Colin and Hazel at Picnic Point Café, Toowoomba.
Old Sins Cast Long Shadows by Frances Bodley, 2015.
To take another’s life is a heinous crime. When it happens in a small village and destroys its tranquil lifestyle the inhabitants rightly feel deep anger. A young woman’s body is found in Smugglers Wood. The annual country festival is about to begin and the Writers’ Competition judge is a senior police officer and successful crime writer from London. He arrives in the seemingly peaceful village but behind closed doors are the smugglers and drug dealers….
Review by Hazel Barker
Old Sins Cast Long Shadows is a cleverly crafted crime fiction novel with a compelling opening which draws the reader in. The author does a solid job with setting, pacing and plotting. Family secrets hover like shadows of the story. The sense of menace runs through the chapters and keeps the tension humming through the writing. Filled with mystery and intrigue, the reader is driven to turn page after page until the end.
The book has a lively cast of characters, each possessing its own voice and characteristics.
The lack of thorough editing, however, distracts from the reading. The editing has let the author down, but the story is good. I would not fail to recommend Old Sins Cast Long Shadows to all those who love a good mystery, if this is remedied.
I would like to thank the author for sending me an advanced copy, and look forward to the publication of its sequel.
God’s Pageantry: The Threshold of Guardians and the Covenant Defender by Anne Hamilton, Armour Books, 2015
God’s Pageantry is Part 3 of a series, and follows on from God’s Panoply. The book opens with examples of name covenants and goes on to elaborate on threshold covenants. There are many interesting true anecdotes of people peppered throughout the writing to illustrate the author’s points.
Anne Hamilton has read widely, and painstakingly delves into the meaning of names. To strengthen her case, she quotes from various sources, both biblical and modern. One of the examples given is the time when Christ changed Simon’s name to ‘Cephas’. In Chapter One, her mother says. ‘Is it possible that the people and places in Scripture were named after the event, not before?’ (God’s Pageantry, Page 36)
I agree with her. The name changes of Simon to Peter, of Abram to Abraham and Saul to Paul, were all made long after their birth, at a critical time in their lives.
I concur with with Anne when she writes, ‘He has plans for us which go back to before we were born, but He won’t force us to follow Him.’ (God’s Pageantry, Page 61) and also when she says that a recurring dream is God speaking directly to you about your destiny. (God’s pageantry, Page 58) I had the same experience one day at the turning point of my life.
Despite my not being in total agreement with the author, I think her final advice, ‘Ask the Holy Spirit to tell you what you’ve overlooked and to seal God’s work of redemption in you,’ is excellent counsel. (God’s Pageantry, Page 182)
Like many teachers, the author tends to repeat the lessons she taught in her previous book, God’s Panoply. It reinforces her argument, but may tend to bore the reader.
In conclusion, I suggest that the endnotes at the close of the book should also be perused as they contain useful explanations of profound theological statements.
Review by Hazel Barker