Admittedly, I haven’t had much time to read lately, and when I do, my first choice is often non-fiction. I'm a sucker for inspirational, self-help material. What I failed to realize is that I could find those same qualities in a good Christian fiction book. Sandwiched within a great storyline, interesting characters and a riveting plot, inspiration can abound and many lessons can be gleaned.
Who would have thunk?
Clearly NOT someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time reading Christian fiction. Boy oh boy have I been missing out.
Marked for Murder is Joanie Bruce’s first published novel and what a remarkable effort right out of the chute. I'm in awe of those, like Joanie, who can write fiction. The vision and creativity required is beyond anything I can fathom. I’m not the kind of person who can walk into a bare room and bring it to life with my imagination. Give me some ideas or maybe a few rules to follow and I’m good to go. But a blank slate? Not my strong suit. My fiction author friends disagree, but I find fiction writing far more difficult than non-fiction and I’m always extra impressed when I find a great read.
And that’s what this book is, a great read.
314 pages of suspense and romance. I forgot how much I love getting lost in a good book. The kind of book that you’ll pick up every chance you get, even when you know you barely have time to eek out another few pages. I found myself doing this over and over again with Marked for Murder.
I was particularly moved by the threads of Christian life woven throughout. It was natural, not forced, and totally plausible. Characters who are devout believers interacting with those who are not; thoughts, feelings and actions on both sides of the fence. Their stories are intriguing and their challenges captured my interest.
While the main plot is clearly a murder mystery, Joanie injects rich subplots of romance and faith without detracting from the intensity of the mystery. The swirl of intrigue on all counts was exciting!
I was most captured, though, by the reassuring message of God’s love and faithfulness. It was a comforting reminder that whether on our best day, or worst of the worst, he is always present and always on our side.
I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Marked for Murder. You can also find out more about Joanie at joaniebruce.com and www.facebook.com/joaniebruce. Her website has a link to her blog, as well as to her artwork.