Posts Tagged With: thrillers

Thrilling the Reader with Real Life

Why are Thrillers named such? That’s largely up to the talent of the writer. They have to grab us and not let go for hundreds of pages. The best of them draw many details from the real world. Even in all the action and far-from-our-own-life-as-possible events happening to the characters, it’s those truths that hook you even further. They draw you in, get you thinking or upset you.

Tom Clancy is known for coming up with details in his techno-thrillers that seem almost too real. Sometimes prophetically so. They have even caught the attention of the military, wondering how he predicted events like terrorists using planes as weapons prior to 9/11. I guess the government doesn’t have all the smart people.

In Robert Bidinotto‘s Hunter draws from the author’s background in researching the criminal justice system. Amongst the action and spycraft it gives readers something to think about. Namely, problems in the justice system that few want to address.

Glenn Beck’s Overton Window takes events from recent history and weaves them into a fictional, yet troubling tale of what our nation could become. Politicos out there will be surprised that it is a story about all in power. It’s hard to tell politicians apart anymore, and perhaps the most insidious part of it all, much of what they do is out there in plain sight.

In The Constantine Codex, author Paul Maier, continues the current fascination with religious-thrillers. Lost scrolls, hidden secrets, haven’t we had enough? Except here we have Maier, a professor of ancient history, infuse his book with real history — nonetheless provocative to some — not the spurious pseudo-histories many authors draw on.

Many authors are talented at making their stories seem real. They have to be, because they are full of impossible situations, especially when you get into genres like fantasy and sci-fi. Those, however, who weave fact in their fiction, are those who best understand the craft of writing.

It entertains. It teaches. It provokes.

Categories: Books, Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Think History & Religion (or History of Religion) Boring?

“Religious historical fiction.” Is that its own genre? Almost. Ever since The DaVinci Code and what it passed as dubious, and often easily disproven, “facts” as its story’s background, the religious thriller has become a mainstay. Put something about a “code,” “codex,” “secret,” “Templar,” “hidden” or “scroll” in the title and you are guaranteed to sell a few. And many of them are good, or at least fun, escapes. A couple even try to get the history right.

Jerome Corsi’s The Shroud Codex weaves the centuries of debates surrounding the Shroud of Turin into a fast-paced story. Not as slick or well-realized as some, but not bad at all for his first novel.

Historian Paul L. Maier has a series that began with A Skeleton in God’s Closet. He uses his background to inject real history into his thrillers, though a few times it sounded as if he was giving a lecture. He also incorporates some current subject(s) of controversy that some of his competing writers are telling tales about. This one weaves in the historical Jesus debates. More Than a Skeleton continues the adventure, this time the hero facing down a supposed “messiah” (and endtimes theology).

The latest, The Constantine Codex finds Maier’s well-traveled characters in the wild world of lost, secret and suppressed manuscripts.

Each of Maier’s is a standalone novel, but I always like starting at the beginning. No matter how much an author explains later, seeing how the characters develop from the start is always best. He improves his storytelling with each, though the potential crisis in the third isn’t quite as humanity-changing as in the others.

History and religion, however, do make for quite the adventures.

Categories: Bible, Books, Fiction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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