Tested by Fire, The Baxter Series #1   -     By: Kathy Herman
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Tested by Fire, The Baxter Series #1

Multnomah Books / 2001 / Paperback

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Product Description

A nail-biting new thriller in the tradition of Terri Blackstock! The close-knit town of Baxter is shocked when a bizarre houseboat explosion wipes out the McConnell family---or has it? Mike McConnell is missing. Did he murder his own family? With the help of angelic intervention, Mike's friend Jeb races to find him before the FBI does---and discovers redemption and grace in the process. 320 pages, softcover from Multnomah.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Multnomah Books
Publication Date: 2001
Dimensions: 6.25 X 4.5 (inches)
ISBN: 1576739562
ISBN-13: 9781576739563
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.
Series: Baxter

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Publisher's Description

When a bizarre houseboat explosion rocks the close-knit community of Baxter, everyone stands powerless as the blazing hull sinks to the bottom of Lake Heron. All five McConnell family members are consumed in the blaze--or are they? Baxter's mystery is one only God can solve in this suspenseful story of redemption amidst despair in small-town America.

Author Bio

Kathy Herman is a best-selling author and award-winning poet, who has contributed feature stories and articles to publications such as Bookstore Journal. A former staff member of the Christian Booksellers Association, she has also worked at Better Books Christian Center, specializing in children's products and conducting related seminars in the U.S. and Canada. She and her husband, Paul, have three grown children and five grandchildren and live in Tyler, Texas.

Library Journal

The night an explosion rattles the windows in the sleepy little lakeside town of Baxter, GA, Jed Wilson's life falls apart. A houseboat belonging to his best friend, Mike McConnell, has sunk into the lake with no sign of survivors. As reports trickle in that divers have found the bodies of Mike's wife and three children but no sign of Mike, Jed sinks deeper into an alcoholic haze. Then a witness claims to have seen Mike at the site after the explosion. Jed's new purpose in life is to find Mike and clear him of the murder charges hanging over him, but he must first outwit the FBI. While the basic plot is solid, Jed's sudden decision to quit alcohol cold turkey is no more convincing than Mike's behavior when he is finally found. God appears mainly in the lives of the secondary characters, such as Jed's wife, Rhonda, who discovers faith as a way to cope with the recent tragedy, or as a deus ex machina to solve Jed's and Mike's problems. This first novel is marginally recommended for large, comprehensive collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Publisher's Weekly

Herman's debut novel begins a series based in the small lakeside town of Baxter, near Atlanta. This first effort capably fulfills the series' promise to create "an absorbing story with biblically satisfying solutions" based on recurring characters. The story begins with a shocking tragedy when Mike McConnell's houseboat inexplicably explodes and sinks right before the neighbors' eyes, apparently killing all five members of his young family. But the plot takes a sinister turn when evidence suggests there is a lone survivor and the deaths may have been murder. The small town is beset with loss, trauma, the FBI and the modern media circus, and each character from the big-hearted county sheriff to the morally scrupulous local newspaper editor is faced with difficult choices in the aftermath. Jed Wilson, Mike McConnell's best friend and ardent drinking buddy, sets out on his own in search of the truth. Jed's life has been sadly warped by guilt from a past transgression, and his search for the truth of the mysterious explosion leads him down a path of spiritual discovery. The novel's sermons about God's limitless grace are nicely integrated with believable and sympathetic characters. Herman does wax mystical when she introduces Secret Service-like guardian angels dressed in plaid shirts and jeans, and her prose sometimes feels like a cross between the television scripts for Touched by an Angel and Law and Order. Still, she also spins an occasional line of real beauty, hinting at the poet that she is. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Reviews

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  1. Jack Slotterback
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    May 7, 2008
    Jack Slotterback
    This book is an easy read and suspensfull at times. It also raises some very interesting issues about God's plan for our lives, the power of love, and true forgiveness. On the other hand, some of the characters where one-dimensional, even sappy at times. Also, the ending felt very preachy and unrealistic to me.
  2. Tina Gustafson
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    February 25, 2008
    Tina Gustafson
    I have read all of the books in this series as well as her other series. They are all excellent. You will truely enjoy them all! I now buy them as gifts for friends and family to get them started.
  3. Ginny Mobley
    Greensboro, NC
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    January 4, 2008
    Ginny Mobley
    Greensboro, NC
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    I wish I'd found this book when it first came out!What a thriller & story of faith.It's a story of a friend's love & determination,of forgiveness & of redemption.The book reminded me to take every opportunity to be a witness for Him & to mend fences -- we never know when we'll run out of time.
  4. Kristy
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 2, 2002
    Kristy
    A great book. Was recommended to me by the gentleman who owns the Christian bookstore in town. He knows I like suspense and told me it was one of the best he had read in a long time and I must agree with him. Truly moving!
  5. Susie Kennedy
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 14, 2001
    Susie Kennedy
    I give this book a 5 because of how it blessed me. It taught a lesson about prayer that I needed to learn. I'm passing it around to friends and they have been equally blessed. Blessings to Kathy and her family in Tyler, Texas. Can't wait for the sequel!
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Kathy Herman
Located in: Tyler, TX
Submitted: December 10, 2001

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I am a first-time novelist with a five-book contract for The Baxter Series, and I'm having a ball at what God is doing in my life. I'm 52 years old, and have an extensive background in the Christian retail industry. I spent five years working in member services for the Christian Booksellers Association, and then moved to Texas and became the buyer/manager of a large children's department in an award-winning bookstore for the next ten years. That experience opened a door to do workshops on children's products in the U.S. and Canada. It also gave me opportunities to write articles and feature stories for industry trade journals and local publications. But my product knowlege and love for "customers" didn't stop with children's products. And I feel as at home in a bookstore as I do on the back cover of the books I write. I feel as if God has been preparing me for THIS. If someone had told me that writing novels is what I would be doing in middle age, I'd have laughed. But here I am.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  I was born with creative passion and was always writing something, usually poetry. But when I got serious about writing books, I assumed it would be children's books. I sat down at my laptop and stared at an empty screen for weeks until it became depressing. Finally my husband suggested I spend a month and write something--ANYTHING. That very day I pounded out a random scene that sounded pretty good. He said it sounded like it should be in the middle of a novel. No way did I want to get involved with writing novels! Too much work: Research, character development, story lines, for starters. But I admit I was intrigued, so I kept typing and the words have never stopped flowing! I don't make outlines or think really hard about what the story will be about. Once I write the prologue, I know what the inspirational theme will be. The characters take it from there and the stories begin to take form, often exploding with action. I'm as surprised as everyone else at what happens!

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I hope TESTED BY FIRE is a completely enjoyable read. The story is suspenseful with many twists and turns and should be a real page-turner. But what I want people to gain from this story is a deeper appreciation of God's saving grace, and a boldness to share the simple message with those who need to hear it.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  Though my stories are suspenseful page-turners, there is a strong, inspirational message in each. They are far more than entertaining. Recurring characters deal with the hard realities of the 21st century, but with biblically satisfying solutions.

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