Monday, January 30, 2012

Thrillers with a Christian World View

Plots taken from today's headlines, story-lines that have real people facing real problems written from a Christian world view with Christian values comprise a new subgenre within suspense. How can writers address terrorism, murder, economic strife and real life situations and still be Christian fiction writers? These situations happen in real life and are met head on by real people of faith every day. Authors such as Davis Bunn, Joel C. Rosenberg, Lis Wiehl, Steven James and others have set out to meet contemporary issues with faith-based characters and have created exciting thrillers for all readers. This is a growing subgenre that appeals to those of us who prefer to read books that are spine-tingling and thought provoking without the gratuitous sex and profanity. These authors have found that they can write excellent books without all the trappings that some writers feel they have to include to sell their books.

Author Davis Bunn received an email requesting a "gutsy Christian hero" who could face war, terrorism, or the demands of his job and keep his faith. The emailer was surprised to find that Bunn had done just that with "Lion of Babylon".  The story is set in Bagdad during the restructuring (after the removal of Saddam Hussein) and in the midst of the struggle between religious factions in that nation.  In this action-packed thriller, the author provides a look at contemporary Baghdad and the traditions, history and strife which are behind the today’s headlines. Marc Royce must become a warrior, a lion, for truth to gain the cooperation and trust of ancient enemies to solve the mysterious disappearance of Americans. This is one of the best faith-in-action thrillers written to date, and yet it is great storytelling that can be enjoyed by all.

Davis Bunn has written other faith based books on contemporary subjects.   "Book of Dreams" examines the current world finance situation. A group of people are drawn together by a series of shared dreams to expose the global chaos that caused the current financial collapse and has left so many people facing foreclosure and homelessness. An honest man is about to be asked to run for vice president but factions who oppose him seek to destroy him fearing he will speak the truth and expose their schemes. His wife begins having recurring dreams and visits a psychiatrist who is famous for interpreting dreams. The book gathers an unlikely group of people through the interpretation of their dreams to fight against global powers at great risk to themselves to expose the greed and avarice that caused the current crisis. Davis Bunn not only does an excellent job of explaining the global banking crisis but also covers the power of prayer, interpretations of dreams and visions, grief management, and the daily existence of a faith –based person in today’s world.

 In “The Tehran Initiative”, author Joel C. Rosenberg explores the nuclear weapons situation in Iran. Iran has accomplished its first atomic test and, The Twelfth Imam is stirring religious fervor.  Israel is fearful that Iran is about to unleash its new powers and destroy Israel. The President of the United States is afraid that Israel will react first causing war and global economic crisis. He sends David Shirazi and his CIA team to find and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike. In a story that could have come from today's newspaper, this is a nail-biting thriller. Rosenberg is hailed as one of the best political thriller writers of today. His books have the feel of reading history in the making as it could be happening right this minute.  

Ted Dekker  is another Christian fiction writer who addresses the forces of good and evil. “Boneman’s Daughter” is about a serial killer who kidnaps young girls and kills them slowly, painfully.  Intelligence Officer Ryan Evans has lost everything; his wife and daughter have written him out of their lives. All he has left is his job which is to find this killer before he can kill again.  The investigation gets incredibly personal when his own daughter is kidnapped by the Boneman, and yet somehow Ryan himself becomes a suspect. Now he must find and capture this killer before his daughter is killed while on the run from the authorities. Dekker juxtaposes the father who wants to find the perfect daughter with the father who just wants to be allowed to be a father to his daughter. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller Dekker examines the motivations and inner workings of the serial killer’s mind.  

These authors and many more seem to have their fingers on the pulse of existence in our world today.  They write about global and local topics while sharing their Christian view of the world with characters that meet the challenges of their day from a perspective of faith and hope. The stories are great reads for any reader and particularly appreciated by those who prefer not to read fiction filled with profanity, nudity, and immorality. These books still handle very real topics like murder, vice, and greed with very real likeable characters who meet life head-on with faith and belief.  

The following websites are helpful resources to locate more titles and information about Christian fiction genres:

Other titles to explore:
Hand of Fate by Lis Wiehl (Triple Threat Series)          
The Pawn by Steven James (Patrick Bowers Thrillers Series)   
Water’s Edge by Robert Whitlow
Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins 
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
Vanished by Kathryn Mackel           

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