Archives For Mystery

 

A Particular Death-in-Life

A Review of 

Do We Not Bleed? A Jon Mote Mystery
Daniel Taylor

Hardback: Slant Books, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Heather Caliri

 

Can I confess something? I dislike Father Brown.

G.K. Chesterton, august Christian apologist, whose prose helped convert C.S. Lewis, created the humble everypriest sleuth. In each story, the curate faces down the sharpest criminal minds in England and wipes the floor with them—with Christian charity, of course.

I have no beef with the writing. In each story’s brief pages, Chesterton sketched derring-do with humor and panache. Each episode also features a genuine puzzler.

Continue Reading…

 

A Whodunnit with Depth and Nuance

 
A Feature Review of

Death Comes for The Deconstructionist: A Novel
Daniel Taylor

Hardback: Slant Books, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon]

 
Reviewed by Lesa Engelthaler

 
 

I have a thing for short first sentences. In Death Comes for The Deconstructionist, Daniel Taylor delivers three of them rapid-fire in the opening of the first chapter, “Something is wrong. I’m not well. The voices are back.”

 

Taylor has written eleven books, though this is his first venture into the vast frontier of fiction. I admit I hold fiction on a bit of a pedestal. To me, only the best of the best write fiction. Taylor’s debut novel does not disappoint.

Continue Reading…

 

Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

> > > >
Next Book

Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

by Richard Rohr

Read a review from Publishers Weekly


Continue Reading…

 

Enabling Faith

Ragan Sutterfield interviews Christian Wiman, poet and author of the new book:


My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
Hardback: FSG, 2013.

Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Christian Wiman grew up steeped in the Christian culture of West Texas, but left that faith when he went to college and entered into a literary world where Christianity no longer seemed to make sense.  He excelled as a poet and eventually became editor of Poetry Magazine, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journal of verse.  Faith found its way back into his life through finding love and his diagnosis with a rare chronic cancer.  His new book My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer is both the story of his return to Christianity and a beautiful mix of poetry and meditations on the experience of faith in this time and culture.  I talked with Wiman about his book and the questions explored there.

 

RS: I was struck by a statement in Adam Kirsch’s review of your book in the New Yorker.  He said that, “To argue for faith, at least in the twenty-first century, is already to lose the argument.  What believers can give nonbelievers is an account of what it means to live in faith – not a polemic but a description, a confession, a kind of poem.”  What is your take on that statement and how did that reality play out for you in writing My Bright Abyss

Continue Reading…

 

Like mystery novels?  Have you read the mysteries of Dorothy Sayers?

Dorothy Sayers is a writer often associated with C.S. Lewis and the Inklings, who wrote many books for Christian audiences. She considered her best work to be her translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

We recently posed the question of where to start with her mystery novels to David Neuhouser, who is Scholar in Residence at Taylor University’s Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends (and Professor Emeritus at TU). Neuhouser has taught courses on Sayers, Lewis, Wendell Berry and perhaps his favorite, George Macdonald.


> > > >
Next Book

Strong Poison: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane

Start here…

“It is in Strong Poison that Lord Peter first meets Harriet Vane, an author of police fiction. The immediate problem is that she is on trial for her life, charged with murdering her former lover. If Lord Peter does not prove she is innocent, he will lose her before he even persuades her to accept his proposal of marriage. But all the clues point to Harriet as the one who gave Philip Boyes the arsenic that killed him.” (Wikipedia.com)

 

Why does God, who truly wants to be known,
seem so incomprehensible?

A Review of

The Mystery of God— Theology for Knowing the Unknowable
Steven D. Boyer and Christopher A. Hall

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Chris Sicks

 

When I was an atheist, I thought the reason God was unknowable was because he didn’t exist. Today I not only believe he exists—I preach, teach, and write about him. Still, much about God remains mysterious, even unknowable.

 

Why does God, who truly wants to be known, seem so incomprehensible?
Continue Reading…

 

A Brief Review of
Harmless as Doves:
An Amish-Country Mystery.

By P. L. Gaus
Hardback: Ohio University Press, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Reviewed by Bart A. Fletcher

While this is the author’s seventh mystery in the Amish-Country series, it is the first time I have had the pleasure of entering his literary territory.  I have a particular fondness for authors’ book series, but I am reluctant to read out of order because I miss the nuances of character, plot and location that build over the course of time.  There is also a certain sense of satisfaction to discover the ways in which an author’s craft is enlarged and honed throughout several similarly themed books.  So, as I picked up Harmless as Doves, reading Gaus for the first time, I wondered how my out-of-sequence reading experience might affect my reading pleasure.

Continue Reading…

 

A Review of


The Prague Cemetery: A Novel.
Umberto Eco

Hardback: Houghton Mifflin, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by David Johnson

A sensitive reader might get the impression while reading The Prague Cemetery that Umberto Eco does not much care what you, think about him as an author or the story he has to tell. In a note at the front of the book, Eco envisions one of two kinds of people who might flip through his pages. The first has no idea that the events described in the book actually happened. This reader, accidentally drawn from the great unwashed masses, “knows nothing about nineteenth-century literature, and might even have taken Dan Brown seriously.” The second reader, on the other hand, understands the historical and contemporary significance of said events. To this reader Eco would perhaps append the adjectives “educated” and “worthy.” I don’t know why Eco felt it necessary to start the reading experience off so combatively, but while this attitude would make him a wearisome dinner guest, it needn’t necessarily stand in the way of a good story.

In addition to being a sometimes novelist, Umberto Eco is a philosopher, literary critic, semiotician, and author of dozens of learned books a wide variety of topics, from medieval history to mass media and culture. He made his name in literary circles with his first novel, The Name of the Rose, a quest for a mythical lost work of Aristotle that is, in fact, a Dan Brown-esque page-turner that does not make you feel dumb inside.[1]

Continue Reading…

 

“Attentive to the Grace of the Ordinary”

A Review of
Harvesting Fog: Poems
by Luci Shaw.

Reviewed by Jennifer Merri Parker.

Harvesting Fog: Poems.
Luci Shaw.

Paperback: Pinyon Publishing, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Luci Shaw - HARVESTING FOG: POEMSAt a recent literary festival I had the privilege of hearing Luci Shaw read from her lately published collection of poems, Harvesting Fog. Shortly afterward, standing near a table where she was signing copies of her books, I overheard an admirer’s brief exchange with the warm and personable poet, who had just thanked her for attending the reading. “Thank you,” the young woman replied, her voice full of emotion, “for helping us to see.” It was an appropriate expression of gratitude, I thought, towards a writer whose singular giftedness involves prodigious attention to the minute, mundane, and easily overlooked details, and the ability to discover unexpected meaning, even deep spiritual significance, in them all. The effect is awe-inspiring to those of us unused to straddling that fault line where the mundane and the mysterious bump and jostle one another and occasionally overlap.

However, as Shaw herself would probably insist, the poet lives on that line or—at least—goes there habitually. A poet’s work, as she describes it, is to keep “a foot in both the concrete, visible world and the ephemeral, invisible world, translating the experience of a spiritual realm into word pictures in order to bring a whiff of heaven to earth” (3). What Shaw sees from this vantage is what she shares with her readers, the everyday revelations of glory and grace in even the most ordinary moments of human experience.  In Harvesting Fog, she offers a collection of such moments, rendered in beautifully resonant language, articulating the sacredness and significance of life in a world at once beautiful and broken.

I have always welcomed the perennials
but today I celebrate weeds. The arrival of
horse-tails, their primitive vigor thrusting up
under the fence as if the Third Day of Creation
were just yesterday.  In penance, as redemption,
I will begin to touch the earth more lightly,
remembering to walk barefoot in the soft
forest so that I make no bruit or break…
(40, “Gardener’s Remorse”)

Continue Reading…

 

“A Story of Mystery,
Much Larger Than We Are”

A Review of
Rosing From the Dead: Poems
by Paul Willis

Reviewed by Chris Smith.


Rosing From the Dead: Poems
Paul Willis

Paperback: Word Farm, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Rosing from the Dead: Poems by Paul WillisRosing from the Dead, the newest book of poetry from Paul Willis shares its title with a poem about halfway through the volume, in which Willis reflects on his young daughter’s description of Jesus “rosing from the dead” on Easter Sunday.  In that phrase, spoken peculiarly as children are wont to do, Willis considers the possibility that perhaps the resurrection is not unlike a rose in its beauty, wildness and mystery.  These three themes of the title poem run throughout the collection, reflecting a deep reverence throughout for the abundant life not only of humanity, but of all God’s creation.  The poems here are organized into three sections: “Faith of our Fathers,” “Higher Education” and “Signs and Wonders.”  The first two sections, reflect on various aspects of human experience, the third focuses on themes of nature and wilderness.  Specifically, the poems in the book’s first section address family relationships, from naming to dysfunction.  One of the most striking poems here, “Nuclear Family” sketches the story of a nuclear physicist, so fixed on his career and the pursuit of nuclear technologies that could destroy all humanity, doesn’t see the destruction that his own pursuits are wreaking upon his own family.  The poems in this section are written from a variety of perspectives – children, teenagers, parents – and taken together they weave a rich, vibrant tapestry of the complexities and joys of family life.

Continue Reading…