The Judgment Stone by Robert Liparulo

Here is another winner from Liparulo. I have so much enjoyed the last two books from him. The wild imagination of Liparulo is unmatched in today's Christian fiction. The Judgment Stone is one of Liparulo's best efforts. I love every one of his novels. All are exciting and riveting. However, I really love these last two that are more in tune with faith in action.

The storyline is developed very well with a little more background for the characters. I do not like jumping among three story lines: Owen/Jagger; The Tribe; and The Clan. Although, Liparulo does an excellent job with the transitions. It does keep the pages turning. However, head jumping is an easy tool to use to keep the plot churning. I believe Liparulo is a better writer than that, and can keep the action with a minimum of viewpoints.

You should read the first  in this series because The Judgment Stone starts almost where The 13th Tribe closes (click the link and you can read my review of that book.)

The Judgment Stone has a fascinating premise with an object being an open door to see into the spiritual world. I like how Liparulo describes the spiritual warfare, and how angels foil demons interference with humans. I love the way he describes angels ministering and succoring humans, with the spiritual direct connect with God. It is fascinating reading.

Bob, great job! I want more!
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Judgment Stone
Thomas Nelson (May 14, 2013)
Robert Liparulo


Former journalist Robert Liparulo is the best-selling author of the thrillers Comes a Horseman, Germ, Deadfall, Deadlock, and The 13th Tribe, as well as The Dreamhouse Kings, an action-adventure series for young adults. He contributed a short story to James Patterson’s Thriller, and an essay about Thomas Perry’s The Butcher’s Boy to Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. He is currently working on the sequel to The 13th Tribe, as well writing an original screenplay with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive).

When not writing, Liparulo loves to read, watch (and analyze) movies, scuba dive, swim, hike, and travel. He lives in Monument, Colorado, with his wife Jodi and four children: Melanie, Matthew, Anthony, and Isabella.


What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe—the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God’s grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power—a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.

Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.

By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.

Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won’t stop until they’ve annihilated all those close to Him?

In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judgment Stone, go HERE.


Craft: Would the Godfather Really Do That? by Randy Ingermanson

3) Craft: Would The Godfather Really Do That?

It's 1953 in Birmingham, Alabama. Sherlock Holmes, Scarlett O'Hara, the Godfather, and Uncle Tom walk into an exclusive whites-only restaurant. It's 4 PM and the place is nearly empty.

The maitre d' hurries up, throws a scowl at Uncle Tom, and says to the Godfather, "I'm sorry, sir, but there are no tables available at the present time."

The Godfather grins amiably and hangs his head. "Gosh, I had no idea! Should we come back later when it's less crowded?"

"Let's just think things through rationally," says Scarlett. "I'm sure that
if we slip this gentleman a large enough bill, he can find us a table. Or maybe we can find some dirt on him and blackmail him."

Sherlock shakes his head dejectedly. "They don't seem to like us, so let's leave. It's boring here anyway.
Let's find some place that's more fun!"

"Leave this to me." Uncle Tom puts on a pair of brass knuckles and slugs the maitre d' in the jaw, knocking him out. "These people are going to serve us or else."
He leads his friends to the best table and shouts for a waiter to serve them, pronto.

What's wrong with the picture above?

Yes, the characters are behaving out of character. But how do you know? You've never read a scene in which any of these characters were in Birmingham in 1953. Yet you know roughly how each of them would behave in this situation. The way I wrote it above is completely wrong.

Different people have different "social styles" -- patterns of social behavior.

The Godfather is a Driver. He makes things happen and he's not too concerned about just getting along. He'd be the one to pull out the brass knuckles.

Scarlett O'Hara is an Expressive. She's highly sociable, and when she's rejected, she feels it keenly.
She enjoys fun and would be the first to suggest they go elsewhere.

Sherlock Holmes is an Analytical. When he has a problem, he thinks it through. He might try a bribe or blackmail or anything else he could think of to solve the problem rationally.

Uncle Tom is an Amiable. He likes to get along with people, and he always asks permission, so he never needs to ask forgiveness.

Most people fit into one of these four categories -- Driver, Expressive, Analytical, or Amiable.

As a novelist, you probably find it easiest to write characters who fit your own social style. You might find it harder to identify with characters with other social styles.

But you have to. You can't write a whole novel in which all your characters have your social style. That would be implausible, and it would also be boring.

Why boring?

When you have characters with a variety of social styles, you have a lot more chances to create conflict.
More conflict means a more interesting story.

A couple of examples are in order ...

If Uncle Tom and the Godfather are working together to solve a mystery, they're not going to agree on how to do it. The Godfather will be action-oriented and won't much care about whom he offends. Uncle Tom will be relational-oriented and he'll care very much about other people's feelings.

If Sherlock and Scarlett are dating, they're going to face all sorts of obstacles. Sherlock prefers a quiet evening at home with a pipe and a good conversation, while Scarlet wants to go out somewhere fun and dance, dance, dance. Sherlock may think he's complimenting Scarlett by telling her that she's not as scrawny as she was last month, but Scarlett won't love him for saying she's put on weight.

Most people tend to have a dominant social style and a secondary one. I'm an Analytical Amiable. I'll probably beat you at chess, but at the end of the game, you'll be my friend.

There are 16 combinations of dominant and secondary social styles. And of course there are more aspects to a character's personality than their social styles.

This means that you'll never run out of quirky combinations of character traits. Every character you ever create can be an original.

Yet by studying typical social styles, you can create believable characters that ring true.

If you want a successful salesman who can take rejection in stride and push on to the next customer, make him a Driver Amiable.

If you want an unsuccessful salesman who staggers at each rejection and finds it hard to ask for the sale, make him an Analytical Expressive.

If you want a boring, dull, narrow-minded accountant who obsesses over details, start with an Analytical Analytical and pile on from there. (We Analyticals are sometimes considered fussy and obsessive by flaky, unfocused people. Hmphh!)

Let's be clear that you don't stop with your character's social style. It's a nice place to start, but people are much more complicated than a category.

But knowing the social style of each of your characters will give you a running start on understanding them.

There is very much more to say about social styles, so if you're interested, try Googling the phrase "Driver Analytical Expressive Amiable" and see what you come up with.

One nice summary I've found online is here:

Sherlock says this resource explains a lot of things that have always puzzled him about stupid people.

The Godfather says it'll be useful in figuring out how to manipulate his minions.

Uncle Tom says it'll help him get along better with people.

Scarlett says it's boring.

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the Snowflake Guy," publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson

This one is very different from the other O'Malley books. Soft and tender, and actually surprising considering today's penchant for throw-away relationships. I thought is was in high, Dee Henderson style. Smooth character development and I think worthy to sit among the other 6 or so books even though the story line is not action or suspense, just a sweet love story with words like commitment and phrases like until death do us part. None of the "if something happens we can always get a divorce" attitude so prevalent today. Very refreshing.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story
Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2013)
Dee Henderson


Dee Henderson is the bestselling, award-winning author of 15 previous novels, including the acclaimed O'MALLEY series and UNCOMMON HEROES series. These days, most authors are out there energetically promoting their books in print and broadcast and via social media—wherever they can get attention. But Dee Henderson keeps a low profile. She avoids telephone interviews because of hearing problems, declined to provide a current photo, and will say only that she lives in Illinois.


It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley. The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, and meeting Tom Peterson, and falling in love, is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce him to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.

She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested in a way she didn't expect, and the results will soon transform her entire family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story, go to HERE.


Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias

I thought this book would be really good. It has such a refreshing premise, and promises to be rather exciting.

If you skip to about the middle of the book, you get what is promised. The storyline takes forever to get moving. I have lost a loved one, and I completely understand the devastation, the anger, the depression. I also understand there is a difference between how a Christian handles that kind of grief, and how someone who is not a Christian or who has turned their back on God, blaming Him for what happened handles those emotions. It just is not clear at the beginning what kind of person Lynn is to give reason for the way she is handling her grief. She prays on page 3.

However, it only seems an interminable age plowing through those first few chapters, and I found myself not really caring what happened to Lynn or whether Rachel made the right choice between the two men vying for her affections. I felt slightly cheated because the back blurbs held such promise, and the rave reviews from famous people said it was a terrific book. I just didn't find that between the covers of this book.

I think the main reason I felt cheated is because this is a proven author, with several published novels under her belt. Probably, I was looking for something different, and that was my fault, not the author's.

I intensely dislike head-hopping, and there is a LOT of that in this book. Written in 3rd person, the reader can browse through each character's head like browsing at Walmart. Macias uses a technique of allowing the character to tell the reader what she or he is thinking. When done sparingly, and done very well, it can be a powerful tool. I think Marcias over uses it.

In creative writing, we learn to make the characters tell the story, and we show what happens rather than telling what happens. There was a novel I reviewed several years ago that went to the opposite extreme by writing nothing but action, never telling what the characters were thinking, and therefore never head-hopping. It was unusual and unnerving. Macias, on the other hand gives each character a voice by head-hopping frequently, which becomes annoying. In a larger, more detailed work, this would give more room to develop each character. The reader is not given time to come to love the characters; therefore must subsist on the love between mother and daughter, and the two love interests for the daughter.

There are really good parts in the story. The descriptions of small town living, and the cantankerous neighbor who was Lynn's brother's best friend are wonderfully written. However, this book does not make me want to run out about buy up all Kathi Macias' other offerings.

I give it a 1 star out of 5 stars.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Last Chance for Justice
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
Kathi Macias


Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.


Welcome to Bloomfield, where life is simple, love is real, and stories are shared.

Lynn Myers is still reeling from losing her husband of thirty-five years when word comes that her only sibling, an older brother, has also died. With no one else to settle the estate, she must return to her small hometown of Bloomfield, however briefly, to settle his affairs.

Lynn’s daughter, Rachel, has just graduated from Bible college and with no other commitments comes along to sort through her uncle’s huge old home, right next to the local cemetery.

It isn't long before Rachel has two men -- a handsome CPA and the youth pastor -- seriously vying for her attention. At the same time, Lynn's attention is drawn to a set of journals her brother has left behind detailing a long-standing Bloomfield mystery.

As they pursue solving this mystery, Rachel must make some personal decisions about her future, while Lynn is forced to face unexpected issues from her own past.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Last Chance for Justice, go HERE.


Wounds by Alton Gansky


I do recommend this book, although only to adult readers. It is not reading for anyone with a faint heart or who is squeamish. The story is about another broken, driven, crusty female cop, her demons, and how she deals with them while tracking down a particularly vicious and sadistic serial killer.

My attention was riveted from the first page. The story pace lagged a bit around the middle and picked up again about 3/4 of the way. I think Mark Bertrand does a much better job at incorporating the personal life and the mystery unraveling into a seamless storyline, however, Gansky does a fine job with story flow, and there is nothing that is a story flow dam such as a character doing something or saying something uncharacteristic. It is a skillfully woven story, and what I liked the best is the reader finds out as soon as the detectives all the clues, forensics, and particulars. Nothing is held back for some climatic finish. I also liked the way Gansky makes you think  and ponder various solutions as the story unfolds. Although, he's no Ellery Queen or Agatha Christie, he is a good story teller. What more can a mystery lover ask for?  

[Side note: Why do men (and women) write stories about women who are police or lawyers or doctors or some other profession that is comprised mostly by men and think they must strip all the girly and feminine attributes off the heroine? I've never understood that. Why can't a woman be a woman these days? What is so awful about femininity?]

Another question is why do men think they can truly get inside the head of a woman character well enough to make the woman the main character? Don't let the back jacket blurb fool you, the story isn't about Dr. Ellis Poe as much as it is about Carmin Rainmondi. But Gansky does a fairly good job of weaving the two stories together. [The previous statement is purposely obscure enough not to give away the ending.] Admittedly, there are many male authors who do a fairly good job of this and Alton Gansky does do a fairly good job at it. Carmen Rainmondi is a skillfully developed main character, and has all her flaws clearly outlined.

I give this novel 4 of 5 stars.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
Alton Gansky


Alton L. Gansky is the author of 24 novels and 8 nonfiction works, as well as principle writer of 9 novels and 2 nonfiction books. He has been a Christie Award finalist (A Ship Possessed) and an Angel Award winner (Terminal Justice) and recently was award the ACFW award for best suspense/thriller for his work on Fallen Angel. He holds a BA and MA in biblical studies and Lit.D. He lives in central California with his wife. In addition to his own writing, Alton Gansky has consulted and provided editing/ writing services to several CBA publishers and written copy, video scripts, and other works for the general business market. Through Gansky.Communications he has consulted with publishers and agents, as well as provided editing services. He is “the go to guy” for co-writing having been selected by Penguin, Waterbrook, Broadman Holman, and other publishers to work with their top tier authors. Gansky is in frequent demand at writer’s conferences having taught and keynoted in California, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Delaware, Washington, and Canada. He has also been guest lecturer on suspense writing at Taylor University in Indiana.


A man’s lifeless body is found in the fresh soil of San Diego’s botanical garden. Cause of death is asphyxiation, an easy call for the medical examiner. More mysterious, however, are the tiny drops of blood on the victim’s skin, resulting from hundreds of punctures. A rabbi leaving his house for work expects a regular day at the synagogue. That quickly changes when he discovers a dead man on his front lawn, clearly beaten to death. Motorcycle riders racing along the empty streets of an abandoned military base stumble across another man’s corpse, its skin revealing long, red-purple marks of a thrashing given with wood dowels. The numbers mount. Each week another victim and another mysterious clue in a game of mass murder the police don’t want to lose. The solution rests with Dr. Ellis Poe, a religious professor who only wishes to be left alone with his books and classes. But evil must be faced, and the choice is no longer his own.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wounds, go HERE.

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