Vacation Reading Reports

For both of you readers who have been wondering what I thought about Avalon Falls and The Kingdom, which I read on vacation last month.

Bottom line: I enjoyed them both but was disappointed in them, too.
Both were great attempts at writing Christian fiction–and I loved what the authors were trying to do, but I thought they fell short in their artistry.
Avalon Falls was a page-turner that I could hardly put down.  L.B. Graham did a terrific job of trying out a new genre–the gritty crime novel (I’m looking forward to reading his next one, too, which is going to be a futuristic Huckleberry Finn). He also kept me wondering what was going to happen next and threw in enough plot twists to really please a reader.  However, about 2/3 of the way through, it was pretty obvious “whodunit,” and some of the “preaching” came across too strongly.  Great try, but only a 7 out of 10.  (Again, however, I love that he is trying. I’d read another right away.)
The Kingdom was more artfully constructed and is part of a larger trilogy. Again, I love what he was trying to do, but the premise never really “worked” for me. Fun to read and see what he did with his big idea, but I never really came to love the characters or even actually care about them that much.  I think that other readers will disagree with me on this–several people at our church are reading them now and can’t put them down.
Good, engaging Christian fiction is hard to find (and, I believe even much harder to write–I could never do it), so applaud these authors in what they are attempting. I’ll keep buying and reading their books. That’s the only way to encourage continued growth.