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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Stars Shine Bright - Quick Paced, Smart and Savvy Mystery


The Stars Shine Bright, fifth novel in Sibella Giorello’s Raleigh Harmon series, is quick paced and quick witted, with special agent Harmon going undercover to discover who might be fixing races at a local thoroughbred horse track.

After almost losing her life in a locked stall when a fire breaks out and seeing horses come down with mysterious symptoms that are leading to their deaths, Harmon realizes there’s a lot more at stake here than someone lining their pockets.

Matching wits with the bad guys, her “aunt” (a Tennessee Williams quoting stable owner), and FBI agent Jack Stephanson keeps her on the top of her game and keeps the reader chomping at the bit for more.

Although it may be the fifth book in the series, it is the first Raleigh Harmon book I have read, and after tapping the last page on my kindle I asked myself how in the world I could have missed this fantastic crime novel series.  Raleigh Harmon has certainly risen to the top of my “favorite crime fighters” list.

Harmon is at her best with a case on her mind and a Glock in her hand, even as she struggles with affairs of the heart.   She’s smart, savvy, and sassy – all the while remaining sensitive to God’s leading.  She’s the complete package, not only a special agent but also a forensic geologist, which satisfies my geeky side. (Is that a bent toward creation science I sense, Ms. Harmon?)  She’s also a caring daughter desiring a mended relationship with her mother, who was admitted into a mental institution after a break with reality.

If you have read the previous Giorello’s books, I’m certain you will enjoy hanging out with Raleigh Harmon again.  As a newbie to the series, I am certain that I will buy the previous novels and get to know special agent Harmon a bit better.

With Kentucky-Derby-high levels of tension and excitement, The Stars Shine Bright bolts out of the gate like Secretariat on a dry track, so hold on tight.  

Courtesy copy of The Stars Shine Bright received from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hidden In Dreams - A Psychological Thriller With An End-Times Slant


Dr. Elena Burroughs, professor of psychology and author of a controversial book on dream analysis, is trying to get her chaotic life back in order.  The last thing she needs are nightmares – dreams of imminent world-wide financial anarchy.  Visions so disturbing that upon waking she has the overwhelming desire to warn anyone who will listen. But what is even more disquieting is that she is not the only one having these same visions.  Several other people around the globe are waking up in terror, driven by the insatiable need to warn the world.

Indeed the dreams are proving prophetic.   As banks close and economic upheaval ensues, Elena finds herself the spokesperson for the dreamers.  But as a believer in Christ and a believer in dreams that can be prophetic, the question foremost in her mind is - are these dreams divine in origin or from a more carnal source, a source with eyes on a global power grab?

Davis Bunn’s latest offering Hidden In Dreams is a psychological thriller with an end-times slant.  The plot places itself in diverse arenas such as the pharmaceutical industries, economic institutes, and the field of psychology.  Although the pacing is tense throughout, it is not action driven by car chases or gunplay.  It is cerebral in nature – a cat and mouse  (or dreamer and deceiver) game played out on an international stage.

The heroine and her love interest are both devoted Christians, and through them, Bunn brings to the fore the necessity of trusting scripture over signs and wonders.  A valid point well executed.

Hidden In Dreams is an intriguing novel that doesn’t seem too far removed from today’s headlines.  It is an intellectually gripping yarn that will not leave you yawning. 

Courtesy copy of Hidden In Dreams received through Howard Books in exchange for an honest review.