Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Safe Haven by Kimberley and Kayla R. Woodhouse

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Kimberley Woodhouse is a wife, mother, writer, and musician approaching life with a positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. Her previous book,Welcome Home: Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy, chronicles her daughter’s extremely rare health issues and how the Woodhouses received an amazing gift through the ABC television program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Kim and her husband have two children and live in Colorado.


Kayla Woodhouse is a teenage author whose life-altering medical condition (a nerve disorder that prevents the body from regulating its temperature or sensing pain) has not stopped her love for swimming. She is home schooled and has an adventure blog called Dragon Claws, Dog Paws, Swimming Laws.


Visit the Kim's website.

Visit the Kayla's blog.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A young widow and her physically challenged daughter survive a plane crash in the Alaskan mountains but must puzzle together how it relates to the recent death of their husband and father.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433671166
ISBN-13: 978-1433671166

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


JENNA

The plane dropped like a 3000 pound stone.

Jenna Tikaani-Gray braced herself with one hand, and held a warm, foam cup away from her body with the other as they jostled along. These pockets of air were turning the flight into a wild ride at the fair. Good thing she loved those rides almost as much as she loved flying, because they were dropping again. Down, then up, then down again, until the sky turned to silk and the plane sailed along.

At least the turbulence hadn’t spilled the coffee.

After a long, slow sip, Jenna released a sigh as their small de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, left the bowl of Anchorage, Alaska, and lifted into the clear blue sky above. The mountains around Anchorage always produced a bumpy ride, but she’d managed to pass coffee to Hank and their other passenger without mishap.

Only one more leg of the journey and they’d be home.

A beautiful hand reached across the seat, welcoming her embrace, and she smiled at her twelve-year-old daughter, Andrea. Such a sweet kid. Jenna had definitely been blessed from above with her only child. Andrea had been through such trial and heartache, yet faced the world smiling.

Jenna squeezed her daughter’s hand as the radio buzzed and crackled.

“Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November”--Departure Control came through the channel loud and clear.--“I’m getting no mode C on your transponder. Squawk 2-3-7-5 i-dent.”

Hank, the pilot, replied, “Roger. Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November i-dent…”

“Negative radar contact. Maintain VFR. Do you have another transponder?”

“Roger. I’ll switch to backup.”

Jenna leaned over the side of her seat watching Hank flip the switch from transponder A to B. She waited for word from Departure Control.

“Still negative radar contact. Can you maintain VFR?”

“Roger that, Control. No problem.”

That was strange. How could both transponders be malfunctioning? She furrowed her brow. When they returned to North Pole, she’d have to get it checked out. Good thing Hank was an experienced pilot. Since Marc’s death, Jenna had hired him to pilot their plane, and knew he could handle whatever might happen.

Andie pulled on her arm, bringing Jenna’s attention from the cockpit back to her daughter.

“Mom?”

“Yeah, sweetie?”

“What does VFR mean?” Andie’s fascination was clear on her face.

Jenna felt the tension ease from her own features as she leaned close to Andie, a little thrill rippling through her body. How she loved talking about flying. “Visual Flight Rules. Hank filed an IFR flight plan—Instrument Flight Rules—but the transponders must be malfunctioning, so the tower is instructing him to fly VFR, meaning visually. If we didn’t have a clear day, that would make flying VFR trickier, sometimes impossible.”

“Is it safe to fly VFR?”

Andie must have noted her reaction earlier. Jenna had never been good at hiding things from her inquisitive child.

Jenna noticed the other passenger glance back at them from his seat next to the pilot, and she held back a frown. The rough flight could explain the man’s lack of a smile, but what caused the fierce look he shot them? Jenna cocked her head, questioning the man with her silent stare. A poke from Andie brought her back to the question.

“Yes, sweetie. It’s perfectly safe.”

“Just checkin’.” Andie giggled, squeezed Jenna’s hand, and turned to look out the tiny window next to her seat.

The man watched Jenna as she faced forward once again. Something in his intense gaze pulled at her, but she couldn’t discern what. She’d been so excited about going home that she hadn’t paid attention when they were introduced. His first name was . . . Cole? Ugh. Good job remembering the details, Jenna. Marc had taught her better than that.

Well, whether she could remember his name or not, something about this guy bothered her. She just couldn’t put her finger on what.

Forcing herself to break the connection, she slid her chin left and tried to focus on the scenery beneath them. Greens and blues melded with the white of melting snow. This was her favorite part of flying. Watching the beauty of God’s handiwork skim below her.

The two men up front spoke in hushed tones, bringing her attention back to their puzzling guest. Hank approached her before the flight asking if they could take another passenger, and she didn’t mind since the added income would be to her benefit. But who was this guy? And why, if he were just another tourist, was he so serious?

Closing her eyes, Jenna attempted to dispel her concerns. Think about the amazing news from Andie’s neurosurgeon instead. The results were far beyond her expectations, and for the first time in many years Jenna allowed herself to dream big for her precious child. So much tragedy and hurt could now be replaced with hope. The future was brighter than ever.

Instinctively, she reached for the dog tags around her neck. If only Marc could’ve been there. He’d been distraught when, as a toddler, their daughter was first diagnosed. But the additional diagnosis two years ago just about broke the man. He’d never quite recovered, and his demeanor had forever changed. The once crazy adventurer—a man full of life and laughter—closed himself behind a stone wall of protection.

She’d fought long and hard to penetrate his defenses, but taking care of Andie had become their focus, taken all their energy. When their daughter went in for brain surgery a year ago, the walls between them finally fell as they cried and held one another in the surgical waiting room. But Jenna never had the chance to discover what drove her husband to such emotional extremes. The accident happened before Andie was released from the hospital.

Opening her eyes, she blinked back the tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. Stop it! This is no time for tears. It’s a happy day.

They would move on from here.

She turned to gaze out the window. How long had she been lost in her memories? And, for that matter…where were they? Leaning closer to the glass, she searched for familiar landmarks. The scenery wasn’t right.

Before she could open her mouth to speak to Hank, brisk movement in the cockpit drew her attention to the two men up front. Seeing a tangle of arms shoved her heart into her throat.

Hank was fighting the passenger!

The man grabbed Hank’s arm and—a gun! Hank had a gun!

Before Jenna could move, Hank jerked his arm free, took aim, and shot the radio. Glancing at Andie, she ripped open her seatbelt. Her daughter’s eyes widened and her mouth hung open as Jenna yanked the belt off her and shoved her over the seat toward the rear of the plane. She climbed after her frightened child, signaling her to crouch in the floor. As Jenna hunched over her sweet daughter, she hugged her tight, whispering calming words in an attempt to shield her from the horror of the scene unfolding in front of them.

The plane plunged and veered to the west.

Heart thundering, Jenna monitored the scuffle through a crack between the seats and prayed for wisdom and safety. What was happening? And why? Arms wrestled and tangled—the passenger pushed upward, almost hovering over the pilot. What if he killed Hank?

As the plane teetered and shuddered, Jenna felt the panic rise in her throat. Surely God wasn’t going to let Andie die, not after all she’d survived already.

The man rammed a fist into the pilot’s face. Though Hank tried to fight back, he soon crumpled under the intense blows. Hank wore an evil smirk as he croaked out the awful words: “You’ll…never make…it…alive…”

The same fear that stole her breath rushed into the passenger’s face. What did Hank mean? Was it a threat to the passenger? Or to them all?

Determination stretched taut over the man’s rugged features as he threw Hank to the floor behind him, and climbed into the pilot’s seat. “Tie his hands!” He tossed a small cord to Jenna.

He fought to level off the plane, then glanced back in her direction. His breaths were ragged and his eyes bore a glassy sheen. He looked different… unfocused. Dare she depend on him? After Hank’s words, Jenna wasn’t sure about anything. It was all happening too fast.

Grabbing Andie, she hauled herself back over the seat and fumbled with the cording. It was a good thing Hank was unconscious, as her knots needed work. She darted a glance toward the cockpit, and decided to strap Hank back in. Their landing could be really rough if this guy didn’t know what he was doing, and she wanted their former pilot to be in decent condition to go to jail.

“Leave him!” Even though his upper lip was sweaty and he looked slightly green, his glare could burn a hole through steel. “You two buckle up!” He turned back to the controls.

Minutes passed.

Jenna bowed her head in prayer.

“This may be bumpy, I don’t know…what they did to…your plane…” The man’s words grew more and more slurred. “I’m not feeling…so… hhhoo…”

In a matter of seconds, he slid down his seat and slumped over the yoke, arms limp at his sides.

Time stood still. She could hear her lungs taking in air, watched Andie’s eyes widen in fear, felt the plane dive forward, but Jenna couldn’t move. God, Help me! Spare my daughter, please Lord!

Andie screamed. “Mom!”

In a split-second, Jenna’s survival instinct kicked in. Bolting up, she grabbed Andie. “It’s going to be okay, baby.” She slid a hand down Andie’s cheek. “I need you to help me move this guy, and then I want you to grab Hank’s headset and buckle up in the co-pilot’s seat. Can you do that?”

Without waiting for an answer, she squeezed Andie’s shoulder and climbed over seats into the cockpit. Adrenaline pumped pure strength through Jenna’s veins as she moved the bulk of the man who had tried to save them.

Or kill them.

She shook her head and shoved his solid, muscled frame over the seat. Jenna motioned for Andie to help strap him into another seat. Hank was sprawled, with his legs at an odd angle, but she had bigger concerns at the moment. Like landing the plane.

Andie grabbed Hank’s headset, dashed back to the front, and climbed into the seat next to her. .

Jenna took a deep breath and turned to the controls as Andie buckled in. She looked through the windshield--and gasped.

Denali—“the high one”—the tallest mountain in North America, loomed before her. They shouldn’t be anywhere near the Alaska Range, and yet here they were—flying straight into the South Face.

“Your seatbelt, Mom!”

Jenna’s hands gripped the yoke tighter. No time for a seatbelt. She needed control of this plane.

“Mom!”

“It’s okay, honey. Calm down.”

“But, Mom…” Andie gripped the headset. “Can you save us?”

Two weeks of flight ground school and one lesson didn’t quite give Jenna the know-how she needed to get out of this alive. “I’m gonna try, Sweetie.” Oh, God! Show me what to do!

Pulling up on the yoke, she tried to level out the small aircraft. “Honey, I need you to set those four dials on the radio controls to 1-2-1-5. That’s the emergency frequency. 1-2-1-5. Okay?”

Andie nodded and didn’t hesitate to obey. The kid had been through brain surgery and a lifetime dealing with a rare physical condition. Her hands shook as she sucked in a deep breath and started turning the knobs. “Okay, Mom.” Nervous blue eyes met hers as she handed over the headset. “It’s set.”

Slamming the headset onto her head, Jenna winced. Careful. Breathe. Andie’s relying on you. “Mayday! Mayday! Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November needs emergency assistance. We have no pilot aboard capable of flying this plane. Mayday! Mayday!”

Crackling, hissing, static, and then silence.

“Mayday, mayday! Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November requesting emergency assistance!”

Nothing.

Andie’s sweet voice filled the cabin as reality set in. “Mom, the radio’s dead. Hank shot it. Why would he do that, Mom?” Tears quietly streamed down her daughter’s face.

“Baby, I don’t know, but I have to try to land this plane. Put your head between your knees right now and cover your head with your arms.”

Her brave little trooper obeyed, and Jenna prayed for guidance. Taking a firm grip on the yoke, she tried to turn the plane. The rudder barely responded. Something was wrong with the ailerons. What had she forgotten?

Okay, Jenna, think. Cut your descent. Flaps down. What else can I do? Oh, God, help me remember! Help me think. There was no avoiding it: they were going to crash. She needed to strap herself in. Fumbling with one hand made it all the more difficult. “Andie, help me with the buckle.”

She had to steer away from Denali. Sultana stood to her left, towering in all her glory. If she could just get close to Kahiltna glacier, she might be able to land there. But they were too high on the mountain. She’d have to find a different place and soon. With all her might, she worked the yoke to turn west, but the mountain face rushed toward her at a terrifying pace.

Not much time left.

Lifting the nose up, she prayed for the snow to be deep enough to cushion their landing. It was all she could do. The plane barely responded to her attempts to turn it, and they raced toward the steep mountain side.

With one last cry for help, Jenna lurched as the plane dove toward the side of the mountain. Letting go of the yoke, she flung her arms over her daughter’s body inhaling Andie’s sweet scent: Citrus shampoo and a sweetness all her daughter. But she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the scene.

Metal crunched. Glass shattered and peppered her arms. The plane creaked and groaned as they impacted Sultana’s unyielding side. The sound of screaming metal surrounded them, and Jenna knew. The mountain had ripped the wings from the fuselage. Her breaths seemed hours apart as the plane pummeled the snow-packed earth underneath them.

Another desperate prayer formed in her mind—only to be blotted out when everything went from the brilliant white of the snow to deep black.


ANDIE

What’s that?

Air crossed my face like someone breathing beside me. Then something rustled next to my hand.

Wind. I feel wind. My thoughts began to clear. Why would I feel the wind inside an airplane? Memories flooded my head and chills raced up my spine. Something wasn’t right. I tried to shake off the foreboding, but the slight movement sent piercing pain screaming through my head.

Ow! Okay, that’s weird. I wasn’t used to feeling pain.

I placed a hand on my head and put slight pressure to it. Slowly, I opened my eyes.

Oh! Bright light. Wiggling within the tight confines of my seatbelt, I just about conked my head on some sort of thingy hanging in the air above me. Everything was a blur and I felt like I was spinning. Why am I spinning? The sun shone bright, and I rubbed my eyes. The spinning stopped.

Weird.

The seat belt straps were cutting off the circulation on my shoulders and squeezing the living daylights out of my stomach. I fumbled with the straps and wrestled with the buckles. Finally, I managed to unlatch them—and fell, landing on my shoulder.

Ow.

I was on the ceiling of the plane. Hanging . . . upside down? No wonder my head hurt. I was just glad I didn’t land on it.

I rubbed the sides of my head to try and clear my fuzzy mind, then climbed on my hands and knees through a hole that at one time must have been the windshield. Moving only made my dizziness worse.

“Ouchy!” My head started to hurt. Really hurt. What was the weird, zinging pain? Wait…pain? Fear swirled through me like a hurricane. The last time I felt pain, they told me I needed brain surgery. Tears slid down my icy cheeks before I could stop them. Lord, please no! No. No. Not again, God I can’t handle this, it’s too much.

Panic bubbled up inside of me. Stumbling, forcing one foot in front of the other, I kept going. I wiped away the tiny droplets feeling grit and dirt covering my face. I looked down at my upturned palms. They were covered in dirt—

And blood.

Lots of blood.

Oh, great. Spots danced in front of my eyes as the dizziness overwhelmed me.

And then there was nothing.


The stinging on the back of my head made my eyes pop open. The sky loomed above me, and if I hadn’t known better I would have said it looked threatening. How long was I out? The pain was still there, but at least my brain wasn’t so fuzzy.

Ok, Andrea, do something. Those words seemed to help me push myself to a sitting position. I took deep breaths to calm the shaking that had taken over my body. One more breath, then I reached my left hand back under my long black hair to touch the scar on the back of my neck to see if it was intact. The familiar bumpy groove greeted my fingers. I pulled my hand back with a sigh, but avoided looking at it. I didn’t feel the stickiness of blood…well, not on that hand. That must mean no blood or wounds were on my scar. But my sticky right hand haunted me, as if something fierce--like a giant, abominable snowman--lay on top of the blood, waiting to gobble me up.

The fainting happens every time. I hate blood!

Ok, Andie, just don’t think about it.

My surroundings came into focus. Snow, more snow, boulders, glass, the airplane… Uh-oh. The airplane. Hadn’t I been in the airplane? Or had I dreamed that? I glanced around—then wished I hadn’t.

Some sort of big, metal part was smashed against a rock face and the tail-rudder-thingamabob had completely fallen off and lay on the other side of the crash. There was no sign of the wings and the windshield was shattered in a million pieces that lay sparkling on the snow as they reflected the sun’s light. And lying in the middle of it all . . .

Mom!

I ran over to her. She was under one of the wings. Well, partly under one of the wings, covered in blood. Lots of blood. All over her legs. Her jacket was torn and had blood on it too.

“Mom! You have to wake up, Mom!” I shook her shoulder in an attempt to wake her. It didn’t work.

The blood… I pulled in air, then looked away before I threw up, and almost passed out again. That’s when I saw the man who fought Hank.

More blood.

Again, I jerked away, my stomach churning. Too much. Too much fear. Too much loneliness. Too much blood. I couldn’t do it. Walking away, I trudged through the snow, and sat—well more accurately, fell—on the ground. Tears spilled down my now soggy face, quickly turning to ice and sparkling on the snow as a scratchy voice inside my head said the most awful truth.

They’re dead. You’re all alone.



My Thoughts

"No Safe Haven" was an interesting adventure to the cold arctic world of Alaska with Jenna, her daughter Andrea and mysterious passenger who they will have to learn to trust to survive. The suspense and different points of view made for a very interesting story that held my interest all the way to the end. I enjoyed being able to climb in each person's head and see things through their eyes. This made the story quite believable and really fascinating.

I did have a bit of a problem with the timeline though. Things moved too fast for me in the "romance department", however, I do know that people in dire situations are more likely to develop fast feelings for each other allowing the story line still believable.

This was a really good read that is both entertaining and gives great testimony and insight to what happens when one holds onto faith. If you are a romantic suspense fan, make sure to add this one to your list of must reads!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After - Review & Giveaway

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After
Author: Steve Hockensmith
ISBN: 9781594745027
288 Pages
Price: $12.95

Synopsis (from publisher)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.

The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating “unmentionables.” But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.

My Thoughts:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After is the perfect ending to the P&P&Z trilogy. Once again we meet with our old friends, the Darcy's and the Bennets, as well as Lady Catherine and her daughter, Ann.

Written in the brilliant style that Hockensmith has perfected, Dreadfully Ever After is full of everything we've grown to expect from the previous novels in the P&P&Z trilogy, and much more. This has to be my favorite out of the trilogy, and I'm sad to see it end. Hockensmith has included the zombies and gore we all crave and is presented in a nicely told tale that has a bit of mystery and suspense that will keep you turning the pages wondering what is going to happen next. His humor (which I love the most) ranges from very subtle to causing one to laugh-out-loud and maybe even a snort or two.

When Seth Grahame-Smith started with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, he used Jane Austen's novel as his baseline to the story. When Steve Hockensmith was asked to continue the trilogy, he stepped in and created his own stories with the same flavor of both Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen making a flawless transition - a huge undertaking which he did brilliantly!

This trilogy will be one that stays on my bookshelf and I'm sure will be passed down for generations. I know in my home my teens love them as much as I do. Make sure to add Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After to your must reads for this year. If you haven't read the others, I'd suggest starting with the first - not because it is necessary, (Dreadfully Ever After can be read as a stand alone) but there's so much fun and Zombie gore you'd be missing.

This comes highly recommend by our whole family!

About the Author:

STEVE HOCKENSMITH is the author of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls and several other novels, including the Edgar Award nominee Holmes on the Range. He lives in Alameda, California.

Giveaway!!!

Quirk Books has commissioned Etsy artist SpecialMeat to create special Dreadful Antidote pendants. They will  be giving away eight of these at random to folks who give the Dreadfully Ever After page a 'like' on Facebook. Carol does amazing work, just check out these bottles!


A huge thank you to Quirk Books for supplying this book for me to honestly review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Read An E-book Week - Tons of Free Books!!!


To celebrate the 40th birthday of the first e-book, many authors and publishers have teamed up and are giving away e-books all during the week of March 6th through March 12th. There is also a giveaway for a free e-reader, so make sure to enter. Click on the above banner to for more information about this marvelous celebration. You really don't want to miss this!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Homemade Mixes


Homemade or from scratch foods and mixes can normally be made for a fraction of the cost of the convenience foods you find at the grocery store. Not only are they cheaper, but they are better tasting and you know what ingredients are in them. Look at a cake recipe and you can easily pronounce the ingredients. Now pick up a cake mix. Can you pronounce the ingredients - let alone know exactly what they are?

There are numerous mixes listed on the web, including some of my own favorites. Although there are lots out there, you really don't need to follow a mix recipe to make your own. Pull out your favorite cake recipe. You can mix all the dry ingredients together, put them in a baggie or other air tight container, label it, and put it away for the next time you want to make a cake. Now all you need to do is pull it out, add the wet ingredients, and your finished making a scratch cake with the ease of a mix! You can do the same with pancakes, brownies, etc. Just use your imagination.

Breakfast is usually the most rushed meal during the day, especially on weekdays. According to a report on Good Morning America this morning, store purchased cereals can contain up to 50% it's weight in sugar! It's so easy to make some wonderful homemade granola that you control the sugar and the ingredients to fit your family's needs and preferences. Maybe you like the ease of instant oatmeal. Did you know that you can just put one part quick oats to two parts milk in a bowl and microwave it - and it's done about as quickly as instant. If you like the flavors, add raisins and cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup, dried fruits, nuts.... the sky's the limit. Save some time by measuring out and putting a serving in a baggie with the dried fruits,nuts, & flavorings of your choice (no wet ingredients). Make enough for a week, and you'll have the ease of the packets for a fraction of the cost.

Maybe you love pancakes or waffles. On the weekend, you can cook up a batch, cool them, then stack them with a sheet of waxed paper between each one. (pancake, waxed paper, pancake, waxed paper...) then put in a container and freeze. During the week, you can pull out the amount of pancakes (or waffles) you want and just warm them up in the microwave. Waffles can be warmed in the toaster. If you have problems with the pancakes sticking together, put them single layer on a cookie sheet, then freeze for an hour or so, take them out and stack with waxed paper between each one, put in a container and freeze.

Start looking at the recipes you use most. Ask yourself if you can measure out and pack some of the ingredients ahead to save you time. Just by doing this, you'll be buying less convenience foods from the store, and making more from scratch in the same amount of time, with the wonderful taste of homemade. And the best part - you're saving money to use elsewhere!!

"In the Shadow of Evil" by Robin Caroll - FIRST Wild Card Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


In the Shadow of Evil

B&H Books (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Robin Caroll is a leading Christian suspense novelist. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Arkansas.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy and devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil tells a modern day story involving the exposure of a building rebound scam. Amidst the layers of unethical practices, supply shortages, and excess murders, a top Louisiana homicide detective loses his heart to a charitable contractor while uncovering a secret about his tragic past.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.98
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805449795
ISBN-13: 978-0805449792

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue


Eighteen Years Earlier


What a night!

Maddox turned his car into the residential area and glanced at the digital display on the dash—12:28. Great, late for curfew. He smiled. Being late was worth it when he’d had a hot date with Julie Cordon. Man, the girl was something else. Beautiful, sexy, and funny. Just being with her made him feel special. Made him forget lots of things, including time.

Besides, he was seventeen. Curfews were for kids! A senior in high school, and he had to be home by midnight? All his Pop’s doing.

Tyson Bishop…Mr. Air Force man, determined to force the entire family to live by rules and regulations.

But his dad was over foreign soil right now, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. Mom understood better, wasn’t quite the stickler about curfews like his dad. Good thing, too. Maddox was almost thirty minutes late tonight. Pop would blow his top and ground him for at least a month. Probably take away his car. But not Mom. She’d just caution him to pay closer attention to the time. Launch into the whole spiel about responsibility and accountability. He could recite it from memory.

Maddox whipped into the driveway and pressed the garage door opener. The light from the kitchen door spilled into the garage. Mom would be up…waiting. He should’ve called.

But being around Julie was like being caught in a time warp. Even the car’s interior held her smell. Light, flowery…teasing and tempting.

He killed the engine and jogged up the steps, slipping his charming smile into place. His mom had never been able to stay mad or disappointed when he flashed his dimples at her. He’d promise to mow the grass tomorrow before Pop got home, and she’d forget all about his tardiness.

He shut the garage door behind him and entered the kitchen. “Mom? I’m home.” The hint of roast lingered in the air.

The house was as silent as a tomb.

Odd. She would normally be on her feet to meet him.

He passed the kitchen’s butcher-block island and continued into the living room. A soft light filled the space beside her reading chair, but no sign of her.

“Mom?”

Maddox backtracked to the kitchen. Maybe she was in the downstairs bathroom.

“Hello?” His voice rose an octave as his pulse hammered. The bathroom door was wide open, the room dark.

Where was she?

His steps faltered as he pressed into the kitchen again. The backdoor stood open, the glass pane closest to the knob—shattered. His heart jumped into his throat.

“Mom!”

Using the agility that had garnered him the wide receiver place on the varsity football team, Maddox flew down the hall toward his parents’ bedroom. He pushed open the door with shaking hands.

His mother lay sprawled on the floor, a pool of blood staining the carpet around her. Her face pale against the dark red spilling from her chest. A metallic odor permeated the room.

What? He blinked repeatedly, his mind not processing what his eyes saw. Then…he did. And nearly vomited.

He raced to her side, lifting her head into his lap. “Mom.” Tears backed up in his eyes as he smoothed her hair.

“Mad-dy,” she croaked.

He grabbed the phone from the nightstand, the base landing on the floor with a resounding thud. He grabbed the receiver and punched in 9-1-1.

“Hang on, Mom. I’m calling for help.” Every nerve in his body stood at high alert.

“Too. Late.” She grimaced. A gurgling seeped from between her lips. Her body went slack in his arms.

“911, what is the nature of your emergency?”

He closed his eyes. Fought back scalding tears. “My mother. She’s been murdered.”



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