Wednesday, October 22, 2008

for CFBA - 'Less than Dead' by Tim Downs

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Less Than Dead

Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2008)


Tim Downs


Tim Downs is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate until 1986. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred major newspapers worldwide.

His first book, a work of non-fiction, was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000. His first novel, Shoofly Pie, was awarded the Angel Award in 2004, and his third novel, PlagueMaker, was awarded the Christy Award for best suspense novel of 2007. First The Dead, the third book in this Bug Man series came out earlier this year.

Tim lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife Joy.


Some secrets just won't stay buried.
When strange bones surface on a U.S. senator's property, the FBI enlists forensic entomologist Nick Polchak to investigate the forgotten graveyard. Polchak's orders are simple: figure out the mess.

But Polchak, known as the "Bug Man" because of his knowledge of insects and their interaction with the dead, senses darker secrets buried beneath the soil.

Secrets that could derail the senator's presidential bid.

Secrets buried in the history of a quaint Virginia town.

Secrets someone is willing to kill to protect.

With the help of a mysterious local woman named Alena and her uncanny cadaver dogs, Polchak sets out to dig up the truth.

But with a desperate killer hot on his trail, he'll be lucky to wind up anything less than dead.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Less Than Dead, go HERE

I have not had the pleasure of reading any of Mr. Downs previous books, but I will definitely add him to my list of authors to read! I enjoy a well-written (and sometimes not so well-written) whodunit. I especially enjoy the books if they are centered around forensic pathology. I have been reading a number of authors for better than 10 years whose characters are or are involved with forensic pathology. Unfortunately, most of the authors, whom I do not read as often as in the past, throw in unnecessary scenes that have nothing to do with the plot. I assume it is their way of 'feeding the flesh' - which is why I have chosen not to read them any more.

Hence, Mr. Downs was a breath of fresh air! I would not classify his fiction as 'Christian fiction' - I would more say that he is a Christian author that writes fiction. His book is not overly full of characters running around spreading the gospel with every breath. Instead, there a few well-placed lines - and a story line that flows without steamy baggage.

My favorite scene from the book is on page 171. Nick, one of the lead characters, is having a conversation with Gunner - a Lutheran pastor. Nick is asking about who would be capable of murder. The pastor says, "You know what I like about being a pastor, Nick? I don't have to go around spouting some nonsense like 'Human beings are basically good.'"

He goes on to say, "The Bible treats people as fallen - made in the image of God but corrupted in a fundamental way. Fatally flawed, you might say - that's the human dilemma, and nobody is exempt."

The conversation continues on, "'s about what's going on in your heart, and that's what God wants to change." - you'll have to get the book to find out more about the hows and whys of the questions Nick posed....but, the pastor finishes up with, "To believe what I belive and not want to tell you about it would be the worst kind of hypocrisy. If you had cancer, wouldn't you want the doctor to tell you? And if there was a cure, wouldn't you want to know? That's what I tell people. You're part of the human dilemma too, and I think there's a cure."

Well said Gunner - and Mr. Downs.

If you like a good suspense novel - this is a definite must read.