Wednesday, August 29, 2007

CFBA Tour Spotlights: The Dead Whisper on, by T. L. Hines

Along with my review at the end of this post, please visit my interview with Tony that I did last year. It may be a bit dated, but he spills a lot of interesting info. Here's the link:

Tony's Interview


Would You Run Into A Burning Building?

Candace "Canada Mac" MacHugh lives a ghost of her former life.

Once a proud Butte, Montana, miner who daily risked her life setting explosives, she's now a garbage collector in her dying hometown.

Her beloved father is dead and she doesn't speak to her mom. More than anything, Candace Mac misses her father. He promised to contact her from the "other side" if he could...but it's been eleven long years. And now even her beloved city of Butte, Montana, seems to be dying off.

Candace Mac is alone. Longing for the past. Dreaming of making a difference.

Until one night when her father's voice speaks to her from the shadows. Bud MacHugh's trademark growl. The dead, it seems, have messages they hunger to share with the world...warnings of impending disasters and grave danger. Of cities doomed to burn.

But they need Canada's help.


Tony is the author of the acclaimed Waking Lazarus. He has been an advertising agency owner/principal, a trade amgazine editor, and now a novelist.

He has been a professional writer for more than 15 years with articles appearing in publications as varied as Log Homes, Conservative Theological Journal, and Travel & Leisure. He is also Creative Director at Montana's largest advertising agency.

His long list of past odd jobs includes trimming Christmas trees, sorting seed potatoes, working the graveyard shift at a convenience store, and cleaning cadaver storage rooms.

As a teen he was undefeated in air guitar competitions in which he performed songs by ZZ Top.

He lives in Montana with his wife and daughter.


Butte, Montana’s glory days are gone—mining has dwindled down to nothing and its dear Berkeley Pit, once yielding copper and other precious metals, is now a contaminated lake of hazardous contaminants.

“Canada Mac” MacHugh, a miner turned sanitation worker, has waited 11 years for her father, Bud MacHugh, to contact her from the grave. One morning at work, a wispy, shadowy swirl speaks her name and asks to meet with her later on that day. Canada has little trouble believing that Bud really exists on the other side and has finally contacted her. She longs to be with him so much that she agrees to fake her own death in order to join his organization of the undead.

Having put away her old life, she associates herself with her father’s operatives. Her job now is to help prepare people all over the United States for disaster and give hope to those who have survived one.

But trouble lies in wait for the citizens of Butte, who start to spontaneously combust throughout town. What is causing this deadly event and can it be stopped?

Join Canada in her adventure to make sense of the world of shadows, the stranger who stalks her at every turn, and the plight of her beloved Butte.

Though I love novels with twists, turns, and slap-you-upside-the-face moments, it’s hard to write a thorough review of them without giving too much away. So suffice it to say the reader will be surprised, perhaps a bit confused, and possibly a little freaked out by this story. For many of us, that’s a great thing.

I remember thinking repeatedly while reading this book: “This is so Koontzian, really Koontzian,”—referring, of course, to Dean Koontz’ penchant for weird supernatural phenomena. For the record, I enjoy Hines more. After all, it only takes so many homicidal maniacs chasing regular Joes around the country until I’m ruined.

Hines, in addition to putting out haunting and suspenseful stuff, can bring up questions that will keep one pondering for an undetermined amount of time. He also has an awesome interactive website and message board with perks for those readers who want to plunge in headlong to the world that is T. L. Hines.

The Book Link

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CFBA presents: The Void, by Mark Mynheir

The Truth Chasers Book Three

Someone’s trying to play God…and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.

So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.

But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.

The Book Link

Mark Mynheir is a cop writer. He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One) and From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two).

During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Mark and his wife, Lori, live with their three children in central Florida.


Though The Void is labeled “general suspense” on the back cover, it has a sci-fi plot--demon inhabitation of clone bodies. Yes, it is suspenseful, but it reads more like a sci-fi mystery.

Robbie Sanchez works homicide cases for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Ever since her father was killed in the line of duty, she has determined she will rid the streets of criminals. A workaholic, she pushes away any real relationships and substitutes work in their place.

When a Palm Bay detective is murdered, Robbie and her fellow officers must investigate the crime. It seems to be the work of a cop killer. But the discovery of more clues bring attention to a large scientific research facility called Lifetex. The CEO claims ignorance, but the center is searching for more than cures for diseases. Secretly, clones have been created and await their first breaths in the world. But have they unleashed hell in the process?

Mynheir, in an engaging and clear fashion, explores pushing the moral boundaries of science. He hypothesizes through story what clones would be like should any be successfully produced.

The author brings forth the theme of spiritual warfare as well. Do Christians look any different than other humans in the spirit realm? How do we, as believers, fight unseen evil? Should up-close opposition to Christ cause us to fight more aggressively for what we believe?

I enjoyed The Void—it is well-written and thought out. The Christian worldview is clearly explained and Christian characters provide the example sufficient to bring another character to Christ.

Entertaining and thought-provoking, Mynheir pens something here that I know a lot of speculative fiction fans (especially sci-fi lovers) have pondered for years. This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last novel dealing with cloning and the reality of demons. I really enjoyed this supernatural suspense/sci-fi double whammie. Pick up a copy and judge for yourself—you’ll be glad you did.

Monday, August 20, 2007

CSFF Tour August book: Legend of the Firefish, by George Bryan Polivka

It has been so long since I read this book, I'm having a hard time writing the review for it. I know, I know, I should write the review immediately after reading the book--I was guilty of procrastination this time, and did not do so.

I do remember a few specific things about the novel that I will mention here. Firstly, I remember the story being well-written. It never left a bad taste in my mouth, made me confused, or lost me. The omniscient POV threw me for a while, but after I got used to it, I enjoyed it.

Secondly, I felt that the actual firefish had little to do with the plot. Yes, it is the desired prize for every pirate and seafarer in the book. However, there was no real answer to the mystery about the firefish. Except for the fact that it was very smart and deadly, we learn little else about it. I expected a little more excitement (besides a few gory boat chases) near the end of the story regarding the firefish and its roll in the history of Nearing Vast and the Vast Sea. Perhaps more will be told in the next novel.

Polivka drew the other characters in the book (such as the protagonist, Packer Throme, Panna Seline, his love, Talon, and Scat) expertly and with great depth. The firefish even got its own POV sections, which were interesting by their own right.

I do think fantasy lovers of all kinds will enjoy this, and thankfully we can look forward to two more installments of the Trophy Case Trilogy.

The Book Link

Visit Bryan's Blog Here

Visit other tour member's blogs for additional reviews, interviews and information:

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
Lisa Cromwell
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Merrie Destefano
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Russell Griffith
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Terri Main
Rachel Marks
Karen McSpadden
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Robin Parrish
Lyn Perry
Deena Peterson
Cheryl Russel
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver
Janey DeMeo

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

CFBA book of the week: And if I Die, by John Aubrey Anderson

I enjoyed the first two books in this series--the supernatural element intrigued me. For some reason, I didn't ask for a copy of this book (I have no idea why, except maybe that I've had to scale back on reviews due to time issues), so I don't have a review. But I hope everyone will join me in checking out the other members' reviews--I'm sure this novel will be well-liked.


AND IF I DIE is the third book in the Black and White Chronicles. The first was Abiding Darkness (August, 2006), the second was Wedgewood Grey (February, 2007).

In 1945, a spirit voice told Mr. A. J. Mason to “Be ready.”

In 1960, the spirit drew near and said the same words to the same man. “Be ready.”

On both occasions Mason ended up in bloody battles with the forces of evil. On both occasions, he saved the life of a young girl named Missy Parker. And on both occasions good people died.

It’s 1968.Missy Parker has been married to Dr. Patrick Patterson for nine years; they live in Denton, Texas. Missy plays tennis and golf; Pat is chairman of the philosophy department at North Texas State University.

Mose Washington, a black man Missy refers to as her almost-daddy, is hiding behind a new name—Mose Mann. Mose and the young black man who poses as his grandson have spent eight years successfully evading the FBI, a murderous congresswoman, and creatures from the demonic realm. They now live in Pilot Hill, Texas—fifteen miles from Pat and Missy. Mose is committing the autumn of his life to the pursuit of the knowledge of God and the protection of his “grandson”. His “grandson” is interested in honing his skills as a bull rider.

Close friends see portents of danger in events of the early summer and converge on Pilot Hill to warn the two black men that yet another confrontation with malevolent beings may be looming.

In the pre-dawn hours, on the second day of the North Texas Rodeo, the voice of an invisible being speaks to Missy Parker Patterson. The voice warns her that it is now she, not A. J. Mason, who has been chosen as the person who needs to “Be ready” . . . and Missy doesn’t want the job.

The Book Link

John grew up in Mississippi cotton country. After graduating from Mississippi State, he received an Air Force commission and has recently retired after flying twenty-eight years for a major airline. He lives in Texas with his wife, Nan.