Christian Life / Inspirational
298 pages
$22.99 U.S.