Cross Shadow–Out in Broad Daylight!

Deb’s Dozen: Cross and Cristine Clash—John’s Calling in Question—Murder, Manipulation, and Mayhem

I really wanted to like Cross Shadow, the second book in A Shepherd Suspense series. I like CIA/Special Ops/Black Ops books and hoped the John Cross books would meet that desire.

John still pastors the little church in Virginia. Christine concentrates on making a name for herself in New York. Their romance suffers. Then Christine’s brother, accused of committing murder, languishes in jail. Christine vies for a promotion, and Cross gets involved in the murder investigation. She tells him she can handle things; he shows up anyway. And Christine trusts John very little. And we’re off … rather slowly to be enmeshed in bullets and gun battles, car chases and conspiracies. I found most of the book unbelievable, and I wanted to variously shake or slap John Cross.

Andrew Huff writes well and his characters were believable and sympathetic in his first book, A Cross to Kill. But somehow the charm they had previously disappears, and they have degenerated into stereotypical characters in an action/adventure book. There are twists and turns and suspects and deadbeats and traitors and heroes to the rescue—everything you want in a suspense book but somehow lack-luster and dull. I give Cross Shadow a generous 3.5 Stars.

The bio for Andrew reads, “Andrew Huff serves as the product director at Igniter Media, one of the largest church media companies in the nation. He spent ten years in church ministry as both a youth pastor and creative arts pastor. Andrew currently lives in Plano, Texas, and can be reached at”

I received the book from Audra Jennings PR, but not obligated to write a review. As an Amazon Associate, I may receive a small commission from any products sold on from his page.

Hope Breaks Through

Deb’s Dozen: Righteous prayers, angels in homes, Hope starts to thrive despite what comes.

Jim Baton wrote a wonderful series about a town named Hope after a girl who went missing many years ago. As a result, the town suffers until revival takes place in town, led by several high school students. As with most books of this type, you know the ending from practically the beginning, but remain fascinated by the twists and turns of the story in Hope Breaks Through.

Kelsey and Harmonie–two best friends (of opposite colors, by the way—who says we can’t have racial harmony?) still continue to investigate the nefarious events going on in Hope. Murder stalks their adult friends. Jon and Raul, outside of the school, and no one except the kids and their advisor seem to care.

In the meantime, the prayer meeting continues to grow by leaps and bounds even over the objections of one of the pastors. But what happens? Will Miguel’s mother be safe? What about his sister? What is Ms. Ortez going to do? And Arthur Deats—a changed man or not? What about Kelsey’s dad—and Harmonie’s? So many ends to tie up, and Baton does it brilliantly—five stars for the book AND for the series.

About the Author

Jim Baton spends most of his time on the mission field in Indonesia. When I talked with him, he was headed back pending receipt of a visa. We put our prayer chain to work, and he was pleasantly surprised when the visa went through the process swiftly—as were the people in that office. I only hope he continues to write books of the quality of these three.

Jim gave me a copy of all three books in the Hope series, but with no obligation to write a review of Hope Breaks Through. As an Amazon Associate, should you buy any books through this site, I receive a small commission.

Hope in the Balance

Deb’s Dozen: Hope is in Hope as is evil. Kelsey and friends continue investigating.

Hope in the Balance is the second book in The Hope Trilogy. We find the characters from the first book continuing in the second. Kelsey, Harmonie, Kavon, and Miguel along with their teacher, Ms. Montez, are continuing to try to track down the people behind the bad things happening. They solved the mystery of the missing girl who gave her name to Hope in the first book, Hope is a Dangerous Place, but there are still evil doings and a dark atmosphere pervading the town.

Pastor Axel, Kelsey’s dad, continues the prayer meetings—and they grow and grow until they outgrow the Axel’s home. Little kids to adults from all sections of Hope are now coming to pray for each other and for Hope.

Jon Breckinridge still riles up the Town Council with his articles. Joe is now helping him. Uncle Fes from the black side of town encourages Pastor Axel and the kids. The Latin section is up in arms over their pay and treatment by the ranchers. Miguel’s mother is on the run and needs a place to hide. What will become of these people?

Will prayer work? The Bible says the “Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit.” Angels are afoot. Miracles are happening, but so are murders. The aura and power of evil is strong.

Hope in the Balance is every bit as enthralling and engrossing as the first book, Hope is a Dangerous Place. You’ll love the continuation of the story. Five stars.

JIM BATON has spent the last twenty years in the world’s largest Muslim nation, building bridges between Muslims and Christians who both desire peace. His speaking and writing call people out of fear and into authentic friendships that can change the world. Jim also has a been on a lifelong pursuit of personal and societal revival and transformation.