Thursday, June 24, 2010

VANISH, by Tom Pawlik

I have to search for words to describe Vanish. It is such a gripping story that it defies description, at least by me.
Vanish begins as an almost other-worldly experience. Lawyer Conner Hayden senses he's being watched while working in his Chicago office on a Friday afternoon. That night, a powerful storm rocks the city, and when he awakens the next day Chicago is deserted.
Vanish concerns Hayden's efforts to find his daughter and make sense of what has happened. The story rolls forward as rapidly as the gray mists containing whispering silhouettes that follow him everywhere. To say more would take away from the many surprises that spring forth from each chapter. I was totally unprepared for the way Pawlik concluded the story. To call it thought-provoking is an understatement.
In 2008, Pawlik won Operation First Novel from the Christian Writers Guild, as well as a Christy award for Vanish. The awards were well-deserved. I can’t recommend Vanish highly enough.

Friday, June 18, 2010


In Scattered Petals, author Amanda Cabot continues her series set in the Texas town of Ladreville. Priscilla Morton and her parents are traveling from Boston to attend the wedding of Clay and Sarah, the couple who were drawn together by the love letters Clay wrote (think Cyrano de Bergerac) in the first book of the Texas Dreams series, Paper Roses.
The opening scenes in Scattered Petals are horrifying. Priscilla came west seeking adventure and instead found pain and heartbreak. When she meets Clay's ranch hand, Zach Webster, she’s so scarred by what has happened to her that she can hardly bear to look at him.
Zach is carrying scars of his own, hidden deep in his heart. How the two of them come to trust and love one another in spite of the mental barriers each has erected forms the basis for this touching story.
In spite of the violent opening, Scattered Petals is a sweet story. Cabot touches on difficult issues in a gentle, redeeming manner. I look forward to reading the third book in the series to learn what happens with Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood.
Special note to my followers—I’ve been gone on a research trip, then returned and left again to celebrate my daughter's birthday. So, no book blogs for too long. Look for the next one within a few days.