Best-selling Christian suspense author Terri Blackstock has been a favorite novelist of mine for nearly a decade now. The account of how she came to write Christian thrillers is an engaging story in itself.
“Initially, I thought I would write clean romances, not get into the sex and not compromise my principles in any way,” says Blackstock about writing in the secular market.
But pressures and temptations eventually wore her down, and she began writing books that sold well, but weren’t stories she could be proud of.
“I felt very successful,” Blackstock admits, “But success didn’t bring me happiness, because I was a Christian, and the Holy Spirit I was grieving was making me miserable.”
So, she changed course entirely. In 1994, she turned her back on her booming career – 32 titles, 3.5 million books sold –in secular romance, and entered the arena of Christian fiction.
“I see my books now as a ministry,” she says.
And a ministry they are. Her personable characters and intricate plots provide satisfying reads that engage the brain and challenge the imagination. The action and intrigue of her stories appeal to any reader who likes a good suspense thriller. And the spiritual messages of each book is unforgettable.
The setting for her recent Cape Refuge Series is modeled after a small coastal island, just east of Savannah, Georgia.
In Cape Refuge, book one of the series, a brutal double-murder strikes fear in the hearts of residents in the once-peaceful island town.
Readers enter another gripping story in book two, Southern Storm, when an unidentified body appears, and a missing police chief becomes the murder suspect.
River’s Edge, the third book in the series, was among three finalists for the 2005 Christy Awards, and is another page-turner guaranteed to keep you up too late. A peculiar doctor, a suspicious psychic, a missing wife, and an unfaithful husband are all players in this brain-twisting mystery.
Breaker's Reef, fourth in the series, was just released this summer, and it follows suit with a final great story to cap off the series.
Besides the intriguing characters, plots, and setting, Blackstock does a couple of extra things in the Cape Refuge Series that are definite pluses for me.
First is the map of Cape Refuge in the front of each book. I love maps anyway, and find myself frequently returning to the front page to locate island landmarks like the library, police station, Hanover House, or the Owens’ boathouse. Having a chart of the island really lends an authentic visual context for the story.
Second, Blackstock makes sure each novel in the series can stand alone, with complete story and resolution. No cliff-hangers or television-style gimmicks to give you anxiety until next year’s title appears, but characters memorable enough that you’ll want to know what happens to them next.
The only real anxiety Terri Blackstock’s fans face is wondering how soon we can find her next book on store shelves. Her newest story, Last Light, should make an appearance in stores this month. She promises it’s different from her normal M.O. I can’t wait to read it. And I predict another Christy nomination – or maybe two – next year.
Click here to buy the Cape Refuge Series by Terri Blackstock
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