Wednesday, April 10, 2013

First Chapter Review and Giveaway: The Grace Painter by Mark Romang

I received a coupon code for Smashwords to download a free copy of this Christian mystery/suspense thriller.

BLURB: Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is the one reflecting back at you from inside a mirror. Matthew London can attest to this difficult truth. Ever since the former NYPD hostage negotiator changed his identity and fled New York City for the backwaters of Louisiana, regret has ruled his life.

For eight years London has lived like a hermit in a declining plantation house. Only his talent for painting Renaissance-style murals and paintings keeps the inner-demons from totally destroying him. Each day the disgraced hostage negotiator longs for a chance at redemption, never expecting it to actually happen. But then a down-on-her-luck FBI agent shows up on his doorstep one evening. It turns out Jean-Paul and Sebastian Boudreaux, two local brothers famous for lawlessness have inadvertently kidnapped a little girl.

London is quickly thrust into the starring role of a daring rescue attempt. But before he can rescue the child from the dangerous Boudreaux brothers, he first must find a way to forgive himself for a past misstep, a blunder that forever altered his once promising life. But in the Atchafalaya Basin swampland, nothing is promised. Grace cannot be purchased or earned. It can only be given.

COVER: Love it. The background captures the setting and the foreground the protagonist and his talent. The dark color speaks to the suspense/thriller genre. Nice job.

FIRST CHAPTER:  Eight years after Matthew London has fled New York City with a new identity, Sebastian Boudreaux is released from a penitentiary in Louisiana. Having spent two decades behind bars, he's ready to find the ransom money his father had hidden prior to being arrested and sentenced to die.

KEEP READING: For now. I'm definitely intrigued by the concept unveiled in the prologue and first chapter. The prologue sets the stage for Matt London walking away from his job as a hostage negotiator with the NYPD. The first chapter takes place eight years later, with Sebastian's release and introduces his younger brother, Jean-Paul.

The cliffhanger ending of the first chapter encourages readers to continue, but I felt the style was much more telling than showing. There are no real setting details in the first chapter. Instead, the time is spent developing some backstory for Sebastian as the reader is brought through his present day release from prison. The reader gets a basic idea of who Sebastian is, what his relationship with his brother and father might be like, and that though he promised the warden he won't be coming back, that might prove harder said than done. This isn't a bad thing. I like getting a glimpse into who Sebastian is. It's just I wanted to be able to see what Sebastian sees. This guy has just been released from prison after two decades and he doesn't even notice anything happening outside his window or the rain sprinkling down on his head. Perhaps this is intentional, as the prologue has greater details.

I'm willing to stick it out for a few more chapters to see how the author begins connecting the pieces.

Price/Format: $0.99 ebook
Pages: 303
Publisher: self-published
Release: November 26, 2012

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I was born in 1967. Avid reader, suspense novelist, faithful husband, baffled father, factory worker, reformed head-banger, failed musician, contact sports lover, MMA enthusiast, distressed KC sports fan, Lord of the Rings geek, workout fiend, dog owner, nature lover, proud American, disgruntled voter, pistachio addict, caffeine-riddled, screw-up saved by grace, sojourner. This is me in a nutshell.

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Tribute Books said...

Cheryl, thanks for sharing a preview into Mark's book. I'm delighted that the first chapter makes you want to read more :)

nutschell said...

sounds like an intriguing story. and i love that book cover!

Mark Romang said...

Thanks, Cheryl, for reviewing the first chapter of The Grace Painter. My greatest aim was to write a fast-moving book, so I held back on the descriptions.


Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by, Nicole, Nutschell, and Mark. I love comments.