Title: If I Live (If I Run series) by Terri Blackstock
Genre: Currently #6 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Religious & Inspirational Fiction, Christian, Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Publication Date: To be released March 6, 2018 – Happy Publication Day!!
Source: Zondervan and NetGalley
Title and Cover: If I Live – Not sure how the cover conveys subject but links the trilogy with the other two covers
Protagonist Casey Cox is on the run, still, and doing a darned good job at evading capture. She has been doing this for awhile and is quite good at it, but she does have a person she can trust–if she can just connect with him. She has been accused of a murder she didn’t commit. Private Investigator Dylan Roberts, hired by Brent’s family to find the killer, has tried to connect with her. He has new information. POV switches first person from Casey to Dylan to antagonist dirty cop Keegan. Not just dirty–sociopathic scary icky.
Casey is in Memphis and desperate for money takes a job with slightly shady attorney Barbero. Dylan has investigated all the circumstances and comes to believe in her innocence and is working toward getting her to go safely back to Shreveport to clear her name. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know who they can trust. Together, she and Dylan decide to take the evidence gathered to the DA. Dylan arrives at his office to present the case but dumbs down a bit and things go south. Just how deep is the Keegan quagmire?
While I didn’t remember reading about Christian content in the blurb, it ran on the lighter side though a great deal of the credit for Casey’s survival was given to the man upstairs. Dylan fortunately planted the Christian bug in Casey’s head and it lodged there and grew, sustaining her through some very terrifying scenes. But you have to give credit to Casey as well, she is one smart cookie and “God helps those who help themselves…”
The blurb did hint at possible romance, and [**spoiler] there is, though thankfully that does not overwhelm the storyline.
The opening chapter grabs your attention and switching POV’s keeps it. The pace never slows and ramps up considerably during Casey’s evasion scenes–hoo boy–is she good! (Not sure where she received her training, but it was definitely worth every penny!) Gutsy lady! I liked that she survived using her wits, not a martial arts belt or weapons.
Dialogue reads fairly natural. Scenes were set up well and easily visualized, and the plot moved at a good pace. Keegan is beyond nasty; vicious, and the description of him with partner Rollins was gag-inducing. He thinks he is the proverbial “smarter than the average bear” and sure he can defeat Dylan and Casey.
Having ridden into the third of a trilogy, I missed much of the fleshing out of Casey or Dylan, or for that matter, most of the characters. You might very well do better by beginning with the first, as it would go a long way to explaining who she is and how she got into this fix in the first place.
The story ends pretty much as you’d expect, with most loose ends wrapped up prior to arriving at the happy ever after. I received this eARC download through Zondervan and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I can recommend to those who enjoy a cleanly written Christian thriller that moves without getting overly preachy with a little romantic interest.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: (From Amazon Author page) Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.
In 1994 Terri was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. As she was praying about her transition, she went on a cruise and noticed that almost everyone on the boat (including her) had a John Grisham novel. It occurred to her that some of Grisham’s readers were Christians, and that if she wrote a fast-paced thriller with an added faith element, she might just find her niche. As God would have it, Christian publishers were showing interest in the suspense genre, so she quickly sold a four-book series to Zondervan. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, most of them suspense novels.
Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope.
Other recent books include her stand-alone novel Shadow in Serenity, and Vicious Cycle (Book 2 in her Intervention Series). She’s also known for popular series such as the Restoration Series, the Cape Refuge Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, and the SunCoast Chronicles series.
Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins. ©2018 V Williams