“Life Expectancy” by Dean Koontz

Life Expectancy

by Dean Koontz


With his bestselling blend of nail-biting intensity, daring artistry, and storytelling magic, Dean Koontz returns with an emotional roller coaster of a tale filled with enough twists, turns, shocks, and surprises for ten ordinary novels. Here is the story of five days in the life of an ordinary man born to an extraordinary legacy—a story that will challenge the way you look at good and evil, life and death, and everything in between.

Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers’ waiting room and his dying father’s bedside. It’s a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm’s fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the first and last time since his stroke.

What he says before he dies is that there will be five dark days in the life of his grandson—five dates whose terrible events Jimmy will have to prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his twentieth year; the second in his twenty-third year; the third in his twenty-eighth; the fourth in his twenty-ninth; the fifth in his thirtieth.

Rudy is all too ready to discount his father’s last words as a dying man’s delusional rambling. But then he discovers that Josef also predicted the time of his grandson’s birth to the minute, as well as his exact height and weight, and the fact that Jimmy would be born with syndactyly—the unexplained anomaly of fused digits—on his left foot. Suddenly the old man’s predictions take on a chilling significance.

What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five dark days? What nightmares will he face? What challenges must he survive? As the novel unfolds, picking up Jimmy’s story at each of these crisis points, the path he must follow will defy every expectation. And with each crisis he faces, he will move closer to a fate he could never have imagined. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days when his world turns is a mystery as dangerous as it is wondrous—a struggle against an evil so dark and pervasive, only the most extraordinary of human spirits can shine through.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

LIFE EXPECTANCY is one of my favorite Dean Koontz novels. I rank it third, right below THE HUSBAND and THE GOOD GUY. Dean Koontz is one of my favorite secular novelists, but I find I enjoy his novels of the last ten years the best. This is one of those novels. Jimmy Tock, a humble baker, knows ahead of time what the five worst days in his life will be. Through faith, a strong family bond, and a great sense of humor, he faces every tragedy thrown at him.

The Truth Of The Matter by Andrew Klavan


The Truth Of The Matter

By Andrew Klavan

Book #3 in The Homelanders Series

Book Description

Charlie is certain that if he could just regain his memory, the chaos around him would make sense. But the truth of the matter is even more incredible than he could imagine.

Charlie West was an ordinary high school kid who went to bed one night and woke up in the clutches of terrorists and wanted by the police for murder. He also woke up with no memory of the events of the past year.

Now Charlie has found the one person who knows what happened . . . and who can help him remember. But remembering is painful–as well as dangerous–and figuring out what to do with this new knowledge may be Charlie’s toughest challenge yet.

My Review: ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

In the third novel of The Homelander Series called The Truth Of The Matter, Charlie West is beginning to remember the missing year he’s forgotten. But things aren’t easy. While he’s suffering from memory attacks, as he calls them, he’s chased by the good guys, the bad guys, and the police. He may not survive to find out who he really is.

I was on the edge of my seat for this novel, and I can’t wait for the fourth and final novel to be published. Charlie West is a normal teenager with fear and doubts who does extraordinary things and shows great courage because he’s determined to do the right thing and make a difference. I highly recommend this young adult series.

Featured Book: Momology In Stores Friday


A Mom’s Guide to Shaping Great Kids

by Shelly Radic


Your go-to book for successful mothering

Mothering is part art, part science, and always a work in progress! Backed by more than thirty years of research-based ministry at MOPS International, Momology is designed to help you be the unique mother God created you to be–because better moms make a better world.


“No mom should mother alone–you need all the support you can get. Momology brings kitchen-table wisdom and recent research together so you’ll have just what you need to raise great kids.”–Dr. Kevin Leman, author of Have a New Kid by Friday and The Birth Order Book

“An entertaining and informative collection of stories, strategies, statistics, and sound advice. From the finesse of day-to-day parenting to the big picture of what it means to be called God’s child, Momology is filled with great insights presented in a way even a dad can enjoy!”–Mike Nawrocki, co-creator of VeggieTales and voice of Larry the Cucumber

“A treasure book filled with practical, informative, inspiring, and creative ideas to help guide moms in raising happy, productive, God-loving children.”–Fern Nichols, president, Moms in Touch Intl.

Momology offers research, stories, and real-life applications from other moms, and then reminds you that you are a resilient, resourceful woman who brings unique qualities to your mothering. So you are capable of examining your options–mixing and matching, trying and tweaking–to find the creative combination that works for you. That’s why I believe Momology is the most user-friendly, relevant, and complete resource for moms today.”–Carol Kuykendall, author of Five-Star Families

“The ideas and solutions from real moms in Momology ooze with authenticity and demonstrate how other moms not only survive, but thrive.”–Dr. Mary Manz Simon, practical parenting specialist.

Author Shelly Radic:

Shelly Radic is Chief of Staff at MOPS International, author of The Birthday Book, and a regular contributor to MOPS publications. Her writing is informed by her education, mothering her four children, and twenty years of MOPS experience. She lives in Colorado.

Release Date: June 10 (You can pre-order from Amazon.com)

My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I wish I’d had this book when my children were growing up. This is more than a how to book for the day to day tasks of parenthood. This book teaches concepts that will help you be a better mom. I highly recommend this book.

“Streams of Mercy” by Teresa Slack – Free Book Drawing

Leave a comment to be entered in a contest to win a free “Streams of Mercy” novel autographed by the author. Comments must be posted by midnight on Friday, Feb. 5, 2010. Winner will be announced in the comments the following Monday. This contest is for USA only.

Streams Of Mercy

1st Novel in Jenna’s Creek Series

by Teresa Slack

 Winner of the 2005 BAIPA award for “Best New Fiction”

Book Description:

On the day of her father’s funeral, seventeen-year-old Jamie Steele discovers he was once the prime suspect in the disappearance and possible murder of an old girlfriend. All too familiar with his violent reputation and hard-fisted lifestyle, Jamie has to find out for herself if he was capable of the crime everyone in their small town thinks he committed.

The more she discovers about the twenty-five-year old disappearance of Sally Blake, the more convinced she becomes that her father was somehow involved. She has to know the truth even if it completely destroys the tenuous relationship she has with her grandmother, and what’s left of the memories of her father. What will she do if he’s proven guilty? How can she forgive someone who never admitted any wrongdoing? Can she find the mercy in her heart to forgive the past and mourn the father she has lost?

“…Slack creates a compelling plot in her debut novel…strong, consistent, realistic voice…Rather than preachiness…flawed characters suffer the consequences of their sins and come to their own determination of a need for God and a renewal of their relationship with him…The book has red herrings keeping the readers guessing until the end. This book would be a good addition to any mystery lover’s library.”
—-Christian Library Journal

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This is the first Teresa Slack novel I’ve ever read, and I’m glad I did. The characters are believable and compelling, and the mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat. I look forward to reading more. I recommend this novel.

“The Good Guy” by Dean Koontz

The Good Guy

by Dean Koontz


Book Description:

Timothy Carrier, having a beer after work at his friend’s tavern, enjoys drawing eccentric customers into amusing conversations. But the jittery man who sits next to him tonight has mistaken Tim for someone very different—and passes to him a manila envelope full of cash.

“Ten thousand now. You get the rest when she’s gone.”

The stranger walks out, leaving a photo of the pretty woman marked for death, and her address. But things are about to get worse. In minutes another stranger sits next to Tim. This one is a cold-blooded killer who believes Tim is the man who has hired him.

Thinking fast, Tim says, “I’ve had a change of heart. You get ten thousand—for doing nothing. Call it a no-kill fee.” He keeps the photo and gives the money to the hired killer. And when Tim secretly follows the man out of the tavern, he gets a further shock: the hired killer is a cop.

Suddenly, Tim Carrier, an ordinary guy, is at the center of a mystery of extraordinary proportions, the one man who can save an innocent life and stop a killer far more powerful than any cop…and as relentless as evil incarnate. But first Tim must discover within himself the capacity for selflessness, endurance, and courage that can turn even an ordinary man into a hero, inner resources that will transform his idea of who he is and what it takes to be The Good Guy.

Chapter One Excerpt

My Review:   ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

All I can say is Wow. Dean Koontz has done it again. An ordinary guy is in a bar. A man mistakes him for a hitman. Then the real hitman shows up. Does this “good guy” have what it takes to be a hero and save the day? This is classic Dean Koontz. An ordinary guy in extordinary circumstances is tested to the limits. Plot twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very end. Nobody does it better than Dean Koontz.

Recommended Novel: The Missionary


The Missionary

By William Carmichael & David Lambert

Life Turns On Small Choices!


Yesterday David Eller was an American missionary serving the poor in Venezuela. Today he is an international fugitive.

David Eller rescues impoverished children in Caracas, Venezuela, with his wife, Christie. But for David, that isn’t enough. The supply of homeless children is endless because of the massive poverty and the oppressive policies of the Venezuelan government.

When he is given an opportunity to do something more—to heal the disease rather than working on the symptoms—he decides to go for it. But little by little, he falls into an unimaginable nightmare of espionage, ending in a desperate, life-or-death gamble to flee the country with his wife and son.


“Taut and gripping. You’ll be glad you made the investment.”
–Jerry B. Jenkins, author of Riven and co-author of the 65-million-sold “Left Behind” series

“David Lambert is a master of words — The Missionary is further proof.”
–Karen Kingsbury, New York Times bestselling author of the Above the Line series

The Missionary is a roller-coaster read that will keep your adrenaline rushing!”
–Terri Blackstock, author of Double Minds and Last Light

The Missionary combines ripped-from-the-headlines action with deeply felt themes and compelling characters. It all adds up to a flat out page turner and a truly satisfying read.”
–James Scott Bell, best-selling author of Deceived

Read More endorsements here.

Buy an autographed copy of the novel here, and help a child in need.

Find out more at www.missionarynovel.com

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

David is a frustrated missionary. No matter how hard he works, there’s always more homeless poverty striken orphans he can’t reach. He wants to do more, but how can he with the repressive dictator he blames for Venezula’s misery in control. If only something could be done?

This is the mindset of David when he is approached by a man who claims ties to the CIA and says he plans a peaceful coup. All David has to do is make a few deliveries. David knows he’s putting the mission, his family, and his life at risk if he agrees, but this is his chance to do something important. But then everything goes wrong.

I can relate to David’s stupid decisions. Many times as Chritians, we don’t feel like what were doing is making any difference. Sometimes it’s easier to do something “big” to change things. This is not your typical missionary story with the protaganist who meekly serves. This man has the faults and temptations we all do, and sometimes he screws up big time while trying to help God out.

I literally could not put this novel down. From the moment I started reading it, I was hooked. I had to see what happened next. I couldn’t put it down. If I could give this novel 6 hearts, I would. It’s that good.

This novel was given to me free by the author in exchange for reviewing it on my blog.

Featured Novel: Faces In The Fire

Faces in the Fire

Faces In The Fire

By T.L. Hines


Book Description

Four lost souls on a collision course with either disaster or redemption. A random community of Faces in the Fire.

Meet Kurt, a truck-driver-turned-sculptor with no memory of his past. Corinne, an e-mail spammer whose lymphoma isn’t responding to treatment. Grace, a tattoo artist with an invented existence and a taste for heroin. And Stan, a reluctant hit man haunted by his terrifying gift for killing.

They don’t know each other, at least not yet. But something–or someone–is at work in the fabric of their lives, weaving them all together. A catfish, a series of numbers scribbled on a napkin, a devastating fire, and something mysterious. Something that could send them hurtling down the highway to disaster–or down the road to redemption. But they won’t know which is which until they’ve managed to say yes to the whispers in their souls.


T.L. Hines’ Website


My Review:   ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This is the first T.L. Hines book I’ve read, and I’m glad I did. From the first page, “Faces In the Fire” draws you into the four main characters lives. This supernatural suspense thriller will lead you into how each character finds redemption through a strange set of numbers and symbols. I was on the edge of my seat. The only caution I would give is this novel is not doctrinally correct but I believe is meant to be taken figuratively rather than literally. I highly recommend this novel.

Recommended Novel: The Husband by Dean Koontz

The Husband

By Dean Koontz

We have your wife.

You can get her back for two million, cash.

What would you do for love?

Would you die? Would you kill?


Landscaper Mitchell Rafferty thinks it must be some kind of joke. He was in the middle of planting impatiens in the yard of one of his clients when his cell phone rang. Now he’s standing in a normal suburban neighborhood on a bright summer day, having a phone conversation out of his darkest nightmare.

Whoever is on the other end of the line is dead serious. He has Mitch’s wife and he’s named the price for her safe return. The caller doesn’t care that Mitch runs a small two-man landscaping operation and has no way of raising such a vast sum. He’s confident that Mitch will find a way. If he loves his wife enough. . . Mitch does love her enough. He loves her more than life itself. He’s got seventy-two hours to prove it. He has to find the two million by then. But he’ll pay a lot more. He’ll pay anything.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This is the first Dean Koontz novel I’ve ever read, but it won’t be the last. From the first page where Mitch received the call from the men who kidnapped his wife, I was hooked. I could not put the book down. I can’t say much about this novel without spoiling it, but I will say it addresses themes that go to the heart of mankind. It shows what an ordinary man will do for love. He confronts his fears and his loneliness, but more than than that, he confronts evil he never knew existed. I give this novel my highest recommendation

Featured Novel – Riven by Jerry Jenkins


by Jerry B. Jenkins

Writer of the “Left Behind Series”

Tyndale Publishers

Heinous as any murder can be, the crime is not the story here. Rather, along with many other elements—seemingly unrelated at first blush—the crime serves as mere impetus to what really happened. And that proved unforgettable to any old enough to remember.

The unnamed state in which these events occurred had for nearly two centuries flaunted its renegade spirit, thumbing its nose at Washington. A succession of maverick governors, including one who engineered the state’s four-year secession during the Civil War, had served to fashion the commonwealth into a virtual landlocked island unto itself. Only Louisiana rivaled its no-nonsense prisons, only Texas its record on capital punishment.

The state’s leaders and citizens were as proud of their tough-on-crime reputation as they were of the state’s highway system, constructed and maintained wholly apart from federal funds and linking to the interstates only at the borders. The governor was as proud of the state’s decades-old reputation for budget surpluses as the legislature was of its historic capitol building.

Our two main characters, however, had never before given a thought to matters of state and could not have imagined how such would so thoroughly determine their fates.

Jerry says:  “This is the novel I have always wanted to write. I determine whether a fiction idea has merit by how long it stays with me. Does it rattle in my brain, and do I find myself telling it to my wife and other confidants? Is it the type of a tale that will draw me back to the keyboard every day? Two-thirds of my published books have been novels, and only three have had that effect on me.

I give my all to every one, but special joy and anticipation attend those that genuinely feel like the best ideas. Riven is my fourth such labor of love. The two main characters have remained in my memory since high school 40 years ago. The story idea is perhaps 20 years old. And those mystical, interweaving elements I hope make it all work have been tugging at me for more than a decade.

If a novelist has a life’s work, this is mine. I hope in the end you agree and that Riven stays with you long after the final page.”

Click Here to read Chapters 1 & 2

My Review:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is one of the best redemptive stories I’ve ever read. I highly recommend it. The story follows the life of two men. One serves God with all his heart, but never seems to make a difference no matter how hard he tries. The other man, Brady, follows the wrong road at every turn and can’t seem to make a wise decision. Their paths intersect, and when they do, God’s redemption and love changes the world.

Featured Novel – To Skin a Cat by John Robinson

To Skin A Cat

By John Robinson

Joe Box Series Novel #3

River Oak Publishers

Reviewers say Joe Box is “tough and hard to bluff; a character that gets under your skin – and stays there … one of the most appealing protagonists ever created; To Skin a Cat doesn’t disappoint. There is no other writer today who does this better.”

“Robinson proves again what many maintain is impossible: blending gritty, hardcore, pavement pounding detective fiction with spiritual truths … the best yet of Joe Box”



The faces in the wall were back. Burning. Berating. Jeering. Taunting.

I jumped up, balling my fists as I stared around, wide-eyed.

They were everywhere, ominously floating. Shifting. Silently moaning. That was always the worst part. Their mouths moved in the flames, but no sound could be heard. My hands were clenched so tight I felt my nails drawing blood. Some of the visages before me looked hauntingly familiar, guys I’d served with in the war, or as a cop on the force. Sometimes even my wife and son.

The problem was, they were all faces of the long-ago dead.

Through the ocher walls came their grasping hands, beckoning me to join them. Up through the floor came more gray, ethereal fingers, plucking at my clothes and grabbing at me. With every bit of self-will I possessed I stood stock-still.

“It’s not real,” I said out loud. “None of this is real. There aren’t any faces. There aren’t any hands. There aren’t.” But it didn’t seem to be working. Still they called me, like the Sirens to Ulysses.

I felt my resolution crumbling, turning to powder like old plaster. That’s when inexplicably the hands retreated, and the faces faded.

Once more I found myself alone in the dank room, drawing in gasping, shuddering breaths. Knees weak, I leaned against the wall, now bare of phantoms, willing my pounding heart to slow down before it tore itself apart.

I couldn’t take much more of this. One of these times they weren’t going to leave. Not until they took me with them.

Almost surrendering to despair, it was all I could do not to hang my head and weep. A part of me sneered in derision. Joe Box, tough guy. Vietnam vet. Former cop. Hardnosed private eye. Look at him. About to cry like a little girl.

Yeah, what of it? I almost answered, checking my reply at the last second. I had to watch that. Talking to myself, especially here in this dark realm, could be habit-forming. It seemed to me all I needed to make it through this was a friend. Just one tiny friend …

I got my wish.

Under the wooden door, slithering into the room came a small green garter snake. His vermilion skin was cartoon-bright, and like a cartoon, his face carried a happy smile.

I returned it, grateful for the company. As a kid growing up in the hills of eastern Kentucky, I’d kept garter snakes as pets lots of times. The last one I’d owned, right before my dad and Granny and me had moved up to Cincinnati, I’d named Lester. This little guy here looked just like Lester.

I bent low, offering him my hand. The snake ignored me, instead curling himself around my ankle. I smiled again. That was so much like Lester too.

“Hey, Lester,” I said. “Want to take a walk around the room? Like we used to?”

Lester didn’t answer. He never did. But this time there was a reason.

He was morphing.

The creature looped around my ankle wasn’t a green garter snake anymore. It was a small black python. When it looked up, its eyes glowed with lovely cold fire.

Slowly, almost casually Lester began climbing. And as he climbed, he began growing and thickening. He was eight feet long now, and as thick as my arm as he coiled himself around my body.

And then, in a slow, mesmerizing rhythm, Lester began pulsating with dark, rich colors. Blood red. Jet black. Running from his head to his tail.

This wasn’t so bad. Kind of pretty. His weight felt good too. Good old Lester … I started to stroke him.

And that’s when things went south.

The snake’s eyes locking hard onto mine, he started to squeeze. The breath exploded from my lungs as my eyes bulged. What the–? This wasn’t even close to being right. Why was Lester trying to kill me?

I didn’t know, and I didn’t have time to ponder it. Whipping my body from side to side, I struggled to free myself from his death grip. To no avail. I was running out of time. Fast. Sliding my hands down Lester’s body, frantically I sought some kind of purchase on his slick scales. Anything. A couple of feet from his neck, I found it. A soft, mealy spot. My thumbs sunk deep as heartsick, and with everything I had, I ripped poor Lester open. His flesh parted beneath my hands like cold, wet newspaper. The snake shuddered. That should have ended it. But it didn’t.

Through the rents in Lester’s sides erupted a horde of scorpions.

There were dozens of them, hundreds, each as big as my thumb and as black as sin. They kept coming, now crawling all over me with spiky feet. Everywhere they touched, their stingers felt like the blue-white tips of acetylene torches, searing and cooking my flesh.

Helpless, I screamed in fear, rage, and agony.

The scorpions screamed back, a piercing cacophony, joined by the Lester-thing. The faces in the wall had returned, and they’d found their voices, laughing maniacally.

In the midst of the madness, I fought to stay sane. “Come on, Box, wake up,” I said. “Resist this. It’s not real.” And it wasn’t. I awoke with a start.

Jumping up off the couch and staggering to my feet I found myself drenched in cold sweat and shaking like an aspen. The images of the nightmare still fresh in my mind, I ran my fingers through my hair. I couldn’t take much more. Three nights in a row now. Three.


October, to my thinking, is the best time of the year. By then the harsh heat and heavy humidity of the Cincinnati summer is gone, and winter’s nasty grasp hasn’t yet begun. Although from time to time you can hear it cracking its knuckles in anticipation.

Outside my office window, the sky above the neighborhood of Mount Healthy where I worked (strange name, I know; don’t ask), had gradually eased from that white kiln-like color the summer heat paints it to the deep, azure blue it only gets in late fall. I had the window cracked just a bit to let in the cool gentle breeze as I went over some paperwork.

Another hour of this, then I’d pick up my fiancée Angela Swain for our date, which tonight would consist of a fine French meal at the Chez Maison, followed by what the critics were calling a pretty good comedy at the Playhouse in the Park. All that was needed to complete this tranquil scene was a little red breasted robin trilling outside, a la’ Mary Poppins. I sighed in contentment.

The shrill, harsh ringing of my phone broke that serenity. I picked up. Business always has an aggravating way of intruding. “Box Investigations.”

“Is this Mr. Joseph Box?” The voice was male, a bit older, breathy, pleasant.

“Yes. Who’s this?”

“I’m in your lobby sir. I was calling to see if you were in, before I undertook the task of mounting your stairs. Goodbye.”

“What?” But whoever it was had hung up. Oh well. If the guy really was in the lobby, the mystery would be solved soon enough.

A few moments later I heard the ponderous tread of someone starting to make their way up the stairwell. The man — if it was the same one who’d just called — was having a hard time of it. Thud, thud, and a pause. One riser conquered. Thud, thud, and another pause. I couldn’t help it as I began humming I’ve Been Working on the Railroad in time to the sound. This looked like it might take a while, so I folded my hands on the desk blotter in front of me, pasted on a bland expression, and waited.

My Review:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is the best of the three Joe Box novels. But read the others first. There are spoilers in this novel. Joe Box is at it again. This time he tackles the porn industry’s link to a friend’s murder, and this may be the case that Joe can’t handle. Hard-hitting, fast action, twists and turns – what more can I say. I highly recommend “To Skin A Cat”. The only downside to this story is it’s the last of the Joe Box Series. I’m going to miss Joe.

John Robinson’s Website

John Robinson’s Blog