Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mystery, thrills and suspense from contemporary Catholic writers

I was sorting through a bunch of goodies that I picked up last August at the combined Catholic Writers Guild/New Media/Marketing Network conference and thought I would pass them on to you, before I "file" them (you know what that means). Among other things, I nabbed a number of marketing cards for novels written by members of the Catholic Writers Guild, and I thought I would commend these books to your consideration (even though I have not read most of them). A few that don't get mentioned here will be noted over on my Catholic Science Fiction blog. Today, I thought I would focus on suspense and mystery titles. Here goes:

Unbridled Grace by Michael J. Norman
Unbridled Grace: A True Story about the Power of Choice, by Michael J. Norman. This one actually is not fiction, but fact. The author is a chiropractor from right here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, whose true story sounds like a best-selling thriller. Dr. Norman got dragged into a rats' nest of intrigue when he unknowingly got involved with a Russian money-laundering ring under investigation by the FBI. The book's web site describes the story this way:
Unbridled Grace is the true story of how one man rises from the forces of evil through his renewed faith in Christ and takes the reader on a journey to redemption through the bold use of our power of choice for God. Along the way, Michael meets a dynamic Catholic parish priest who gives him the courage to forge a path through this crisis and a hard-working attorney who joins him in this monumental battle. Will their efforts be enough to free the author and his family from this nightmare? It is at this time that a series of seemingly miraculous occurrences begin and the reader is shown what courage, faith and the power of heartfelt prayer can bring to all of our lives when all else appears hopeless.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

An Odd and most-endearing protagonist

Odd Thomas mass market paperback cover, Dean Koontz
I've been reading Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas stories lately, supernatural thrillers with an unusual twist. Generally speaking, I'm not interested in supernatural or paranormal stories, but I like Odd Thomas, the protagonist who sees dead people and bodachs (dark, wispy spirits who sniff out violent death before it occurs), and who can track soon-to-be mass murderers using something he calls psychic magnetism. What I like about Odd is the fact that he is, in many ways, quite an ordinary young fellow, but one with a great sense of responsibility for his fellow man. Although his strange "gift" is obviously a burden to him, he does not complain or whine about it (or about anything else), but regards it as a talent he has been given for the good of others.
Nonetheless, he does not use it to become a sort of paranormal hero, going around seeking out evil to foil it before it happens. He knows, instinctively, that he needs to balance his peculiar gift with a perfectly ordinary life, one that is quite dull compared to the situations into which his unique abilities draw him. He has no personal ambition, other than to live a long and happily uneventful life with his girlfriend, Stormy Llewellyn; he is blissfully happy as a fry cook at a small-town diner and, on those rare occasions that he does consider a job change, his top picks are working in a tire store or shoe shop. Of course, a man with his God-given gift is doomed to a life much more eventful and challenging than the one to which he aspires.

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