Under A Withering Sun: A Book Review (5 Stars *****)

This summer, in conjunction with my novel debut, I decided to read all of the winners of the Athanatos Christian Writing Contest. So far, nothing less than a four-star review for anything any of my publisher’s authors have written. I’m really proud to be with Athanatos, because they publish real books for real Christians. The ones you work with, meet at the bar, go to church with, and are married to for the past five years. Yes, flawed beings. No Pollyanna nonsense from this house.

One of the coolest books I’ve read in some time is Chaka Heinze’s work, Under a Withering Sun. Unless your pastor told you that it was a work of redemptive/Christian fiction, you’d think you’d stumbled into some very urban literature. And it’s really a good read.

Under a Withering Sun

Under a Withering Sun

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My apologies to Chaka for the picture, but I stole it from her Amazon author page.

Chaka Heinze

Chaka Heinze

I didn’t want to take any pictures from Twitter – that’s too easy!

So, as always, here’s my completely unconventional book review of a very unconventional Christian book.

Under A Withering Sun Will Sear Your Mind – Urban Christian Fiction, A New Genre, Has Been Launched

Chaka Heinze has found a unique voice in the world of Christian fiction. Authentically flawed and beautiful, just like most of us are in real life. What I enjoyed the most was the two voices in the story. There is a very distinct change part way through the book if your ear is in tune. I hope it is: it’s worth the effort to detect it and enjoy it.

This is a woman who attends my church. She works three desks over from me. She helps me feed the homeless at a church we both ran across I our travels, but to which neither of us belong. She and I have never met. But it is written by a writer with an unusual and vibrant voice. It is the kind of fiction that Christian literature absolutely screams out for, and yet I was stunned to see only two reviews of this beautiful book on Amazon. I’m hopefully the third, and the first of a new wave of readers.

This book came out in 2013 and has languished in silence. What a tragedy. If you’re looking for a book for your teenage children to read and discuss with you, this might be the one. It can speak to a different audience than most Christian fiction, and it will not cause a diabetic coma. Yes, there is some scripture in the book, but it is quoted in the way that many of my friends use it in their daily lives. It’s not a forced evangelizing, but a natural extension of their faith and value system.

Well developed characters, a good ear for dialogue, and one unforgettable character named Mick. I heartily endorse this book, and it would make an excellent addition to any summer reading program at a church, but should be accompanied with a discussion forum. There are a few adult themes in the book, but no explicit sexual content. All of it well done and appropriate to the story.

Thank you, Chaka Heinze, for your novel. I greatly enjoyed it.

Just F.Y.I. I’ve never met Chaka, my publisher doesn’t know I’m even writing this, and I never shill for money or payback. As a matter of fact, I’ve only exchanged a few instant messages with her on Facebook.

But what a book. Go grab a copy and enjoy a great summer read.

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Assault on Saint Agnes is now available. Just click this link to find all the options! (I recommend the autographed copy. It’s cheaper than from the big stores, I scribble in it, and you get it mailed within 5 days. We all win.

When you finish reading any book (especially mine) please review it at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.goodreads.com. Your review increases the chances of someone looking for a new book greatly. Authors appreciate your review, even if it is just “I thought this was a good read and will give it to my dog to chew. I especially liked the ending, because it made me feel better when he killed all of the main characters. (no spoilers, please)” Those few words (more than 20, fewer than 1,000 is ideal), and a 1-5 rating, make or break how the search engines find us. Thanks in advance.

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