Book Review: Kill Order

In Adam Blumer‘s new novel, Kill Order, Landon Jeffers is an award-winning pianist diagnosed with brain cancer. After his doctors removed as much of the tumor as they could, they inserted an implant into his brain to continue to fight the remaining cancer.

But that’s not all they inserted.

Landon is recovering from surgery at his mother’s house when he starts having vivid partial memories of a couple of incidents in his childhood. As he tries to unravel what really happened, he also starts having strange dreams. In one, he stole an item from his mother’s neighbor. When he wakes up, he finds evidence that he really did commit the crime.

Then he wakes up one morning with blood on his clothes. As he turns himself in to the police, he learns he can’t be sure whom to trust. He has to find a way to escape whoever’s controlling him.

Adam keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Bits of humor are sprinkled throughout at just the right moments. Landon is not a Christian, but his mother and childhood friend both are, so there is some tension along those lines as well.

Adam had pledged to his readers that he will keep his novels clean. There are no swear words or sexual scenes here.

Adam also makes his books distinctively Christian. I’ve read too many books that are “Christian lite” or that are Christian in name only. I like to see Christian people doing Christian things in Christian fiction, seeking God’s will as they wrestle with issues. I loved how Adam’s characters developed spiritually.

Kill Order is a highly enjoyable, highly recommended book.

I interviewed Adam last week about what sparked the idea behind Kill Order, how he got started writing, and other topics here.

There are a few days left in the contest for to win a signed paperback copy of Kill Order here. Or you can find Adam’s book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. At the time of this writing, the Kindle version is only $2.99.

Here is a trailer for the book:

(Sharing with Carole’s Books You Loved, Booknificent)

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Interview with Adam Blumer, Author of Kill Order

Adam Blumer writes page-turning “meaningful suspense” novels. I loved his first two: Fatal Illusions and The Tenth Plague (linked to my reviews). His third novel, Kill Order, just released a few days ago. Here is the summary:

When he sleeps, the forgotten terrors of the past come alive.

Grammy-winning pianist Landon Jeffers’s brain cancer has given him only a few years to live. But when he sleeps, the forgotten terrors of his past torment him. When he wakes, shameful memories come rushing back. Desperate for answers, Jeffers discovers that a brain implant intended to treat his cancer is really a device to control him, forcing him to commit terrible crimes. Now he’s being manipulated by an evil crime syndicate and a crooked cop.

What if free will isn’t? What if your every move is predestined? If you kill, are you guilty of murder?

Intriguing, isn’t it? I’ve read the book and will be reviewing it next week, and I can assure you, it’s excellent! At the end of this post, I’ll let you know how you can enter to win a signed copy of the book.

Today I am welcoming Adam to Stray Thoughts to share a little about about himself, Kill Order, and writing.

First, a little background information:

Adam Blumer fixes other people’s books to pay the bills. He writes his own to explore creepy lighthouses and crime scenes. He is the author of three Christian suspense novels: Fatal Illusions (Meaningful Suspense Press); its sequel, The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press); and Kill Order (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas).

A print journalism major in college, he works full-time from home as a book editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia. When he’s not working on his next thriller, he’s hiking in the woods, playing Minecraft with his daughters, or learning new chords on his guitar. He is committed to writing clean suspense that is free of profanity, vulgarity, and sexual content. He is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the Christian Editor Network, and The Christian PEN. He works with literary agent Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.

What gave you the inspiration to write Kill Order?

My dad, Larry, passed away from brain cancer in 2011, and several aspects of his cancer journey kicked off the initial story idea. One key detail involved a medical procedure; the doctors agreed to remove as much of my dad’s brain tumor as possible and replace it with medicinal wafers intended to fight the existing cancer. My mind began playing the what-if game. What if the doctor implanted something else, something that could monitor or even control my dad’s life? The story’s premise grew from there.

I noticed that your branding on your website is for “meaningful suspense.” What inspired you to write these kinds of thrillers and suspense novels? Also, could you please tell us what inspired your “clean fiction guarantee”?

I began reading Christian novels in junior high and soon gravitated to suspense. Back in the day, an inspirational thread was a staple in Christian fiction, and I believe a Christian novel can do more than simply entertain. These days many authors are leaning toward writing clean, moral stories but avoiding overt Christian content. I’m a believer that the inspirational content should stay (hence “meaningful suspense”). Books can encourage and even challenge readers’ thinking while taking them on a roller coaster of a ride. The “clean fiction guarantee” came about due to the rise of objectionable content in some Christian fiction. My fans were expressing disappointment to me due to content issues when they tried books by some Christian authors. I felt it was time to declare where I stood, and many readers have appreciated my guarantee.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

When I was a child, I began writing wildly imaginative pirate and fantasy stories. My first handwritten story was a fantastical tale about Captain Kidd’s spyglass. In high school, I also wrote and finished an unpublished novel called Down with the Ship. It’s such an Agatha Christie copycat that I laugh whenever I peruse it, but emulation is how a lot of authors get to be where they are today. Those were the early projects that inspired me to take novel writing seriously. When I won a high school award for creative writing, I wondered if God wanted to do more with my love for fiction. In college I won more writing awards, and though I studied journalism, I took as many creative writing courses as possible. God opened doors from there, and I’ve never lost my love for fiction writing.

If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self, what would that be?

Writing the story is only half of the project. The other half is finding out what readers like to read, crafting the story for them by following publishing standards, and writing the story to the best of your ability. Then remember that publishers can take a very long time to decide whether they want your work. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep going and waiting.

Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.

  1. The amount of time each book requires from start to finish. Included in this is the long wait time from publishers.
  2. The continually changing rules in writing and publishing. Just when you think you know what publishers are looking for, your agent tells you something else.
  3. Book marketing. One cannot guarantee sales. I wish a book release was like the movie Field of Dreams. “Build it, and they will come.” If only it were that easy. There is almost an equal amount of work in just promoting the book.

On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?

I get most excited about the creative process when a plot development I never saw coming unexpectedly presents itself, taking the story in a new but stronger direction. This epiphany has happened to me several times.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have been blessed with a wonderful home office. Though I often like to write in other locations, this is by far my favorite place. I can close the door, shut out life’s distractions, pray, and become immersed in my story. Now and then, if I need a break, I can glance out the window and delight in God’s creation.

What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?

I’m currently enjoying Mind Games by Nancy Mehl. I especially enjoy a good thriller, whether Christian or secular. Some of my favorite authors are Steven James, Terri Blackstock, Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and Brandilyn Collins. I like how they weave story threads together and craft their scenes in ways that keeps the plot moving forward. Their books are great examples of what works in suspense writing. I learn so much simply by reading their novels.

What is the best part of your author’s life?

I love hearing from readers who went to work tired because they stayed up too late finishing one of my novels. If I kept them immersed in my story and entertained, that’s a score in my book.

Do you have any new writing projects on the horizon?

I’m almost finished with the first draft of the sequel to Kill Order and hope to have something ready for my agent sometime this fall.

Adam, thank you for stopping by and for giving us another great book. I am looking forward to the next one. Thank you, especially, for producing books that are not only well-written, but clean and meaningful.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my writing life at your blog.

Where Readers Can Buy a Copy of Kill Order

Paperback:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1645261867/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kill-order-adam-blumer/1132572349?ean=9781645261865
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas: https://www.shoplpc.com/product/kill-order/

Kindle E-book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VRSPGMN/

How to Connect with Adam

Website: http://www.adamblumerbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdamBlumerNovelist
Twitter: https://twitter.com/adamblumer
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Adam-Blumer/e/B001PYV33I/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2315682.Adam_Blumer
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/adamblumer/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adamblumer/

Kill Order Paperback Giveaway:

You can enter for the opportunity to win a signed paperback copy of Kill Order here.

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Happy Now, Hearth and Soul, Tea and Word, Booknificent)

Give-away: E-version of The Tenth Plague

The-Tenth-PlagueSeveral days ago I commented on a post on Adam Blumer’s Facebook page to be entered in a drawing for an e-version of his book, The Tenth Plague. I had thought I was entering to win his new book – which, if I’d thought about it for a second, I would have realized that wasn’t possible because it is not even out yet (I can be a little dense sometimes. 🙂 ). I did happen to win Adam’s drawing, and since I’ve already read The Tenth Plague (reviewed here, along with an author interview), I asked him if I could have a copy sent to one of you instead, and he agreed.

The story is a sequel to Adam’s first novel, Fatal Illusions (reviewed here), but can be read independently. It involves Marc and Jillian Thayer, who have just adopted a new baby boy, and a friend has invited them to  a Christian-themed resort for some rest and time together as a new family. But soon odd things begin to happen: someone rigs the water system to dispense what appears to be blood from the faucets. At first this is thought to be a weird prank, but soon other events occur which are based on the ten plagues of Egypt found in the book of Exodus in the Bible. Marc and a retired detective friend try to find out what is going on while Gillian runs into someone from her past who has hurt her deeply. One of the major themes in the book is the need to extend forgiveness.

Adam writes suspense very well, and his characters are realistic, everyday Christian people trying to discern and apply God’s will in their circumstances.

You can read an excerpt here.

If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a free Kindle or Nook version of The Tenth Plague, leave one comment on this post. I’ll use random.org to draw a name from among the comments next Wed. morning (June 4).

The drawing is concluded and the winner is Lou Ann! I’ll be contacting her shortly. Thank you all for entering!

The Tenth Plague: Book Review and Author Interview

The-Tenth-PlagueIn The Tenth Plague by Adam Blumer, Marc and Jillian Thayer have just adopted a new baby boy, and a friend has invited them to  a Christian-themed resort for some rest and time together as a new family.

When they arrive, however, the retreat is in upheaval. A company planning a new Bible translation is having meetings at the resort, and a throng has arrived to protest. Someone rigged the water system to dispense what appears to be blood from the faucets. What seems an odd prank is soon discovered to be the first in a series of events based on the Biblical ten plagues of Egypt, some of them resulting in fatalities. Marc calls on a friend, a retired homicide detective, to help with the investigation as the plagues escalate.

Gillian, meanwhile, runs into someone who has hurt her deeply in the past. She thought she had put it all behind her, but the old anger and hurt rush back in like a flood,  and she wrestles with the need to extend forgiveness.

The Tenth Plague is a sequel to Fatal Illusions, Adam’s first book (which I reviewed here), but you don’t have to have read the first book to understand and enjoy the second. Both books are tremendously suspenseful and feature realistic, everyday Christian people trying to discern and apply God’s will in their circumstances. I enjoyed them both very much!

Here is an interview with Adam:

blumer_adam_portrait

What was your inspiration behind The Tenth Plague?

 One day I was reading the book of Revelation and came across 22:18–19. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (ESV). My mind began playing the “what if” game. Would God really bring a biblical plague on someone who tampered with His Word? I chatted with a few theologian friends, and the plot emerged from there.

How does this novel compare with your first novel, Fatal Illusions?

Though the plot, of course, is different, the two novels share a number of similarities. Both are set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where I live. I like to write about average folks like Marc and Gillian Thayer, a pastor and his wife who face unexpected, even threatening, events. Of course, there’s another really bad killer who wants to do them harm, and their retired homicide detective friend, Chuck Riley, once again comes out of retirement to help them. I also like to weave in a historical event that somehow relates to the present day. In Fatal Illusions, it was the killer’s obsession with Houdini; in The Tenth Plague, an old mine disaster plays an important role. The past always plays an important role in the present—a running theme in my novels. Overall, I like to write about redemption: how biblical truth offers the answers to the complicated issues of life. Stories, like parables, present some of the best ways to illustrate biblical truths.

 What was one of the most important lessons you learned during the writing of this novel?

The power of the collaborative process. I had a fairly strong first draft, but I was stuck. A novel editor provided a creative springboard and helped me see where my true story lay. Without her help, I doubt this story would have seen the light of day.

 What part of writing this novel took the most work?

 This novel required a ton of research. From an old mining tragedy to autism, from adoption law to anthrax, from pheromones to the Oklahoma City bombing, the research for this one required much more than I ever expected. I’m so thankful for technology and ease of access, thanks to the Internet. Without Google and so many resources at my fingertips, I’d probably still be researching this story.

 So far, what has been your favorite work experience in life?

 During one summer between years in high school, I worked at a library, a book lover’s paradise. Granted, a lot of the work involved stocking shelves, but being surrounded by so many fascinating books and interesting authors was pure heaven. I was born a die-hard book lover, and I’ll probably die one too.

Consider the qualities that make you unique. How do these qualities come out in your writing?

 I love suspense fiction and history, so a blending of the two always seems to come out in my writing. In high school, I won awards in calligraphy; Gillian Thayer, my female lead, is into calligraphy in a big way (it’s her job). I’ve always been intrigued with how one’s past impacts his or her present and future. This is a recurring theme in my novels because it’s part of who I am. Now that I think about it, what I write is inseparable to some degree from who I am.

 Introduce your plot summary and main characters. What is your favorite part of the story?

Water turns to blood. Flies and gnats attack the innocent. Marc and Gillian Thayer’s vacation resort becomes a grisly murder scene, with a killer using the ten plagues of Egypt as his playbook for revenge.

When their friend turns up dead, Marc and Gillian put their vacation on hold, enlist the help of a retired homicide detective, and take a closer look at the bizarre plagues as they escalate in intensity. Meanwhile, a stranger is after the Thayers’ newly adopted baby. Will they uncover the truth behind the bitter agenda before the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn son?

 My favorite part is when the firstborn son is revealed and the novel culminates in the tenth plague. This is the most suspenseful and action-packed part of the story, with several key characters in jeopardy. I had a blast writing it.

 One of the main themes of The Tenth Plague is confronting and dealing with your past. What can readers take away from this theme, especially in a novel that deals with religion and death?

 Both the villain and my heroine, Gillian Thayer, grapple with heartbreaking real-life issues from their past. But how they respond shows two very different paths. My hope is that readers will see the stark contrast in the context of biblical truth presented in the story. The bottom line is that God is enough, and He offers the solution to every problem of life. This is another repeated theme in my stories. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my latest project.

Some content used by permission of Kirkdale Press

Tenth Plague Forgiveness

The Tenth Plague is available in e-book format only from Amazon and Vyrso. You can read an excerpt here.

Thanks to Adam for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

(This will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

Book Giveaways

Author Adam Blumer writes edge-of-your-seat suspense infused with Biblical principles. His new book, The Tenth Plague, will be released as an e-book on January 29. I’ll have more to say about it then, but meanwhile, if you’d like to have a chance to win a copy of The Tenth Plague or a physical copy of his first book, Fatal Illusions (linked to my review), go here or click on the graphic.

10th Plague Giveaway

Adam discusses the book here, and you can read an excerpt of The Tenth Plague here.

Laudable Linkage

Here are some good online reads from the last couple of weeks:

The Value of Quiet Husbands. Good leadership isn’t always public and showy.

5 Questions Wives Should Not Ask Their Husbands.

Rising Above Familiarity With the Sublime, Part 1 and Part 2. Though written to preachers, it contains good advice for anyone who is in the Word of God regularly and is so familiar with parts of it that we can tend to lose sight of its wonder. Bonus, it’s written by our beloved former pastor.

True Womanhood Is Not About You and Me. “True womanhood is not wrapped in a sparkly white box tied up in the red, satin ribbon of our good behavior or correct conduct. True womanhood is a reflection of the very heart of God; the very character that we can rely on day-in and day-out.”

Author Adam Blumer (Fatal Illusions, linked to my review) has been writing a series In Defense of Clean Speech, arguing against the increasing practice of some Christian fiction authors to use vulgar or crude language or cursing in their work for “realism.” Part 4: What Is Unclean Speech? and Part 5: Flawed Arguments are especially good (you’ll find links to the other parts there.)

Another review of A Year of Biblical Womanhood, this one by Mary Kassian, one of the coiners of the word “complementarian,” who feels the author misrepresented the position and the movement.

2012 Photomicrography Competition, HT to Challies. There is a whole amazing world beyond our eyesight.

Years ago while in college I saw the movie  and years later read and reread the book Peace Child about the Richardson family who went to minister to the Sawi tribe of Papua, New Guinea. The Sawi were headhunters who valued deception and thought Judas was the hero of the gospel. Finally one of their rites of a peace child gave an opening to present what the gospel truly meant. This video shows Richardson and his sons going back 50 years after their first visit. Amazing what God can do in people’s hearts!