Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MONTH 4: THE O'MALLEY SERIES BY DEE HENDERSON

Friends, I have discovered a really great author! Dee Henderson has the ability to build a story of suspense on a foundation of faith, an exciting combination which makes for a truly excellent read, and something really fresh for the Christian reader.


Her O'Malley series consists of six books, each covering the spiritual journey of one of the O'Malley's. There are seven of them: Kate, Marcus, Lisa, Jack, Rachel, Stephen and Jennifer. This is not your average, everyday family. The O'Malley's are not related by blood (though their bond is stronger than most family bloodlines). The seven of them met in the orphanage they grew up in, all of them abandoned or abused by their parents, except for Jennifer who is considered the only orphan in the true sense of the word - her parents died when she was a baby. Jennifer is also the only Christian in the family.


When they were all old enough, the seven picked a last name they all liked, and officially changed their last names to O'Malley and became a family. They adopted each other, if you will. The basic plot of the O'Malley series involves Jennifer, the youngest of the O'Malleys (and everybody's favourite), who is diagnosed with terminal cancer - I'm not spoiling anything for you, this is revealed very early on in the first book. Jennifer has made her peace with the fact that she is dying, but she has one self-appointed mission before she does - leading all of the O'Malleys to Christ.


The Negotiator is the first book in the series, and focuses on special hostage negotiator Kate.



As her job is the most dangerous (walking into volatile situations on a daily basis) and she could die any given day, Jennifer decides to approach Kate with her news, and her mission, first. During a sensitive negotiation in a bank Kate meets FBI Agent Dave Richman, and mutual respect soon turns into a tentative friendship. Although Kate and Dave develop feelings for each other, there is something holding each of them back; Kate doesn't want to date a cop, and Dave is hesitant to give his heart to a non-believer.


Soon Kate's life is in turmoil as she deals with being the only O'Malley knowing Jennifer's secret, falling in love with Dave against her will and better judgment, and being targeted by someone from her past. As threats on Kate's life grow more imminent, it is Dave's unwavering faith in God which seems to calm Kate as well, and as they work together closely to solve the mystery of who is trying to harm her and why, Kate finally begins to open her mind and heart to the possibility that God might not be a distant, uncaring God after all.


The order of the O'Malley series continues as follows:


2. The Guardian, which focuses on US Marshall Marcus as he has a case to solve, an eye witnes to protect and an assassin to stop.


3. The Truth Seeker which focues on forensic pathologist Lisa as she tries to track down a serial killer.



4. The Protector which focuses on fireman Jack's journey to faith as an arsonist targets his district, his shift and his friends.



5. The Healer, focusing on trauma phsychologist Rachel, trying to solve the mystery of a deadly crime which points to a child being the culprit.




6. The Rescuer, focusing on paramedic Stephen as he gets involved in a mystery of which his friend, Meghan, is caught in the middle.



The series also has a prequal, Danger Shadows, which follows Dave Richman's sister Anna, stuck in a life of witness protection, as her childhood tormenter gets ever closer to finishing what he started all those years ago.



Granted, at this stage I've only read Danger Shadows and The Negotiator, but I've already bought the other five books in the series, and can't wait to get started! I've already fallen in love with the O'Malley family, and I can guarantee you will too. Dee Henderson is a really great author with a knack for combining mystery, suspense, romance and faith - what more can a reader ask for?


Grab a book and dig in!

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