HOPE Is a Dangerous Place–True Statement!

Deb’s Dozen: HOPE’s not a typical small town–dangerous secrets, fire, and murder transpire.

Jim Baton creates interesting characters, a fascinating environment, and lots of suspense in the first book, HOPE is a Dangerous Place, of his new trilogy, HOPE. So much interest and suspense I read the book in one sitting–could not put it down. Although categorized as an adult novel, the characters most in on the action are three teens along with their journalism teacher, so the book should interest young adults as well.

Close friends Kelsey and Harmonie along with a reluctant Miguel receive the assignment of researching the origin of the town’s name, HOPE, from their journalism teacher, Ms. Montez. Challenging them to go deep, she suggests they interview the oldest people in town whose memories may include the time the name was changed from Purgatory. They discover that seventy-five years ago, fifteen-year-old Hope McCormick disappeared, and to remember her, the town fathers named the newly incorporated town HOPE.

However, as they conduct their research, someone(s) determine to stop them. The secrets behind Hope lie deep. The adventures of the kids on this assignment make for interesting reading, thrilling reading. I loved Kelsey, the daughter of one of the town’s preachers, who suffers enough angst himself for another whole book, and her best friend, Harmonie, whose grandmother’s journals lead them to significant discoveries. Add in the somewhat abrasive Ms. Montez, the drunken newspaper editor, and some of the town’s founding, but also nastiest, citizens, and the potpourri of events comes to the boiling–and exploding–point. Along the way, the girls’ faith sustains them as they face adversity at every turn. Five stars. I am anxious to read the next two installments of the HOPE Trilogy.

Jim Baton works with both Christians and Muslims in Indonesia and the US to transform their communities. Investing more than twenty-five years in those endeavors, he awaits a visa to return to Indonesia to continue his work there. Check JimBaton.com for more information.

The author supplied a copy of his book to me, but I was in no way obligated to write a review.

Persian Betrayal a Betrayal Indeed

Deb’s Dozen: Middle East Action Heats Up. Will the Prophecy Reach Safety? Evil Afoot.

Persian Betrayal is Terry Brennan’s second book in the Empires of Armageddon series. We teach all our writers to start off with an exciting first sentence and paragraph and chapter. Brennan does this well but then the book bogs down in back story and history. That readers will start the series with this book is doubtful, so he could have done away with much of the redundancy from the first book. I almost quit reading several times because, quite frankly, I was bored. The characters from the first book didn’t seem as real or as engaging. Brian Mullaney, the main character, was a shadow of the character drawn in the first book. The action does pick up in the second half of the book but many people won’t reach that point.

The story commences just after the bombing of the Hurva Synagogue as Rabbi Yavod races back to the scene he just left to get the car. He hopes against hope the others will still be alive, but alas, all is destruction and death. He does rescue the box and the prophecy—without touching the container of course. As he leaves, he is seen by two of the bad guys who follow him in an attempt to secure the box. So starts the continuation of the saga. Mullaney and the Israelis arrive in the nick of time to save the box, but Yavod accidentally touches it in an attempt to save it from falling. The usual chases and gun fights ensue. We learn more about the evil behind the efforts to prevent the prophecy from being revealed to the world. I’ll read the third book only to find out what happens, but if Brennan adds the back story to that one too, he’ll have lost a reader. Almost four stars.

Terry Brennan won awards for The Jerusalem Prophecies series and has also led a Pulitzer Prize-winning team of journalists. He received the Balley Forge Award for editorial writing from the Freedoms Foundation.

Audra Jennings PR gave me a copy of Persian Betrayal, but I was in no way obligated to write a review. As an Amazon Associate, I may receive a small commission for any book purchased from this page.

Ishmael Covenant–Three Empires Poised to Rise Again

Deb’s Dozen: Three lost empires poised to rise again. Their success could cause Armageddon.

Terry Brennan’s new book (and series) takes us to the Middle East at a time of conflict. Ishmael Covenant tells the story that three ancient empires of the East—Persian, Ottoman, and Islamic—appear to be on the cusp of rising again. And a shady character in the US State Department seems to be involved in helping one of them. His contact is double-dealing with another of the potential empires.

Enter Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent Brian Mullaney, who is assigned to protect Joseph Atticus Cleveland, the newly appointed US ambassador to Israel. Mullaney had been in Turkey, but “they” wanted him out of there along with the ambassador. They are sent to Israel where Brian must guard the ambassador, his daughter, and a small, but deadly box. A diabolical power called “The Turk” will stop at nothing to get the box and its contents.

I eventually loved the book, but the beginning is slow. I kept saying to myself, “Get on with it. Enough of the backstory. Put me in the action and then tell me details that I need to know succinctly through the characters.” If you persevere until the action starts, you’ll be caught up in the story, the characters, and the denouement. Brennan writes of plausible events where heroes battle evil and the unseen world. I’m anticipating the second book in the series which is to relase in July. Four Stars.

To quote his PR, Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest release, Ishmael Covenant, is the first in his new Empires of Armageddon series. A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Brennan accumulated during his twenty-two-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA) Mercury won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series published while he led the team as the newspaper’s editor. Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and later moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (four hundred newspapers in the United States, Ireland, and England) as executive editor of all US newspapers. In 1996, Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending twelve years as vice president of operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as chief administrative officer for Care for the Homeless, both in New York City. Terry and his wife, Andrea, now live in Danbury, Connecticut