Tag Archives: thriller

Blog Tour! Review: Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

Secrets. Vendettas. Revenge. Anger. Danger.

Randy Singer, a lawyer-pastor-author, always finds a way to weave intrigue and mystery into a gripping legal thriller. I have read two of his other books, including The Last Plea Bargain. I love the knowledge that he is able to incorporate into his books, because I leave feeling like not only have I enjoyed a great story, but I have also learned something about the legal system that I hadn’t known before. So, I was definitely excited to jump into this novel when I heard it was coming out.

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales is an intriguing story about a football player criminal who gets a second chance given to him when he passes his interview after law school that let him become a practicing lawyer. Until then, he didn’t know if his dreams of changing the world by becoming a lawyer were going to come true. He changed while he was in prison. Somehow, when the Gospel was presented to him there, it made sense, and he decided that it was his mission was to instill hope in those who had been accused and felt like they had no where else to go. He decided the law was his avenue for doing this.

If being approved by the Character and Fitness Committee wasn’t enough of a second chance, after a month or so of searching desperately for a job, Landon got handed a great job with a top lawyer in a chance meeting at the courthouse. He was ecstatic; things were finally starting to fall into place. His news-casting wife and he were both doing what they loved, what they felt passionate about, and their family was starting to match their dreams. But all of that was going to change in an extremely short amount of time.

When lines start getting mixed and crossed both at home and at the office, Landon and Kerri start wondering if everything is actually as it should be. Landon gets mixed up in a case that leaves his office in a tailspin of horror and confusion when their best lawyer is murdered while working on a high profile case, and Kerri finds herself torn between supporting Landon and possibly being offered a journalists dream working for a secretive and controversial firm in Washington, D.C.  Landon battles between fear and the need to care for his family and a sense of loyalty and devotion to the man that offered him his first job out of the kindness of his heart. Things continue to escalate, people start to disappear, until . . . well, this isn’t a spoiler post. Read it for yourself! Here, I’ll get you started with the first chapter . . .

Now, for a review. As usual, I loved Singer’s fast pace and exciting story line. He is a master of weaving together a story of intrigue, and it is always backed with extremely good information, since he is writing from real experience. This fact has served him well in all of his books and lends a good measure of integrity to his writing. On top of all of this, he knows how to create and interact with characters on a very real and human level while still maintaining deep truths and ideas about faith and life.

I have only a few critiques of this book, and most of them are because I have already read his others, and so perhaps had higher expectations. The other two books that I have read: The Last Plea Bargain and The Justice Game both dealt with highly controversial issues. Though Singer doesn’t tell you what to think, he lays both sides out on the table and gives you just enough to force you to think through the issue on your own. I was really excited to see what issue he was going to deal with in Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales, but sadly it wasn’t there. There are definitely issues still, perhaps he was dealing with second chances or grace, but certainly there was no overarching issue like gun control or the death penalty as the previous books have had.

Another issue that I had with the book was that, the last few chapters try to weave in the Gospel. There are very small mentions of faith at different points of the book, but I was disappointed that the faith did not seem extremely real. It felt like it was an addition, rather than what faith truly is, a way of life. I appreciate Randy Singer writing from a Christian worldview, and I also appreciate him wanting to include the Gospel in his novel, but I feel that if it is not given priority and a high level of importance, than in reality we are just doing the Gospel a disservice. Faith is not an addition to life, it is life, and I felt that that wasn’t clearly portrayed through this story. (Please watch this, because although that was my own perception, that is not Singer’s goal at all!) 

My final criticism was that I felt at times that there were a few too many threads going on in the story, that perhaps it was a bit busy: too many affairs, too many angry characters, too much conflict. I know, how can I criticize a thriller for having too much action and conflict, right?! But, in my mind, each action needs to feed the story, the plot. If the affair or the conflict is extraneous, then it is weakening the important ones. But, that was just my personal opinion while reading the story.

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I definitely recommend this book. If you like thrillers and legal fiction, you will definitely like this story! But before you start, I encourage you to check out a little bit more about Randy Singer. Read this Q&A to get a little bit of an idea of where he was coming from, what his goals for this book were, and how he hopes it will impact his readers.

Now . . . if I haven’t persuaded you to buy the book yet, check out these other great bloggers who have also read it:

The Christian Manifesto

Cycleguy’s Spin

A Peek at my Bookshelf

Melissa’s Musings

I Am Believing God

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I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The Twelfth Imam: Review

Most of you know that I live in Istanbul. Naturally, I have an interest in things related to the Middle East. The Twelfth Imam, which my husband had read a couple of years ago, was a really fun read. I’d been having a little bit of trouble jumping into a book as I had been swamped with research and writing for the last few months. But, thankfully, this one got me out of my rut!

The Twelfth Imam is written by Joel Rosenberg who has been studying and writing on issues related to the Middle East, Israel, and religion for the last several years. This book feels very well informed, which makes it a more interesting read. Rosenberg starts his book off with the great, but little known American story of Argo. (By the way, a great film! Something American’s should know about!) Argo was a secret operation undertaken during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979. The Twelfth Imam starts here and follows the story of an American and Iranian family who escape the tumultuous country of Iran to the safety of America. Years later, the families have settled in small American towns, had children, and started new lives. When the youngest children are teenagers, the fathers get back in touch, and they attend a company retreat the weekend before America was forever changed by the acts of a few men on planes.

September 11 drastically changed the lives of some members of these families, and they set in motion the events that would drive the rest of the book. From a successful New England doctor’s son to a high-ranking CIA position, David Shirazi is going to serve his country and his family well by entering a country on the verge of perfecting their nuclear weapons base. At the same time, the Islamic world was turned upside down by the ascent of the Twelfth Imam, the prophesied leader who would come to usher in peace in the last times.

David is in a race to try and find the crucial information that will keep the world from seemingly falling apart, be it by nuclear weapons or mass conversion. Will he be able to protect those who mean the most to him? Will he be able to set aside the rest of his life for the good of his country?

The Twelfth Imam is a thrilling and fast paced book. The story line is well-developed, and there was little to criticize regarding the writing or the plot line. This is the first in a series of books, and I’m sure that you’ll be interested in picking up the second immediately after finishing the first! I think that this book would be especially beneficial to read as a family to address issues of faith, religion, and current events in the world. Rosenberg’s books do not contain any objectionable material, which makes them suitable for a family context, and while he does not dictate your thoughts, he does give a clear presentation of events that ought to be discussed with young people in today’s world.

My one criticism, if it can even be called that, is that Rosenberg does raise some issues (from a Christian standpoint) that are not easy questions to answer. Perhaps it is because of that that he does not give a clear answer as to what he believes is happening, but I think that some of his questions are really important to understand. The biggest issue is this: does God, and if He does, how does He use dreams and visions for His modern purposes? This is a real issue that we are facing in the world today. This issue is raised in The Twelfth Imam, but Rosenberg does not give much indication as to his own thoughts on the matter. He leaves it to us to run to the Bible and find our answers. What do you think? Does God use dreams and visions today? What would be your response to someone who said that they learned about Jesus from a dream?

I would honestly recommend this book to anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, or religion. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story and your answers to some of the questions!

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Don’t forget, if you are looking for something good to read, check out my page of suggestions!!

The Canary List: Review

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12

Do demons exist? Have you ever encountered cosmic powers in this present darkness? I don’t often think very heavily about demons and their place in my world, but this book, The Canary List, will make you reconsider the topic.

I love thrillers and suspense novels, and furthermore I love books that make me think. This book fit both of those categories. I would not recommend The Canary List: A Novel for everyone, but if you’re willing to be skeptical and intrigued for a couple of hours, this is a good book in which to do it. Sigmund Brouwer raises a lot of questions about religion, angels, demons, right and wrong, and does so in a fascinating and fast-paced novel.

The novel is set in modern day America and Rome and centers around members of the Catholic church, a young girl, and an unsuspecting school teacher. The book spans only a week or so, and there are chases, interrogations, kidnappings, near-deaths, lies and a lot of mystery.

Probably a wise move, Brouwer leaves the reader with a less than satisfying answer regarding his stance on demons and angels. After closing the book you will have to make the decision for yourself, but you will definitely be challenged to critically think through the topic while reading. The characters in the book are themselves split over the idea of demons, exorcism and cults within the Catholic church, so you can imagine that you’ll hear arguments for both sides.

As a critical review of the story itself, I found myself completely enthralled in the story and flew through the book. Part of me was confused for a while, because there was something that failed to completely grab me in the writing, but the story had me. This could be attributed to the fact that most of the suspense novels that I have enjoyed have been written by the same 2 or 3 authors. I have grown accustomed to their style and Brouwer’s was slightly different from theirs. I cannot pinpoint his style exactly, so you will just have to read it for yourself. Again, from a critical standpoint, I was happy with the flow and timing of the book. I didn’t feel lost or like things had been made up or left out, though the meaning to the title came fairly late in the book. In a sense, I hope that the book isn’t very plausible, because I don’t really want to see this happening in our world, but at the same time it was very believable.

If you have a few hours to spare, then head on over here to read the first chapter, and you’ll be hooked!

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I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group to review. I received it through their Blogging for Books program which allows bloggers to sign up and receive free books in order to write reviews for the Publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.