“Nick of Time” by Tim Downs

Nick Polchak, Forensic Entomologist, returns in this gripping Christian thriller. A week before his marriage, Nick is summoned to meet with an old friend. He leaves, and after not hearing from him, his fiancée, Alena, decides her and her dogs need to go hunting for him – hopefully alive. Taking a journey to the Poconos on the trail of murder, Nick and Alena simultaneously work the case, barely missing each other amidst the small town and poor cell reception.

 

Suspenseful and thrilling, Downs excellently presents a novel of good taste. With an ending that lets the reader finish their own personal story, a provision of hope permits creativity that opens for a sequel. The character development was excellent. While dialogue was slightly complex at times, it enhanced the setting. For a Christian novel, however, a redefinition of Christian is necessary. While a pastor appears at times, this character does not provide any solid scriptural advice, instead relying on personal experience. Several elements existed that would challenge more traditional Christian viewpoint: presence of alcohol in scenes, murder investigations (blood spatter, bugs, etc.), and more prominently: the marrying of a Christian to a non-Christian. This element in itself promises struggle, and at one point, the protagonist (Polchak) comes to a point where he questions what lies beyond, but the moment is so brief and underdeveloped that we are quickly swept away from it, as if the writer feared inclusion of religious elements might cause a loss in readership. Instead of including Christian elements to a mystery/thriller, Downs instead removed traditional negative elements to murder mystery, primarily sex and adult language.

 

An excellent and enjoyable read, “Nick of Time” is a great thriller to be read, but not considered as “Christian thriller.” This book adds to the increase in non-overtly religious material and/or questionable religious beliefs for the publisher, Thomas Nelson, which once held high esteem over quality and accuracy of Christian theology. The buyout of a secular firm, and recent transition of CEO, indicate the potential source for the recent lax guidelines.

Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.

[Audiobook] “Has Christianity Failed You?” by Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias’s apologetics (defense of the Christian faith) explores the reasons that many people today have departed from Christian beliefs. He shares personal experiences as well as stories…
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Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.

“The Final Summit” by Andy Andrews

Andrews writes the sequel to the popular fictional tale of David Ponder (The Traveler’s Gift), from where David learned the seven decisions. In this adventure, we journey with David to the Final Summit – where humanity’s survival is dependent on a council of Travelers attempting to answer the ultimate question – what must humanity do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward a successful civilization. Bringing characters from the first tale to help in this quest, along with new faces, Andrews again presents business practices and perspectives in the concept of everyday living, with the concept of success hinged on our existence.

 

Andrews manages to write enjoyable fiction, even if he gets unnecessarily lost in the descriptive details. The entire book, however, was quite predictable. Andrews incidentally foreshadowed each step to come, using classic literary errors. Only one twist appeared, of which there is gratitude for that twist itself. Overall, this book is not suspenseful, and in many ways, not entertaining. The overall plot was quite dramatic, basing destruction of humanity off business perspectives, and self-effort, instead of faith. For being a heavenly scene, there is quite a lot incorrect theologically. Understanding creative license comes with fiction, Andrews nevertheless overperformed in being theologically incorrect, portraying G-d as more destructive than loving, impatient (as well as Gabriel), and determining whether humanity should survive or not based off their own efforts. The message, “do something,” is not enough. It never will be. Andrews fell below the mark on this book, and displayed concerns over potential belief in false doctrines.

 

Overall, this book should not be read. The mass population of readers and moviegoers tend to believe what they read or see, especially when fact is blended with fiction. Andrews’ blending of major fiction with true characters (and their lives) sets many up to believe false doctrines, much like what The Shack unfortunately accomplished. While this may seem harmless, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons do the same thing – 90% truth with 10% lies results in belief in the lies. This book, while fair fiction, is a one-star rating and deserving of the discard section.

Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.