Monday, December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Mr. Hilley is probably tired of being compared to John Grisham. But, hey, there are worse authors to be compared to, no?
Sober Justice is a solid, well-written crime novel with an interesting spiritual twist. Our hero, Mike Connolly is a lawyer whose life is pretty much in the toilet. Hooked on gin, divorced, estranged from his daughter and living with an exotic dancer, he’s not the stereotypical protagonist in a Christian novel. Mike is assigned a case by a judge who considers it to be cut-and-dried: a black man with a felony record accused of capital murder in the death of a prominent citizen. But, as Mike digs into the case, oddities begin showing up almost immediately. As you’d expect, he embarks on a twisting and perilous road to discover the truth about the crime. His investigative efforts are both inhibited and, at the same time, oddly enhanced as he discovers himself —or perhaps better, is discovered (you’ll see what I mean)—at the same time.
Mr. Hilley takes us on an incredibly detailed journey through the city of Mobile Bay in deep South bayou country as you follow Mike’s steps in uncovering evidence and protecting his client from a corrupt legal community. We learn as much about the local environment of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ as we do about the legal processes constraining his capital murder case. Intricately researched and intensely written, we sweat with Mike in the relentless heat and humidity of the Gulf coast, burn with frustration as he is beset at both the personal and professional levels by those who have no confidence in him, and muse with him as he wonders what God is trying to tell him through spiritual trials and revelations that come at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways.
This is a must-read for those who enjoy a good crime thriller coupled with a unique story of redemption. Sober Justice is the first in the Mike Connolly Mystery series. According to Mr. Hilley’s Web site, this book is currently out of print, but there are still some copies available by ordering through the Web site.
Great story. Worth waiting for.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
(Click cover for more information)
This is my first foray into the young adult thriller genre, and I entered with guarded expectations. Modern young adult readers have been conditioned to supernatural worlds largely without boundaries through the imaginations of writers such as JK Rowling and Lemony Snicket. Therefore, the Christian writer nudging this genre must marry other-worldly story lines into a Christian world view gingerly, as there exists the danger of contorting one or the other beyond reason in the attempt to achieve a believable, peaceful coexistence between them.
In House of Dark Shadows, Robert Liparulo unfolds an intriguing tale of horror and adventure, capturing the teenage perspective wonderfully through the mind of 15-yeard old Xander King. Xander and his family have moved from their LA home to a backwoods upstate community where his father has accepted a high school principal’s job. They move into an old Victorian-style house that has a dark history, one that it immediately begins to relive. Strange things begin to happen to Xander’s family, things that lead to a reenactment of the horrific event that lent the house its notoriety.
Mr. Liparulo sets the stage, and acts out a couple of the scenes, that tickle the reader’s attention and forces the next page turn. Toward the end of this first installment of the Dreamhouse Kings series, the truth bursts out about the family and the house…but you’ll have to dig into the next volume, Watcher in the Woods, for any resolution. Yup, it’s gonna leave you hanging.
House of Dark Shadows is well written and very entertaining. I must confess, though, that I’m still waiting for any hint of the Christian perspective to emerge, however. It need not be blatant—in fact, it hopefully won’t be blatant—when it does emerge. However, as of the final page of this book, there’s no hint of such an attempt to achieve that believable coexistence. Perhaps that, too, is resolved in the next volume.