Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rugged Reads

As I glance through the listing of all the books I've read this past year, I notice half of my favorites are written by men. Now considering that women comprise the majority of Christian fiction writers, I find that interesting.

I love mystery/suspense/thriller type of books that have a million loose threads to weave together. It's nice to have a little romance thrown in, but in edge-of-the-seat reading, I don't want romance to be the major storyline. In my opinion, male writers are better at this than women.

I also enjoy a story with a sports background as games can be a telling metaphor for life. Again, I usually prefer the male voice when it comes to sports stories.

My husband and I even enjoy many of the same books, so it's with his help that I put this list together (in no particular order) for those searching for a gift for that special man in their life.

A Season of Miracles by Rusty Whitener - A team of little leaguers learn life lessons when they ask an autistic phenom to join their team. This is a must-read for everyone. Fathers. Sons. Even mothers and daughters. It's beautifully written. One moment you're laughing and the next you're crying. This may be my favorite read this year.

Tomorrow We Die by Shawn Grady - After attempting to save a man's life, a paramedic wishes to honor the dying man's wish and is thrown into a mystery that may just cost him his own life. This is Shawn Grady's (a real life firefighter and EMT) second novel and I was thrilled to see his writing growth from book one to book two. It's a fast-paced story with intriguing characters.

Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand - When an evangelist's daughter turns up missing, a burned out homicide detective follows his gut and searches for her where no one else can imagine and he won't back down no matter the cost. This is Bertrand's solo debut novel (he co-authored Beguiled with Deeanne Gist) and it's a phenomenal debut. If you like Micheal Connelly's Harry Bosch stories, be sure to give Back on Murder a try.

Blaze of Glory by Major Jeff Struecker and Alton Gansky - A string of female suicide bombers sends a special ops team overseas to stop the bombings and to thwart possible heads-of-state assassinations. In this sequel to Certain Jeopardy, Struecker (of Black Hawk Down fame) and Gansky capture the reader with non-stop action.

The Bishop by Steven James - In book #4 of the Patrick Bowers series (see The Pawn review on this blog), James once again keeps readers guessing as an FBI Special Agent tracks the murderer of a congressman's daughter. If you love jolts of adrenaline, then you'll have to read this series by Steven James. James stories are always complex and he excels in misdirection. In my opinion, James is by far the best writer of thrillers in Christian fiction, if not all fiction.

Hero's Tribute by Graham Garrison - Dying from cancer, a hometown hero (for his high school football excellence and decorated military service) asks a reporter, whom he's never met, to deliver the eulogy at his funeral. As the reporter digs into the hero's life he discovers secrets that may greatly alter the town's opinion. In a time when we herald sports figures and Hollywood celebrities as heroes, Garrison, in his debut novel, helps us discover the true definition of Hero.

Danger Close by Lt. William G. Boykin and Tom Morrisey - A highly decorated Army special forces veteran is asked to go undercover in Afghanistan to stop a potential mass terrorism plot in the United States. But in order to save the country, he is asked to leave behind family and friends and all he knows. Forever. Readers of Vince Flynn should enjoy this peek into the world of secret ops that gives the reader a glimpse of the lives of unheralded men and women who sacrifice all for their country.

Enemies Among Us by Bob Hamer - A cowboy FBI undercover agent is given the assignment of tracking a terrorist cell in Los Angeles. This is an adrenaline laced, detailed, and intricate novel, written by a veteran FBI Agent. Hamer also shows the delicate balance between work and marriage. Hamer's solid debut novel should appeal to both Christian and general market fiction readers.

Blackout by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn - In this third book of the Riley Covington series, football star and special ops veteran Riley Covington races to detonate electromagnetic pulse bombs that could render the United States without power. They're too late to stop the first. Will they be on time for the second? Fans of football and military action will enjoy this novel.


  1. Oh my. I need to add some books to my TBR pile. Geez. Thanks, Brenda.

  2. It's a fun list, isn't it Nicole?

    What I find interesting is that four of these books are released by smaller publishers. A SEASON OF MIRACLES and HERO'S TRIBUTE are both put out by Kregel and ENEMIES AMONG US and DANGER CLOSE are published by Fidelis (which is an arm of B&H Publishing--that also put out BLAZE OF GLORY).

    I'm very glad these publishers are willing to put out unique products.