Showing posts with label Christian Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian Fiction. Show all posts

Friday, June 28, 2019

Midheaven by Ken Kuhlken Review and Guest Post

Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: I purchased a copy. The opinions expressed here are my own. 

My Review:
Midheaven was one of those books that I had to keep reading to find out the why. Jodi is a young teen who has a very dysfunctional family. About the time she feels she has everything under control she makes a decision that changes her. Dating the rich and popular kid has its perks and expectations. Unfortunately, his expectations are different than Jodi's. She gave herself physically to this young man only to find betrayal. It doesn't help that as a new Christian her actions become very confusing to her. I could see her spiraling out of control when she made a forbidden connection to one of her teachers. We know from the beginning of the book that Charley, her childhood best friend is who she has loved for a long time. he was much older than her. However, no matter what she does he remains a true friend to her.

I won't say much more about the plot. I do want to respond to some of the other elements in the book. Charley's good friend Geoff is passionate about his new-found faith. He is the one who leads Jodi to become a Christian. A lot of the other characters in the book reacted differently to the Christian faith. Some became holier-than-thou and had no problem judging others. Some stumbled around with no real idea of what it means to be a Christian. They have no real guidance. As I read this, different people in my life popped into my mind. I have seen them all. Most of all it is a book of hope. No matter how much we mess up, God always leads us back.

Guest Post
What I Do After Midnight

Folks dedicated or obsessive enough to read all my dozen or sixteen novels (depending upon whether the latest, five novella-length books packaged together, counts as one book or five), may remember Cynthia Jones. She evolved from a woman I knew who frequently bemoaned the condition of the world by quoting from "The Night They Burned Shanghai".

Last night, my cat woke me yowling in misery. According to our vet, his kidney is failing, and he's also epileptic. And after I petted him for a while and brought him food and water, I lay awake wrestling with the reality of death, which appears to be stalking our dear cat, while that poem's final lines echoed in my mind:

"For some men die by shrapnel,
And some go down in flames,
But most men perish inch by inch
In play at little games."

I suspect the poem, published in 1938, was meant as a call for Americans to respond to the world's horrors. Last night, more than ever, I took that poem's message to heart and lamented that I haven't done more to relieve suffering or to battle the perpetrators and promoters of death and other miseries.

I reproached myself for failing to more actively work for healing and justice. Except for a few spells of volunteer work and some donating, all I have done is raise three good kids and written lots of books and stories that, aside from entertaining, attempt to advocate compassion and condemn the hunger for revenge and the lust for power. Maybe my books should allow me to forgive myself for not doing other, more helpful things like becoming a doctor or an honest politician. Maybe.

So it goes.  

My books are nine Hickey Family crime novels; Midheaven, a Hickey Family companion; Newport Ave, a noir tribute to my cousin Virgie; Cars, a short story collection; Reading Brother Lawrence, a memoir; Writing and the Spirit, reflections on finding and using inspiration; and For America, an epic story of the post WWII years in five small books, coming later this year. To get clued about their release, please subscribe to less is more, a more or less monthly publication.

My stories most always begin with an experience or observation. Here's how Midheaven got conceived:

When I was eighteen, I attended a Billy Graham crusade and came away with a sense that the Christian faith was far different than I had previously thought. So I started reading the Bible and tried attending churches. The Bible reading continued, the churchgoing did not, at the time.

Over the next few years, I started earnestly writing, and in King's Beach, on the shore of Lake Tahoe, I attended a party where, on one side of a large room, a group of kids held a Bible study, while across the room other kids drank, smoked stuff, and laughed a lot. 

A girl stood between those groups, gazing left and right, looking bewildered, before she dashed out of the house. I followed and watched her run down the road and plunge into the lake.

I saw myself in that girl, often torn between what appeared to offer pleasure and what felt good and beautiful but required sacrifice. Together, the girl and I became Jodi, the narrator of Midheaven.

That's a benefit of being a writer: we get to become other people.

About the Author

Some of Ken’s favorites are early mornings, the desert in spring, kind and honest people, baseball and other sports played by those who don’t take themselves too seriously, most kids, and films he and his Zoe can enjoy together.
He reads classic novels, philosophy, theology, and all sorts of mysteries. On his blog, he offers some hard truths and encouragement about living as a writer.
He has long been the author of novels, stories, articles, poems, and essays. Lots of honors have come his way, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship; Poets, Essayists and Novelist’s Ernest Hemingway Award; Private Eye Writers of America Best First Novel and Shamus Best Novel; and several San Diego and Los Angeles Book Awards.
Though he advocates beer in a video, he actually prefers Scotch.
He also posts regularly on his own blog, and sort of preaches for Perelandra College.