Friday, April 1

The Big Fear by Andrew Case

When Officer Ralph Mulino shot and killed an armed man one night he hadn’t known the man was a cop. Neither did he know that by time the scene was investigated that cops weapon would’ve disappeared and that he would then be accused of shooting an unarmed man. Leonard Mitchell, head of the Department to Investigate Misconduct and Corruption is tasked with investigating Mulino. As he digs deeper into the story he begins to uncover something deeper and more sinister. He must find a way to uncover the truth without tipping off the wrong people.

The Big Fear is a tense thriller. It a time where police involved shootings and accused misconduct seems to be regularly on the news, this story feels especially timely. While it doesn’t deal with the issue of minority victims, it still plays with the idea of corruption within law enforcement.

Monday, March 7

Lights Out by Ted Koppel

In a world with growing technological connectivity, cyberattacks are growing more and more common. As these attacks become more commonplace, there is the increasing risk that an attack could successfully target the United States’ energy system. If this were to happen, it could have a devastating effect on the country’s economy, and on the citizen’s health. The resulting blackout could last for weeks…or for months.

How prepared are we for such an event? Author Ted Koppel argues that we are not well prepared at all. While groups such as FEMA are prepared for acts of natural disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane, thy are not at all prepared for a potential nation-wide disaster. After all, we’ve seen their limitations with events such as Hurricane Katrina. And homeland security? Their recommendation is to keep a battery powered radio on hand.

Sunday, February 21

Street God by Dimas Salaberrios with Dr. Angela Hunt

Growing up on the streets of New York, Dimas had one dream: to become a Street God, a rich and powerful drug lord. He started selling drugs at the age of eleven after seeing the drug bosses in fancy cars and flaunting their wealth. It wasn’t long before he learned the dangers and risk associated with the trade. By the age of sixteen he end up in the notorious Rikers Island prison. And that was only his first stint.

Through the course of his life he was introduced to Christianity, and then to church. I won’t go into the blow by blow, so as not to spoil it for you, but at times it was a tumultuous ride. Dimas writes honestly about his experience, and doesn’t try to sugarcoat anything. His story is a gripping one, especially knowing that it’s a true story.

Tuesday, January 19

Man Enough by Nate Pyle

Does our culture’s current view of masculinity match that of a biblical view? Even further, does the view of a lot of churches and Christians match the biblical view? Pastor Nate Pyle argues that they don’t, that the idea of masculinity, or manhood, has become distorted both in our culture and in our churches.

I’ve been following Nate Pyle’s blog for a while, and when I saw that he had a book out, I couldn’t wait to read it. Pyle has a great ability to voice his thoughts while still being respectful to those who he may disagree with. His discourse is honest, passionate, and kind. I was pleased to see that all of this transferred to Man Enough.

Tuesday, January 5

House of 8 Orchids

In 1912 two brother, John and William Wade, are kidnapped in China. They are raised by master criminal, Eunuch Chang in the House of 8 Orchids, a sort of Chinese Mafia. John become one of the house’s most valuable members as an assassin and swindler. Meanwhile William develops a talent for forgery. After falling in love with a Chinese actress, William betrays Eunuch Chang and escapes from to Central China, home of fierce warlords and bandits. In order to save his brother, John must escape from Chang and find his brother before the House of 8 Orchids does.

James Thayer crafts a fast moving and intense tale. He creates a vivid portrait of mid 1930’s China and populates his novel with intense characters. I never felt like story was getting predictable, as Thayer put just enough twisters and turns in to keep me hooked.

Sunday, November 15

A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre

Kim Philby is one of history’s greatest spies. During the cold war he rose the ranks of Britain’s counterintelligence. What none of his colleagues, especially his friend Nicholas Elliott, knew was that Philby was secretly sending intelligence to Moscow. In A Spy Among Friends Ben Macintyre recounts the story of Philby, paying specific attention to the relationship between Philby and Nicolas Elliott.

From the beginning, Macintyre is careful to note that this is not a biography of Kim Philby. Rather, seeks to show the friendship between Philby and Elliott. Furthermore, much of the story is shrouded in mystery since so many files from the MI6, CIA, and KGB are locked. As such, Macintyre attempts to do the best he can from secondary sources. With those caveats, he manages to put together quite a thorough sounding story.

Wednesday, October 14

The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey

There’s a witch up in the mountain. Or so the rumor goes. Alvaretta Graves is an old widow who lives alone, and she stays secluded from those around her. Some say she’s insane, while others insist that she’s a witch. Regardless, no one wants to run across her. But when a group of teenagers stumble across her cabin, she curses them. After they return to town strange things start happening in the small town of Crow Hollow, things that no one can explain.

Author Billy Coffey has an unusual writing style. The Curse of Crow Hollow is written as if someone is telling the story, and the narrator sometimes address the reader a bit more directly and uses person pronouns to refer to himself/herself. I’m not sure if the narrator is supposed to by Coffey, or if it’s supposed to be a side member of the town who’s never directly introduced. It took a few pages to get used to it, but eventually I did. However, I found that sometimes the narrator interjections to be distracting.