Monthly Archives: April 2012

FRANTIC — A Book Review

For years, one of my favorite authors was Dean Koontz. He had this uncanny ability to scare the pookie out of me (whatever that is) and yet create endearing characters who ultimately had a moment of redemption. But, after several years, I abandoned Dean Koontz. I guess I just got tired of horror novels. That is until I started writing horror novels!

Well, in his latest book, Mike Dellosso has managed to capture that feeling for me again in “Frantic”. The main character is a man named Manny Toogood. Manny Toogood! You got to love that name! And, poor Manny has a cursed life filled with tragedy after tragedy currently working at gas station when a car pulls up with a burly man in the front and a damaged soul in the back seat.

The girl that looks out at him from the back seat leaves him a simple note, “He’s going to kill me.” And so, Manny, convinced his curse has caught up with perfect strangers ignores the curse and decides to help the young girl. The story takes off at this point and never relents. It is one unending “frantic” event after another.

I don’t want to spoil the story, but Manny not only grapples with this young woman and her brother’s predicament, he also has to deal with painful flashbacks to his abusive father and the death of his mother. He blames himself for every bad thing that has happened in his life as well as every bad thing that happens to those who are around him. What Mike Dellosso does so well with Manny is take him through these trials as he helps the young woman and her brother and begins to show him that he is not cursed. In fact, he is a hero.

The story is openly supernatural with the young boy showing signs of his “gift”. Miracles take place at the hands of this young boy who has faith. But, evil is closing in not only from the young woman’s stepfather but from an external threat that frankly I didn’t see coming. Let’s just say that those who stop to help out may not be who or what Manny thinks they are. Trust nobody!

And here, in this simmering sub plot Mike Dellosso delivers the goods. What should have been a simple chase and elude story takes on deeper and more troubling revelations as Manny and his two friends fall into the hands of an evil group of individuals.

This is a great book and a great story! I couldn’t put it down. But, beware. The body count climbs with each chapter and the young woman’s stepfather is one of the most evil killers I’ve read about in recent years because he thinks he is listening to the voice of God.

Great job, Mike. A book I highly recommend to anyone who has enjoyed Mike’s books in the past or who want to try something new and exciting in the realm of supernatural thrillers.

Thunder and Rain — A Book Review

Above is Charles Martin talking about his latest book, “Thunder and Rain”.

I wish I could write like Charles Martin. I have read every one of his books and his latest, “Thunder and Rain” is another powerfully well written book that should please every “man’s man” and the women in our lives.

“Thunder and Rain” is about Tyler “Cowboy” Steele, a Texas Ranger returning from a mysterious trip to see his wife when he bumps into a stalled car on Interstate 10 in the middle of a deluge. Shades of “rain” begin right at the start and progress to “thunder” toward the end. Tyler’s wife is somehow physically separated from him and from his son, Brodie. We don’t find out more about this until later on.

What grabs you from the start is Cowboy. A powerful, but simple man dedicated to seeing everything in black and white, not shades of gray. When he discovers the car is driven by a woman and her daughter running away from certain trouble, he immediately agrees to help them. What starts out as a trip to a nearby truck stop for some oil for the aging car’s engine turns into a trip across two states to elude the hands of an evil man.

The beauty of this book is it’s simplicity in its characters and its story. Cowboy is one of the best characters I have read in ages. Strong, certain, terse in his speech but incredibly loyal to the people he cares about. I would love to sit down in the Brazos River while the “arms of God” swirl around me right next to Cowboy and talk about life. I can for sure tell you that if I needed a lawman, Cowboy would be my first and only choice!

I grew up on a farm with a pasture and cows and horses and I can relate very well to the Bar S ranch and it’s problems. I can see Cowboy’s eleven year old son, Brodie as a very pale reflection of my own childhood. Only, my father wasn’t a Texas Ranger. Makes a difference. Big difference.

Hope, Sam’s daughter, is the star of this book. She is the heart and the soul of every person as she writes letters to God throughout the book. I must admit, some of the hard questions she asks of God and some of the hard answers she gives to God come right from my own life. I admire her bravery to talk to God the way she does. But, it is in her musings we learn the secret of God’s working in our lives; His subtle use of “evil” and “suffering” as gentle reminders that He is still in control; His quiet answers to loud questions; His challenges to us to step out on faith and watch as He works in ways we could never have imagined.

The growing threat in “Thunder and Rain” is the eminent release of the prisoner that almost cost Cowboy’s life at the same time as the arrival in the small West Texas town of the man searching for Sam and Hope and the return of Cowboy’s estranged wife. How will he protect those he loves? Will he use the thing he has hidden in the bell tower? How will he choose between the love he still has for his wife, now divorced, and the new love of his life, Sam?

If you have not read any of Charles Martin’s previous books, your life is sadly lacking. He writes about a “man’s man” and yet brushes our skin with the hint of romance and true love. “Thunder and Rain” is easily the best of the lot. Charles Martin has created an endearing and unforgettable character in “Cowboy” and I will think on that man’s journey, the lessons he learned, and the lessons he has taught me for some time to come.

Oh, and the last journal entry by Hope is breathtaking! Satisfying! Powerful! This author of Christian horror laughed and cringed and cried. Read it and feel the powerful percussions of thunder and the gentle touch of rain!

Christian Speculative Fiction Links

Here are the links to topics I discussed in the Online Apologetics Conference from Athanatos Ministries:

http://www.hutchmoot.com/

 

http://www.rabbitroom.com/

 

http://walterwangerinjr.org/new_web/index.php

 

the shaper — http://walterwangerinjr.org/new_web/ec_details.php?id=26

 

http://www.mattmikalatos.com/

 

http://www.stephenlawhead.com/bright-empires-novels/the-skin-map.html

 

http://mikeduran.com/

 

http://brucehennigan.com/

 

http://www.thegodhater.com/

 

http://www.acfw.com/ — American Christian Fiction Writers

 

 

http://www.storypraxis.com/ — Daily writing prompts from a Christian perspective.

 

http://www.editorialdepartment.com/ — Good site for editing your work.

 

http://www.andymeisenheimer.com/1/home.html — My editor — Leave Him Alone He is MINE!

 

http://www.familyfiction.com/ good, broad coverage of Christian fiction with interviews, book reviews, etc.

 

http://www.familyfiction.com/genres/speculative/features/

 

http://www.familyfiction.com/features/if-you-like-frank-peretti/ March feature for current Christian Speculative Fiction

 

You Just Ain’t Right!

For those of you checking out my blog for the first time from the Online Apologetics Conference, welcome! If you haven’t checked out the Online Apologetics Conference, today is the FREE day and you can go to this link to hear my presentation “CSI Golgotha: A Forensic Analysis of the Death of Jesus of Nazareth” and my friend, Mark Riser’s presentation “Why I am an Old Earth Creationist” at 1 PM and 135 PM respectively.

I met Elizabeth the first time I worked at one of the newest “sister” hospitals in the health care system in which I work as a radiologist. Elizabeth was “old school” and I am a bit dramatic and over the top at times. She rubbed me the wrong way the whole day and I just responded by being more and more absurd until at the end of the day she said she liked me (since then I have learned this is a huge compliment) and then said, “You just ain’t right!”

That sentiment has been echoed by most everyone who knows me well, including my wife. I thought for those of you who don’t know me and are new to my blog I would give you some links to some of my favorite posts to give you a little idea of who this Bruce Hennigan is. Let me say at the outset that I am a sinner saved by grace and I hate standing in the spotlight and EVERYTHING that has happened to me since I gave my life to Jesus at age 10 has been God’s plan, not mine. EVERYTIME I wander from His plan, he slaps me down and drags me back onto the right path. I’ve finally learned to keep my eyes on His will for my life and by the hardest I’ve learned to say “no” to the Good ideas so I can say “yes” to the God ideas.

https://brucehennigan.com/2011/06/  A short story about my first encounter with death.

https://brucehennigan.com/2011/07/24/my-my-darkest-demon-depression-part-1/

https://brucehennigan.com/2011/07/25/my-darkness-his-light-depression-part-2/

https://brucehennigan.com/2011/07/26/gods-triumph-depression-part-3/ There are three posts that recount my encounter with depression that led to a book co authored with Mark Sutton “Conquering Depression”.

https://brucehennigan.com/2011/08/05/what-is-your-god-like/ My view of God.

https://brucehennigan.com/2011/10/20/are-demons-real/  Are demons Real?

https://brucehennigan.com/2011/11/22/entertaining-angels-unaware/ Are angels real?

https://brucehennigan.com/2011/12/21/my-grown-up-christmas-wish-list/ My wish list for 2012.

https://brucehennigan.com/2012/01/23/editing-the-book-the-mystery-box/ Best advice from my editor.

https://brucehennigan.com/2012/03/13/can-christians-make-a-difference-anymore/ Are Christians called to make a difference?

https://brucehennigan.com/2012/04/06/hanging-on-the-wall/ Hanging on the wall — my Easter post for 2012.

Thanks for checking out my blog and consider my books. “The 13th Demon” would be a great summer read and you can read the reviews at the review tab. For more information on “Conquering Depression” go to the link.

Link to the Free Day at the Online Apologetics Conference

Here is the link to the free day on Thursday for the Online Apologetics Conference: LINK

What is the “13th demon”?

I had this question dozens of times this weekend at my book signing. Some of you may not have heard of my book “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” and I invite you to consider reading this book in the genre of Speculative Christian Fiction. Here are some reader reviews from five different readers:

“This book is not for the faint of heart! A rare thing it is for me to pick up a book that I do not put down till it is read from cover to cover, but this is one of them. I read The 13th Demon Alter of the Spiral Eye in three hours. I would have gone to bed, since I started it so late at night, but this book has enough of the Spirit Realm in it that I knew better than to sleep with out having read the ending.”

“The 13th Demon was very well written and gets you hooked the moment you begin reading this book. — While this is a good book and am looking forward to the next book in this series, I would recommend this book for young adults over 14. There are some images that are extremely graphic and probably would scare a younger child.”

“It might seem odd to say that a Christian book is creepy, but this one was creepy – but I thoroughly enjoyed it. — This book was kind of like Frank Peretti’s early books on steroids. Not something you want to read before bedtime if you are prone to nightmares, but a great read. I liked his characters and the setting, and the book definitely held my interest and I read it through in one evening.”

“The overlay of the supernatural on the natural, a strong lead character, Jonathan Steel, with lots of ambiguity and scope to further develop in future books; good pace that makes it easily readable; some great bad guys (& gals) that are very evil.”

“Horror protagonists tend to be pitiable, average Joes put in unfortunate circumstances, but Steel is the Jason Bourne of paranormal Christian fiction.”

What is Christian Speculative Fiction? Simply put, it is science fiction, fantasy, or horror from a Christian perspective. In fact, if you want to hear my presentation on “Christian Speculative Fiction and Apologetics” this coming Saturday, check out an excellent online conference on the blending of the defense of the Christian faith with literature at this link http://onlineapologeticsconference.com/ . On Thursday, you can listen and watch online for FREE, yes for FREE to my presentation “CSI Golgotha: A Forensic Analysis of the Death of Jesus of Nazareth” and to Mark Riser’s “Why I am an Old Earth Creationist”. The keynote speaker this year is Dale Ahlquist on C. K. Chesterton.

Get online and participate in this conference and support Christian Speculative Fiction and Apologetics, the defense of the Christian Faith.

Here are some pictures from my book signing with Althea Thompson, Publicity Coordinator with my publisher Charisma Media who was so kind to drop by yesterday just to support my book signing. And, there is a picture with my co-author and friend Mark Sutton with whom I wrote “Conquering Depression”.

CSI Golgotha Available in Faith & Family And Upcoming Conference!

My wife wanted pizza. I’m dieting and can’t eat pizza. She called our favorite pizza joint, Smitty’s and ordered two pizzas and sent ME to pick them up. All the way over I was debating whether of not to get off of my diet for one night and eat some hot, luscious, cheesy pizza. My diet prevailed. I walked into Smitty’s and there in front of me on the counter was this magazine:

I picked it up and waved it in the air before the tired eyes of the two harried women behind the counter. “Hey, I wrote this! Right here! This article! I wrote this!” They looked at me like I had quoted John 3:16 in Klingon. I nodded meekly and paid for my salad and two pizzas and grabbed a handful of the FREE magazines as I headed out the door. You can find this magazine for FREE in most stores in the Shreveport and Bossier City area.

Check out my article on a forensic analysis of the death of Jesus Christ. It is based on a presentation I’ve given about two dozen times in the past year. In fact, if you can’t find the magazine or don’t live anywhere near northwest Louisiana, you can see my presentation for FREE.

That’s right, for FREE. Go to the website of Athanatos Ministry’s Online Apologetic Conference (link) and register for the FREE day and you can sit back and relax and watch my presentation in the comfort of your favorite computer, laptop, or tablet. And, if you like what you see and hear, then I will be speaking again on Saturday on Christian Speculative Fiction and Apologetics. I’ll be talking about Christian horror, fantasy, and science fiction books that illustrate the Christian worldview. That’s right. Horror. Fantasy. Science Fiction. Didn’t think such a thing existed with a Christian worldview. Guess again and sign up for this most excellent conference and find out all about the literary legacy of a defense of the Christian Faith. Anthony Horvath, the founder of Athanatos Ministry has put together a fascinating look at the intersection of these two ideas. Check it out. I hope to see you there. Well, I won’t see you, but you can see, or more importantly, just HEAR me.

Hanging on the Wall

“Welcome to my humble spaceship.”

My friend, Phillip looked at me and his mouth fell open. “Your what?”

I had built the spaceship myself. The viewscreen was composed of two old glass windows with the panes still intact. The console was a mixture of broken radios, the insides of a huge stereo, and the guts of an old washing machine. I had placed some twinkling Christmas lights behind the console to make it look like it actually worked. The “captain’s chair” was a bucket seat from an old car and the sides and roof of the control room were made of old doors and rusted tin shingles. To my friend, it was a barely organized pile of junk. To me, it was my spaceship and I was the captain!

We never played in the spaceship. Instead, we went back to my bedroom and talked about girls and baseball and girls and pizza and girls. We were in the seventh grade and Star Trek was in its second year on television. Phillip and I were best friends for the next few years. We went to junior high school, high school, college, and medical school together. When it came time to decide what type of doctor to be, Phillip just assumed I would follow in his shadow. He just knew I would become a cardiologist and move to a far away state to do my internship and fellowship. But, something had happened along the way. I had fallen in love and my girlfriend, now my wife, would be 1000 miles away if I went with my friend. So, I made a decision. Phillip didn’t understand. He said something that clearly separated our individual concepts of how each of us would “change” the world.

“You owe society a debt. You need to pay back to society for your education.” He would say.

Funny, but I seemed to recall I owed the bank a ton of money in educational loans. “Society” hadn’t paid my way through college and medical school. I grew up on the farm and only now do I realize we were poor. I stayed behind and became a radiologist. Phillip went on to become a cardiologist. We were at opposite ends of the medical “social” station. Radiologists are at the bottom of the food chain. Cardiologists rule the world.

This all came to mind today as my wife and I went to one of our local malls so I could find some dress pants on sale. You see, I’ve lost almost thirty pounds since January and I have two book signings next weekend so I need to look my best. As we walked down this long hallway filled with those fancy, air brushed photographs of all the local politicians and business leaders and social movers and shakers that this mall was known for, I stopped when I realized the latest picture, the photograph of “The Outstanding Business Leader” of 2011 was none other than my friend Phillip. My wife went on shopping and I just stood there looking up at my friend.

Curiously, I wasn’t jealous. I didn’t feel like a failure. Phillip deserved this recognition and I know him well enough to realize he probably received the honors reluctantly. He is, and always has been, a humble man. And, his work with local schools and statewide educational reform had been effective. He had fulfilled his dream of changing the world by paying back his “debt” to society.

So, what had I done? Had I performed anything quite so impressive as my friend? Would I one day get the call that I had been chosen to grace this hallowed hall with my portrait? I doubt it.

As I stood there, I realized that God had taught me powerful and painful lessons over the years. Time and time again, I found myself like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” dreaming of going places and doing famous things only to have some little crisis intervene that kept me rooted right where I was.

I thought of the man who got up and ran out of the church after seeing one of my plays because he thought it was about him. I had never met the man, but that night, he met Jesus and it changed his life. I think of my friend R. whose decadent and playboy lifestyle had ended one Sunday night when he reluctantly sat through my play, “Crosstalk” and it changed his life forever. He met Jesus and in the years that followed led literally hundreds to Christ.

I think of the woman who wrote a passionate email to Mark Sutton and to me about our book, “Conquering Depression” and how she had the pills in her purse and was ready to die when she asked God to show her a book that would help. She didn’t take the pills, she met Jesus.

I think of Benny who just passed away yesterday of liver cancer standing behind me as I showed him the CAT scan of the cancer in his liver. I think of how I offered to pray for him and how one of his fellow Xray technicians took him under her wing and made sure he met Jesus before he passed away. Veronica showed me his certificate of baptism just one week before he died.

All of these seemingly small and insignificant events swirled around me as I looked at that portrait. I had not become a cardiologist. I had not followed my friend to the ends of the earth. But, I had followed my Savior. And, He had taken that strange and fertile imagination that could turn a washing machine agitator into a warp engine and He had used it to touch and change lives of people I will never know this side of heaven.

Do I brag? How can I? It is not my work that I now see in my mind. It is the work of God, the great unfolding passion of his Story; the inclusion of man and woman and child in the script He has written that began with the creation of the universe and passed through a fertile garden past a devious serpent and through the wilderness to a ram in the bush and the blood on a doorpost and a prophet surrounded by lions to a manger filled with peaceful animals and a glowing star. The lines of that script lead down the dusty road to a caravan where a twelve year old is missing; to a baptism of water and a dove; to the Adversary craving for worship. Down, down the long hallways of memory past ousted demons and living, breathing corpses renewed with life; past loaves and fishes to a lowly donkey carrying the King of Kings and a hushed, darkened room filled with ominous shadows while the Creator washes a dirty foot. It leads through the other garden filled with sweat and blood to the bloodied fists of the soldiers and the fresh flesh clinging to the cat of nine tails to the drops of blood trailed along the road by the splintered wood of a cross. It leads to a cross standing tall and defiant against the sins of all mankind; the sins of all time and space; an anchor point in eternity where God and Flesh and Life and Death and Redemption and Love all converged in a holy singularity that would rip the very fabric of life asunder as it conquered death.

The script is still unfolding in the light that is cast by the empty tomb. It is still moving all around us. And, although I do not have my portrait on a wall of fame, my name is written in the only Book that counts, the afterword, the director’s notes, the epilogue to the Story of God.

CSI Golgotha: A Forensic Analysis of the Death of Jesus of Nazareth

Easter is upon us and this time of year is rife with skeptics who want to deconstruct the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Recently, I presented a talk on “CSI Golgotha” to senior high school students. I will be covering this topic again on April 4, 2012 at Brookwood Baptist Church and on the Athanatos Ministries Online Apologetic Conference on Thursday, April 19th, 2012.

In my presentation, I discuss the “Swoon” theory. This is the idea that Jesus did not die of his wounds on the cross, “swooned” or passed out, and recovered in the tomb. He walked out of the tomb leaving it empty and appeared to his disciples claiming to have risen from the dead. This theory is VERY popular nowadays. It is the stuff of fiction and documentaries. Dan Brown, in “The DaVinci Code” claims Jesus did not die but instead married Mary Magdalene and raised a family.

I have analyzed the events surrounding the torture and execution of Jesus of Nazareth and as a medical professional I have chosen to convene a medical examiner’s inquest. You are invited to participate and become a member of the jury. Did Jesus die as a result of his injuries? Or, were they minor? You can find out by attending one of my presentations: CSI Golgotha.

I am writing the lead article in April’s Faith & Family Magazine available throughout the ArkLaTex on “CSI Golgotha”.

I will presenting my presentation live at:

Brookwood Baptist Church Wednesday April 4th, 2012 at 630 PM with my friend Mark Riser who will be presenting evidence for the resurrection.(www.brookwoodbaptist.com)

Haynes Avenue Baptist Church Sunday, April 22, 2012 evening worship service. (http://www.manta.com/cmap/mmd12vj/haynes-avenue-baptist-church)

And, I will be presenting CSI Golgotha on the “Online Apologetics Conference” at this website and you can watch it for free on Thursday, April 19, 2012. (http://onlineapologeticsconference.com/)

Examine the evidence. Look at the facts. Face the truth!

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