Tag Archives: Davis Bunn

Book Marks: The Pilgrim by Davis Bunn

The Pilgrim book coverWhen I read that The Pilgrim was the story of Constantine’s mother, Helena, I was eager to read it. As I got to know Anthony and Cratus and some of the other characters, I enjoyed it even more. Add in a perilous journey through enemy territory being chased by a massive brute who is eager to kill – I’m in!

As always, Bunn’s book is well-written and draws you in from the beginning. But for all the action and adventure in the stories in the Bible, I rarely feel like I’m sitting on the edge of my seat biting my fingernails with historical Biblical fiction, so I don’t read a lot of it. Since this story isn’t actually from the Bible, I’d hoped it would be closer to the nail-biting end of the reading spectrum. (I figure some Biblical fiction is somewhat sanitized so as not to offend.) But there was only one (really good!) scene when I wondered who would live or die.

The other scenes where I expected more action and anxiety faded off into nothing bad happening to our protagonists. Not just that the enemy didn’t attack, but also without any clear indication that the people believed God intervened, that it was faith that made the difference. Why didn’t the enemy attack? Why did they think the enemy didn’t attack? If I was supposed to see their faith growing as they prayed for deliverance and were delivered, it was too subtle for me to gather from the text. Instead, I felt like I didn’t know what was going on, like I was missing something. (Yes, I saw their faith growing over the course of the book, but it didn’t seem to be very linked to being saved over and over.)

And the book ended like that for me – like I was missing something. I expected the vicarious thrill of victory over the enemy and the joyful glow of feeling God had delivered them as promised. I expected to hear even the briefest mention of how Helena and Anthony and Cratus saw a change in their lives. But instead, the end gave me an arm’s length description of how Helena’s work changed a nation.

That’s great, but that’s the history side. I wanted the more personal side of how Helena was changed, but I never got close enough to her. Almost like a friend who never really lets you in, and eventually you give up and realize this person will never be the close kind of friend. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what I look for in fiction, so that’s the disappointing part of the story for me.

If you already like this genre of fiction and/or if you like Bunn’s other books, you’ll like this one. But for me…well, I felt like I tried to make a new friend and ended up knowing her as little in the end as I did in the beginning.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]

3 1/2 stars

BOOK MARKS: New Release Today – TRIAL RUN by Thomas Locke

Trial-Run-Thomas-LockeI’m thrilled to be part of the street team for Davis Bunn, who also writes speculative fiction as Thomas Locke. Today, his new book TRIAL RUN is out! Here is the teaser:

Where does perception end and reality begin?

Can your mind actually cause something to happen in the “real” world?

What happens when we throw out our conception of the limits of space and time?

When science, government, and big business clash, who will ultimately have control of our information, our privacy, and even our very thoughts?

One thing remains clear:

What you don’t know can kill you.

Personally, I think the book is far more interesting than the above promo copy makes it sound. 🙂 It’s all of the above plus some really interesting characters who make you want to know what in the heck they’re doing and why! You can read a free sample of Trial Run here. There is even a video trailer for the book! And here is the review I wrote on Amazon:

I was hooked on the concept as soon as I read the short story prequel, Double Edge. I’m a complete neuroscience nerd and love the fringe science intertwined with known science in this story. The characters are all different and compelling, and you really get into why everyone is doing what they’re doing. Maybe the bad guys are a little too “bad-guy-like” but the other two groups of people make up for it.

By the last page of chapter 32 (almost halfway through the book), I was gasping at what I thought was happening! New and different and really exciting concepts!

The reason I gave it four stars instead of five was that it seemed to me – just my opinion – that the excitement kind of leveled off. It kept getting more intense till about three-quarters through, and then seemed to be the same level of excitement to the end. It was good but… I like it better when it just keeps getting worse until the last few pages, and you can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen. Also, there were some things brought up in the story that were SUPER INTERESTING and you didn’t get a good explanation, just an okay explanation, like you would find out more in the next book. I know it’s a series, but I like a book to feel finished to me, and I felt there were a few things left out.

All that to say, I LOVE this kind of psychological thriller! And I definitely want to read the next book! I’ve got to know what happens next! Haha!! I hope you like it, too. 🙂

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.DoubleEdgeQuoteGraphic_02-700x366

Double Edge is a free short story prequel, so you should definitely check it out. They also wrote better promo copy for it.  🙂

Discover how it all began in this explosive prequel to Trial Run

There isn’t much that can throw Charlie Hazard off balance. But the mystery woman with the striking eyes and the intense request to follow her—now—just might accomplish it.

Knowing little more than her beautiful name, Charlie leaves his post as a guard at the Satellite Beach community center for what he thinks is just another risk-containment job.

But Gabriella, an experimental psychologist, has far more in store for him than protection duty—if the two of them survive the test.

Leave behind your perceptions of what is possible and race into the unknown corridors of human consciousness in this breakneck prequel to Thomas Locke’s Trial Run. Click here http://tlocke.com/fault-lines/ to download “Double Edge,” free from your favorite online bookseller.

And if you’re interested, this is my review of Double Edge:

I just finished this psychological neuroscience thriller and I can’t wait to read more! Thank goodness this short story is just the prequel to Thomas Locke’s new book, Trial Run, which is waiting on my bedside table. (Is it bedtime yet? Please say yes so I can go read it!)

I am a complete nerd when it comes to brain science and this story has got me reading as fast as I can. The characters are diverse and interesting and are leaving me with a dozen questions I hope are answered in Trial Run. If you are at all interested in what might happen the more we learn about how to manipulate the brain, you’ve got to try this short story! I think you’re gonna love it!

As you can see, I really enjoyed both stories. Try them out!  😀



Thomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.

His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Thomas at http://tlocke.com.


Book Marks: Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn

Strait of HormuzIt is with great pleasure that I participate today in Davis Bunn’s blog tour for his newest book, Strait of Hormuz! I’ve been looking forward to reading this third installment in the Marc Royce thriller series because I loved Lion of Babylon (which is free on Amazon this month!) and Rare Earth, the first two books.

Marc Royce is a former CIA operative who still does “odd jobs” for his old boss, Ambassador Walton. He has been in dangerous situations all over the world, and he’s incredibly good at his job. But things are changing in his personal life, and just maybe he wants to live long enough to make some big decisions.

While struggling to find out where the new threat to America is coming from, sometimes at odds with his own government, Marc meets a really interesting array of people – a Swiss operative and a Swiss police inspector, a Persian art dealer, a knighted English art collector, and many more, as well as several people he’s worked with in the past. (I love it when you see characters appear in multiple books. It feels like you get to know them better.)

I loved all the action from the very first page. It gets off to a quicker start than the first book, which I almost didn’t read because I was bored by the political talk at the beginning. In Strait of Hormuz, I was hooked immediately and soo glad I’d set aside an uninterrupted afternoon to read. It was so fun to try to figure out what was happening as Marc and his cohorts were trying to do the same.

Without giving anything away, I was also really glad when Marc and one of the other characters finally sat down and decided to pray about what to do, and to pray for each other instead of just for the impossible thing they wanted. It seemed like they finally had a minute to put their faith in action in their relationship. Granted, there was an awful lot of trying not to get killed going on – LOL! – so I was okay that it took them awhile to finally sit down together.

I really enjoyed Strait of Hormuz, but not quite as much as the first two books. For one thing, this was the first of the three where twice I stopped and re-read what was happening. I wasn’t sure how we just went from point N to point P, so I just shrugged and made a mental leap and kept on going. It wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t confusing so much as it felt like I missed part of an explanation of what was happening.

Also, this was the first of the three books where the fact that Marc kept running into people with a Christian faith and/or background seemed less believable as the book went along. This element was one of the things I liked most about the first book, Lion of Babylon – that Marc found a few Christians who understood him and helped him in places you wouldn’t expect. It seemed real and natural in the first two books, but this time…I don’t know.

StraitofHormuzSweepstakesGraphicforLaunchTeamOther than those small things, I had a great time reading this book. Davis is so good at weaving action and thrills through a story, keeping you guessing the whole way! If you want to read the first three chapters for free, click here and “Like” his Facebook page, and you’ll see the beginning of the book there for you to read. Trust me, you won’t want to stop!

4 stars, Really Liked It

Help Davis Bunn celebrate the publication of “Strait of Hormuz.” Enter to win His & Hers Luxury Swiss Watches or a $150 Amazon Gift Card! You can enter once per email address per day. Rack up bonus entries by sharing the contest with your Facebook and Twitter friends!


I received a complimentary copy of Strait of Hormuz from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.


Book Marks: Lion of Babylon

Lion of BabylonThis week’s not-a-book-review column is about a book recommended by one friend, written by another friend. Janice Cantore suggested I read Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn when we were talking about mainstream books that had characters in them with strong religious beliefs.

When she mentioned the title, I said, “Oh, I don’t like historical Biblical fiction.”

She said, “No, no, it’s set in the present day Middle East.”

I looked at her like I’d eaten something spoiled. “Ugh, no, Janice, that’s even worse.”

No, she said, it’s really good, it’s about a CIA agent and…

Seriously? I don’t read any of those kinds of things. I don’t like books about wars and hatred and people killing each other.

But when I was in the library, I saw that the book was there, so I checked it out. I figured I’d read the first chapter because I really liked Davis’ legal thrillers like The Great Divide. Then I’d thumb through the rest of the book in a few minutes to see what Janice meant about characters with deep religious views that integrated in a non-irritating way into the story.

I started the first chapter and mentally put my finger down my throat. CIA agents and special missions, ugh. I like movies like this, but not books, too much detail. The day the book was due back at the library, I picked it up one more time at lunch. By the end of lunch, I decided to renew it.

I’m sure part of the difference in reading that first chapter was not having a pre-conceived notion that I would hate it. But also, I gave myself enough time to get to know the main character. And he was a pretty interesting guy. Then he got into a couple of interesting situations. And met some more interesting people. And there weren’t tons of uninteresting-to-me details about political stuff and war stuff.

It was actually the second character, the Middle Eastern character, that got me hooked. He was a genuinely good man trying to help people and also protect his family while living in a time and place of war. Plus he was a Christian, which I found very intriguing. Of course, I know there are Christians in the Middle East. I know some of them are there to try to help people, some are converts in their own lifetimes, but this man was a multi-generational Christian Iraqi.

Because there were lots of relational elements with different kinds of people trying to work together, and similar kinds of people at odds with each other, plus lots of action without “boring” details, I ended up taking an afternoon off to finish the book. It was really good! I may have to reacquaint myself with all of Davis’ books that I haven’t read yet. 🙂

5 stars, Loved It!