Monday, April 25, 2005

Book Review: Poor Mrs. Rigsby by Kathy Herman

Book ReviewThis is the first book I've read by Kathy Herman. Poor Mrs. Rigsby is both a murder mystery and morals lesson on the pitfalls of loving money. It was a surprisingly good read, and I found myself more compelled to read the more I read. The last half of the book kept me wanting for more.

Kathy Herman delivers the message that "...the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" in a way that any reader can appreciate. I know many readers who either don't enjoy Christian fiction or who are not believers in the Christian faith would never even consider picking up a novel by a Christian writer. Let me just say that they are cheating themselves out of some fine reading enjoyment. I count several Christian authors among some of the best authors I've read, including Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, and Bill Myers. In fact, Ted Dekker is probably the best suspense author I've read, and if you can't imagine a Christian horror story, maybe you should check out Frank Peretti. I may soon add Kathy Herman to that list. She writes a good, solid mystery that should keep you turning the pages, even if you don't like Christian fiction. I will soon be reading more of her works.

Tell me what you think.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

On Sex Offenders

A cursory glance at the headlines over the past few weeks is enough to reveal a frightening reality: our justice system is not working when it comes to rehabilitating sex offenders. Look at these recent headlines;
Each and every one of the perpetrators in these stories had been convicted in the past of sexual offenses, was released from prison, and returned to his old ways of preying on children. What are our lawmakers doing to prevent this? How many innocent children have to die at the hands of these beasts before someone stands up and puts a stop to it?

As you can see in the articles listed, every one of these incidents involved a known, registered
sex offender. If they're registered, and the registry does not help prevent such heinous crimes from being repeated, is this Sex Offender Registry a useful thing, or just a waste of taxpayer dollars? They obviously aren't being rehabilitated before their release. How would you rather have the government spend your taxpayer dollars:
  • Administration of a Sex Offender Registry that is obviously not working?
  • Keeping these perverts incarcerated where they can never harm another innocent child?
A no-brainer, right? I agree! Of course, running the Sex Offender Registry probably created jobs. Someone has to keep it going, and shutting it down would probably put them out of work. But if they aren't getting the job done, are they really worth what we're paying them? Unfortunately, if you want job security in the world today, you have to be successful at what you do.

And others will argue that keeping offenders incarcerated is costly and there isn't enough room to house them all. I ask you one simple question: what is more costly, the price of continued incarceration or the loss of an innocent young child? I don't think there's any room for arguement there.

So what can you do now? Contact your Senators and Representatives. Tell them that you expect them to do something to put an end to the senseless slaughter of our children by these convicted perverts. Write them. Call them. Email them. Do it today!

And let me know how (and if) they respond.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Book Review: Breaker's Reef by Terri Blackstock

Book ReviewI just finished reading Breaker's Reef, by Terri Blackstock. It's the fourth book in her "Cape Refuge" series. The book, and the series, is set on a small island in Georgia, with a small town police force, small town newspaper, and small town problems -- getting a taste of big town crime. Terri Blackstock is a former Harlequin Romance novelist who has heard the call of God and now uses her talent in the Christian fiction genre. I've never read any of her Harlequin Romance novels (none, in fact, are even listed on her website), but I have read most of the novels she's written since her conversion. She is an accomplished author and does a good job of telling her story and keeping the reader involved.

When I read a book -- especially a mystery (which is what most of
Terri Blackstock's books are), I'm constantly trying to solve the mystery as early as I possibly can. I think most readers of mysteries are that way. I picked out my perp early in Breaker's Reef and read on, looking for clues to convict him. The author planted several throughout the book, along with a few teasers to try to lure me away from my suspect. But I didn't give in. In most mysteries -- especially those that are part of a series -- you can usually count on the guilty party being someone new to town. Rarely will an author kill off one of their regular characters (unless, of course, you're reading Stephen King, who killed off the entire town of Castle Rock in Needful Things). There are a few new characters in Breaker's Reef, but only one who truly stands out as a suspect.

Maybe that's what had me fooled. Up to the very last chapter, he seemed to be the one (I won't spoil it by giving his name here -- you'll have to read the book yourself for that). But in the closing pages, the author throws a curveball (not a very creative one, I must say, but it did the trick nonetheless) and surprised even me. I've successfully picked out the killer in most of
Terri Blackstock's books, and felt a little cheated at the slight of hand that was pulled off at the end of this book to prove me wrong. I just don't believe an author should plant so much evidence throughout the story, only to make it all meaningless in the end.

I guess you'll have to read the book yourself to see what I'm talking about. Even with the disappointing ending, I still found the book an enjoyable read, and the teaser for her next book, Last Light, has me eagerly awaiting it's publication.

Read the book, read the series, and don't forget to check out two of her other compelling series: "Newpointe 911" and "Suncoast Chronicles".

And after you read them, tell me what you think.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Book Review: THR3E by Ted Dekker

Book ReviewI've spent most of my life in the middle of reading one book or another. I've never thought to count them, but I've read probably thousands of books in my lifetime. There aren't many books that I've enjoyed so much that I've read them more than once, but there have been a few: Tolkienn's The Hobbit, The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub, Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Orwell's 1984, Black by Ted Dekker, and, most recently, Thr3e by Ted Dekker.

One of the most satisfying things about reading a book again for the second time is that you already know what's going to happen. Really! I know, you're thinking that takes all the fun out of it. But really, that is the best way to read a book. On your second pass through a book, you don't have to worry so much about getting the plot down and getting to know the characters. You can delve deeper, look for clues that you missed the first time that might have helped you to see the end coming.

THR3E is a psychological Christian thriller that should appeal to readers of every genre. There's a little suspense, a little horror, a little comedy, and lots of mystery. Imagine you're driving down the road and your cell phone rings. You answer only to be warned that in three minutes your car will be blown up unless you confess. Confess to what? You'll have to solve a riddle first.

Ted Dekker takes you through the mind of Kevin Parson, a 28-year old seminary student with a past he isn't proud of. Yet this childhood comes back to haunt Kevin in a way only Dekker could dream up. Dekker breaks the Christian fiction mold with this suspense-packed thriller. If I hadn't told you, you wouldn't even know it was Christian fiction.

READ IT. Read it TWICE! It's definitely better the second time around.

Then tell me what you think.


Friday, April 1, 2005

April Fools Day

April Fool's Day. It has to be one of the strangest observances of the year -- pulling practical jokes on people for seemingly no reason. But what, really, is the reason? Why all the hassle and fuss, just for a cheap laugh that never turns out to be as funny as we expected?

Way back in the 16th century the New Year was a week long celebration that started on March 25th and ended on April 1st. Bear with me for a moment, and you'll see where this is going.

So March 25th, for some reason, was actually considered New Years Day. How a new year can possibly begin before a new month, I can't tell you. Go figure. Maybe that's why they changed it by adopting the Gregorian calendar, which changed New Years Day to January 1st. This was in France, originally, though it obviously took hold worldwide eventually.

But it seems in all the confusion that some people either weren't told, or didn't want to change, and they continued to observe New Years celebrations during the last week of March. Naturally, these people were thought to be a little crazy by the conformists in French society. With the New Years celebrations ending on April 1st, those who embraced the Gregorian calendar took to calling those who resisted it the "April Fools."

As the resisters started to change their way of thinking, it became more of just a fun way to remember the old New Years celebrations they used to have by pranking friends and loved ones. In France today, they refer to someone who falls for an April Fools gag as a Poisson d'Avril, literally meaning April Fish.

The British, being the latest society to adopt the Gregorian calendar more than 100 years after the French, actually get credit for bringing the tradition to America. The rest, my friend, is history.

Do you have any April Fools pranks planned this year? A good one from the past? Or maybe you were the butt of someone else's prank in the past.

Drop me a note and tell me about it.


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