By Derek Gunn
J. M. LeDuc is a writer of inspirational fiction. This is the first statement I read about this author. The second was that he is a writer of Christian thrillers. I am not sure how everyone else chooses their books but I don’t like pigeon holing. Broad genres are fine, horror, thriller, Science Fiction and Fantasy etc. These help me broadly to place a work. But there are so many sub genres now that it is possible to lose out on good fiction if you tend to ignore, or search for, key words.
I am not entirely sure what a ‘Christian’ Thriller is to be honest. It certainly isn’t what you might think. The fact that it is Christian does not have to take away from a really good read. Neither does it mean it has to be particularly Christian. This book is a case in point. If you are looking for plenty of action, clever puzzles, cool ideas of the origins of humanity then this is certainly the book for you. Does Dan Brown write Christian thrillers then? If you are looking for good characterisation filled with joy, despair, terror and man’s basic core of humanity then this is also the book for you.
If you like the aforementioned Dan Brown, Clive Cussler and many more like that then you will not be disappointed in this book. And this is where I get confused. Why do we need a sub-genre at all? The baddies are bad, the goodies are good, okay it’s more complicated than that, but this is a thriller – and a good one. If the Christian label helps sell the book then – great. I have no issue with that. But if you are someone who may let the Christian label turn you off then you will miss out on a great read.
Okay, down to the detail. CORNERSTONE is the first book after the previous Trilogy of the Chosen and, as such, will be like entering a room where everyone but you knows everyone else. It is a bit daunting. Brent Venturi is the leader of Delta Force’s Phantom Squad. He is a descendant of …No, I won’t give that away. Suffice it to say he has a very important bloodline – no it’s not Jesus so you can stop running ahead of me. It’s not Mary or Joseph either so stop guessing… The characters are already living; they have developed loyalties, loves and heartbreak in the other three books so you do need to concentrate to catch up at first. It’s not essential to read the other books first but it certainly helps as a lot has gone on in the last three books. They form the basis of who the team are and the losses they have suffered. These losses are key to the book so it might be worth setting aside a little more time and reading them first.
CURSED BLESSINGS, CURSED PRESENCE and CURSED DAYS – a lot of cursing going on in the titles – are all priced very keenly on eBook so it won’t even break the bank to catch up. There is also a novella, called PHANTOM SQUAD which covers off how the team came together and how Brent became a part of it.
Anyway, after the events of the trilogy Brent falls into despair – you see I told you that you really need to read the trilogy. He is cast out of Phantom Squad and embarks on a quest to where his bloodline begins. Of course, while he is gone the evil forces do not rest and we are carried away on another adventure. I do wish I had had the time to read the first three books as this would have made the process more enjoyable. Anyone who is already familiar with the sequence will be licking their lips in anticipation. I envy anyone who takes my advice and begins at the start – you now have four books to keep you occupied.
CORNERSTONE, as the name suggests, is a book that fills in the gaps that may have only been hinted at before. I am not prepared to give too much away as books like this are designed to surprise and cajole and you don’t want me ruining anything for you. It is released in June in Trade Paperback from Suspense Publishing and eBook.
If you like thrillers filled with action, and let’s face it, if you are reading these articles then you must, then fire up your eReader or get along down to the book store and sit back for a few hours. You’ll be glad you did.
Mark Adduci, writing as J. M. LeDuc is a native Bostonian, who transplanted to South Florida in 1985. He shares his love and life with his wife, Sherri and his daughter, Chelsea. Blessed to have had a mother who loved the written word, her passion was passed on to him. It is in her maiden name he writes. J.M. LeDuc’s first novel, CURSED BLESSING, won a Royal Palm Literary Award in 2008 as an unpublished manuscript in the thriller category. It was published in 2010. He has subsequently written CURSED PRESENCE and CURSED DAYS, books two and three of the Trilogy of The Chosen, as well as a novella, PHANTOM SQUAD. He is a proud member of the Florida Writers Association (FWA) and the prestigious International Thriller Writers (ITW).