Friday, November 22, 2013

Frame 232 aims to change historical views!

In Wil Mara's thriller Frame 232 we are asked to consider the implications the country might incur if the infamous "Babushka Lady" came forward with what is believed to possibly be one of the clearest recordings of those dark event on November 22, 1963 in Dealy Plaza.

Getting to the answers is the fun part of the book and Mara doesn't disappoint in the suspense department. He makes sure there are twists and turns all along the way and keeps you guessing where the main story will end.Mara does a nice job of stringing the reader along, but the conspiracy he chooses to chase down comes off as a little simplistic and might not do it for some folks by the end of the novel.

If you're a conspiracy buff, you might like the basic premise, if you're a mystery reader there's something here for you, if you just want a quiet and quaint little novel, you may as well look elsewhere.

Q & A with Wil Mara, author of Frame 232 

Coming July 2013 

1. What inspired you to write a novel around the assassination of President John F.

I have always been fascinated by the assassination, which, obviously, was one of the most pivotal and
enigmatic events in American history. And when I heard about the ‘Babushka Lady’---one of the few
people in Dealey Plaza that day who remains unidentified---and the possibility that she may have filmed
the shooting, an idea came to mind that seemed too good to disregard.

2. How much research did you do for this project?

An unbelievable amount. I spoke with assassination experts, read literally hundreds and books and
articles, pored over countless name it. My goal was to write a fictional story around the
established facts rather than alter the facts to serve the story. Thus, I had to know pretty much
everything. I ended up loading my brain with more data than I really needed...but I didn’t mind.

3. How has your research informed your own theory of what happened during the JFK

My personal theory, prosaic though it may be, is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. If you want to be
convinced, get your hands on a fairly rare book called Lee, which was written by his brother, Robert.
Once you understand the mind behind the eyes that looked through that rifle scope, you will be

 4. What have you learned about the real Babushka Lady?

She was wearing an overcoat, glasses, and a head scarf (i.e., a babushka), and was standing about thirty
feet from the limousine when the president took the fatal shot. Most assassination experts believe she
was also holding a camera---very possibly a film camera. If so, and if she had a reasonably steady hand,
then she probably took the best moving images of the assassination; even better than the famed
Zapruder film. Plus, she was standing opposite Zapruder, which afforded her a unique angle. And yet, we
don’t know her name, and her film has never surfaced. And here’s the most important part about her in
relation to Frame 232---she was a real person. I didn’t invent her to serve the story. If you do a Google
search, you’ll find her.

5. What is the significance of the title?

Simple---once the Babushka film is analyzed, the key moment that helps our heroes move forward with
their investigation occurs on frame 232.

6. What role does your Christian faith play in your writing?

It is embedded throughout this story, in a fashion both subtle and direct. I was raised Christian and have
been a firm believer all my life, so my belief system is threaded into just about everything I do. Anyone
who carries even the most fundamental faith will recognize the important elements in this book. The
most obvious example belongs to the main character, who recurs throughout the series---he is suffering
a deep crisis of faith, and the core of that crisis should be familiar to even the most devout follower. We
are human, plain and simple, and as such we experience doubts about the Lord in our lifetime. So it
won’t be hard for anyone to connect with him.

7. Describe the role of faith plays in your main characters, Sheila Baker and Jason
Hammond. Does this change as the story progresses?

With Sheila, you’ve got a very goodhearted person who is experiencing a critical change in her
worldview---she is coming out of the ‘money is the most important thing in the world’ phase and
beginning to understand that there are much higher priorities. This isn’t to say she’s trumpeting the
virtues of poverty (she still understands that it’s important to live within a certain comfortable and
respectable standard). But she’s figuring out that money isn’t what a person should worship---it’s
something altogether different. And there is a traceable and, I think, very satisfying arc to her story in
this regard.

As for Jason, he suffered a tremendous loss years earlier, went through a protracted nightmare period,
and is starting to come out of during the events of Frame 232. An encounter with a very unlikely source
helps him to turn the corner and begin a path to renewed promise---but even so, the journey ahead is
going to present serious challenges for him. The good news, though, is that he has not abandoned the
Lord altogether. If he had done that, there wouldn’t be any conflict within him in the first place.

 8. What lessons do you hope readers will come away with after reading Frame 232?

I can’t interpret the story for anyone but myself, but there are a few themes at work that strike me as
particularly valuable. One is that God’s path is always the right one in the end, even if it seems
unimaginably rocky at times. Another is that tragedies occur in every life, that these misfortunes usually
happen for a reason, and that the reason may not be apparent for some time. A third is that we need to
treasure our loved ones for as long as we have them around, because they can disappear in a heartbeat.
Also, it’s important to keep getting out of bed and moving forward every day because life is a gift, and
God does not favor those who waste their time and talents. If you are blessed with ability and resources
(and Jason has plenty of both), you should use them.

9. What do you have planned for your future Jason Hammond books?

Jason will be tackling other high-profile (and, later on, some lesser-known) mysteries as the series
progresses. Readers will also get to follow his ongoing struggles as he rebuilds his faith and gradually
assembles his ‘new normal.’ Plus, we’ll further explore the lives of those around him (including a budding
love interest, who will appear in the second book). It’s also worth noting that not every book in the
series will follow a strictly linear chronology. The one I’m writing now, for example (The Nevada
Testament) begins about six weeks after Frame 232. The one I’ll write after that, however (Gardner
Island), occurs before the events of Frame 232 and will feature, among other things, some of Jason’s
darker and more harrowing moments.

10. What would you like to say to Christian retailers to help them promote Frame 232?

I have tried like mad to strike an ideal balance between solid, suspenseful storytelling and the delivery of
worthwhile Christian messages without being over-the-top preachy. All the books in the series, while
undeniable in their Christian content, are suitable for the mainstream market as well and thus should
find a broad audience. It is also important to note that they were designed not just in regard to what
they offer, but what they don’t offer---readers will not have to deal with inappropriate language,
gratuitous sexual content, brazen violence, or any of the similar nonsense that characterizes so many
other forms of contemporary storytelling. The subject matter might be somewhat advanced in places,
but it can be safely absorbed and enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


I'd never heard of Eric Blehm when I picked this book up. I found him to be an exceptional storyteller and, from what I could tell, a thorough researcher.
I had also never heard of Adam Brown, though after reading this I'm stunned by that. This is a man who was thoroughly dedicated to God, Corps, and Country. A family man of fierce loyalty and worthy of admiration. If you don't know Adam's story, do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK.

Spoiler Alert: From Adam's humble beginings in a caravan family he carried himself to high school athletic fame, only to become a wreckage of a human being. With some very tough love from his family, and a whole lot of dedication on his part, Adam eventually found his way to the love of a good woman and the career of his dreams. A man who adored his children and fought fiercely with his Brothers-In-Arms, Adam became an example of the American Dream and the Story of Redemption at once. I am completely in awe of what this man was able to overcome and accomplish. We should all be so fortunate to put as much life in twice the years as Adam was able to do in his too short stead on Earth.  

I received a copy of Fearless through Waterbrook-Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review of the work.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Wrestling With the Devil - Reviewed

In Lex Luger's poignant autobiography he reveals a lot about himself and his missteps in life leading up to, throughout, and after his rise to pro wrestling fame. He is not a master story teller, but you do feel like maybe he would talk about his life in this way if you were to have a conversation with him. And his honesty is brutal, which is kind of endearing given that he's telling you about his own foul-ups.

This is definitely an evangenlical story, so if you're turned off by that sort of thing you likely won't care for the book. But if you can an enjoy the story of how a man completely destroyed, and then rebuilt, his life, you should have a winner on your hands here.

Lex Luger becomes rather inspiring by the end of the book. And at several points I myself identified with pieces of his struggle. All in all it's a fairly decent read and I can see many people getting on the Lex Luger fan wagon after this one, if they weren't there beforehand.

This book was giving to me through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review of the work.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Eye of the Sword Reviewed

It took me a long time to finally pick up Karyn Henley's Eye of the Sword. I'm not a particularly huge fantasy fiction fan. I don't hate it, I'm just not crazy about it. See I got the book for free through  Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review of the work.

I figured I'd get my wife to read it and let me know what she though, since she loves this genre usually. Well, she didn't want to start on book two of a series, so there it sat, and sat, and sat.

Well, I finally decided I better hold my end of the bargain up and grabbed the book with less enthusiasm than an office visit for vaccinations.

Here's the thing though, I actual did enjoy this book. I know it's a fantasy genre book, but something about guys on horseback defending ladies, and honor, and kingdoms just kind of resonated with me I guess. I don't know that the book will win awards, but it could certainly find a solid following without too much trouble. So don't be like me, pick the book up and get to reading, or you might just miss out on something.

You won't see it coming

I grabbed Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales off the Tyndale Blog Network shelf because it was the only thing that remotely interested me the day I picked it out. How happy I was to have chosen once I finished reading it.

Randy Singer's writing style definitely brings John Grisham to mind, but  it is also unique in it's own right. Singer uses a different style of phrasing, and while I don't know much about his other works it set this piece off nicely.

Following the ex-con turned lawyer through all the marvelous twists and turns really gets to be something and you'll find yourself reading when should really be doing something else, like sleeping.

But the best part of this book comes at the end, not because it's over, but because you won't see it coming.

I receieved a copy of this book for free from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review of the work.

American Phoenix Reviewed

Upon first beginning Jane Hampton Cook's American Phoenix I thought I might be reading about a treacherous journey through the European countryside. What I found, however, was a story of honor, fortitude, valiance, bravery, and highly notable patriotism.

If you are not familiar with the exploits of the United States of America's sixth President, this book would be a wonderful way to avail yourself of that knowledge.

A word to the wise and would-be reader though. American Phoenix is no light undertaking. The main girth of the book stands in a well over four hundered pages and there is some very heady content throughout.

All that having been said, this is an excellent read. Though it may take you a couple of weeks to pour over the numerous pages within.

I received a copy of American Phoenix by Jane Hampton Cook throught Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program. The copy was given me in exchange for my honest review of the work.

Monday, April 22, 2013

7 Men Will Inspire You

I recently received, and finished reading, 7 Men by Eric Metaxas. All I can say is, "Wow."

Yes, the book really is that good a read. Metaxas does a great job of blending historical fact with historical narrative. While he definitely  does include his personal beliefs in the book, it is not done in an overt way. Rather, it's very tasteful and matter-of-fact. And it is always in keeping with the narrative of each of the men the book touches on.

From George Washington to Chuck Colson you will learn things you likely never knew, or even heard about, before. The book will keep you engaged.

If you find on chapter less than interested take Metaxas suggestion and skip around the book. It really does read as 7 seperate stories, just as he claims it can in the introduction.

For me personally, I learned a great deal about Jackie Robinson and the struggles he faced while trying to make Major League Baseball a completely integrated part of life in the world. He didn't feel it had been accomplished yet when he passed away, and I found that sad considering how many years had passed and how much he personally sacrificed to that end.

If you looking for some direction in your own life, or just a few inspirational tales, this book is more than worth the time it will take you to get from cover to cover.

I was given this book through Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review of the material. I was not required to provide positive feedback.

Friday, April 05, 2013

The Coming Revolution might leave you wondering...

I read through a great deal of Dr. Richard G. Lee's The Coming Revolution, and while he and I are in the same camp of opinion, it seems as though he's willing to make almost any comparison to get his point across. There are points in the book where I was astounded by some of his claims, and while I do want to believe these are historically factual, I'm not sure they would help you win any arguments for Dr. Lee's case.

That being said, if you want some affirmation of your belief that this country has skewed it's moral compass greatly through the years, this is definitely a book for you. If you're a history guru, also a book for you. If you think that everything in America is just swell, might not be for you. Then again, it could just change your mind. Who am I to say?

I was given this book through Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review of the work.