Unknown Enemy: Make Friends With This Book

A couple weeks ago, I promised you a review of Janet Sketchley’s latest: Unknown Enemy, the first book in her new Green Dory Inn mystery series. And here it is!

One of the best things about being a writer is meeting other writers. The internet can be a wonderful thing! Janet is one of those friends I’ve never met yet, though I’ve known her for several years.

I believe we were introduced through a contest. Janet, please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you enter Heaven’s Prey in a contest run by Risen Books, my first publisher?

However I came to meet her, when I read that long-awaited debut novel of hers, it blew me away. The subject matter is more than a little jarring–a woman prays for the man who raped and murdered her niece. Seriously? Yes. Seriously. The faith premise makes you sit up and take notice. The writing is skillful. Without resorting to sensationalism, the author builds suspense until the reader’s toes curl. And of course the spiritual thread glitters throughout like solid gold. As Janet says, “Why leave faith out of our stories when it’s part of our lives?”

Those same skills are evident in this book. In fact, it’s evident that whatever she does, this lady does it well. Not only is this a good story, but the cover is perfect, and the whole thing is nicely formatted and edited. That cannot be said about many self-published books.

However, this story didn’t leave me feeling as satisfied as her previous ones. I wanted to know more about the protagonist’s backstory, and even solving the mystery as to who was terrorizing the inn  didn’t seem to answer all my questions. Oh, but wait — this is the first book in a series. That’s a good thing, because I definitely want to know more!

Thank you, Janet, for another good story–and for the promise of more to come.

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More Books Under My Belt

As I wait for the rain to stop so I can go out and grill chicken–and from the look of the weather radar, I think we’ll either be eating a very late supper, or cooking it indoors–I’ll tell you about some more books I’ve read recently.

Several years ago, someone recommended Zenna Henderson’s “People” stories as being excellently-written religious speculative fiction. I found Ingathering and purchased it then, but didn’t start reading it until this summer. A hefty 577 pages, it’s a compilation of all Henderson’s stories about “the People,” originally published in short story form in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.

It’s true that the writing is excellent. Henderson weaves words like a beautiful tapestry. And though it’s not Christian fiction, it’s definitely religious in nature. But before I was halfway through the book, I realized it was a chore to read, not a pleasure. I plugged away at it a little longer, but eventually I decided I’d had enough and put it aside.

The stories simply seemed too much of the same thing after a while. Moreover, I didn’t care about a group of wonderfully kind, ever-cheerful, and supernaturally gifted extraterrestrials who’d fled their dying home planet and came to earth to try to re-establish themselves on a planet where they were persecuted as freaks. That’s not all there was to it, but it eventually bored me, so I decided to move on to something else.

That “something else” was Unknown Enemy, written by a friend. I’ll be posting my review both here and on Amazon once the title is released on August 2, so stay tuned!

From there, I moved on to a short nonfiction piece, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev.

Now there’s a fascinating read! The author was born of Russian parents, but they left the USSR  and he was raised in the UK. Later, as an adult, he  lived and worked in Russia for almost a decade. As a result, he has a lot of stories to tell, and he tells them with skill.

I won’t be reviewing this book on Amazon because it already has plenty of reviews, and I don’t feel qualified to weigh in on it. I did enjoy it, though, and I recommend it for anyone who’s interested in that sort of thing.

The book was published in 2014, by the way, in case you were wondering how current it is. The situations discussed are all post-USSR, but a few years distant by now.

And finally, an update on a situation I know you’ve been consumed with curiosity to know more about: it’s still raining, and I ended up cooking the chicken indoors. It was a little disappointing. But we’re fed, cozy, and dry, so no complaints.

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