Friday, August 13, 2010

Best of CFRB Day 5: Canadian Authors

With only two days left for the "Best of CFRB" Tour,  I am having difficulty choosing the books that I consider the elite. Sorry folks, but I know I'm going to miss some gems. Today is Canadian day. Thanks to Laura Davis, I was introduced to some great authors from up north. There were four in particular: Marcia Laycock, Laura Davis, Mags Storey, and Keith Clemons.

One Smooth Stone by Marcia Lee Laycock
Two men are running from the law, from their pasts, from society, from themselves, and from God. The thing is, no one can hide from God. As is written in Psalm 130 (NKJV):
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Even in the wild and danger-laden northern frontiers of the Yukon, Alex and Gil must face themselves and the pursuing God who will not let them go. Their paths cross unexpectedly as "coincidences" lead them in ways they never wanted.

The story shifts back and forth from Alex Donnelly to Gil, focusing mostly on Alex's story. Just a few weeks after Alex's twenty-first birthday, a lawyer from Seattle found him living the hermit's life in the Canadian wilderness. It seems that the orphaned man had a million dollar inheritance just waiting for him to pick it up. Alex is suspicious, certain there's been a mistake, but he warily agrees to go back to civilization with the lawyer. In Seattle, he meets the sweet young researcher who had worked for so long searching for him, and they form an odd connection. He spends the weekend with her and her parents (her father is a senior partner in the law firm), and comes face-to-face with a family model unknown to him. The close relationships they have with each other and with God beckon to an empty place within him, but in the same time they intensify his dark memories of his own past, a past full of dark secrets and abuse. In agony and fearful of the police, he leaves without getting his money. Back in the Yukon, with winter coming on, he takes a caretaker job in an empty mining camp for the season. n the isolated camp, his only companion is a husky. Oh, and the grizzly. Oh, and a mysterious "ghost" who barely leaves a trace of his existence.

Meanwhile, Kenni, the young researcher, is compelled by God to persevere in pursuit of the troubled Alex. And remember the grizzly and the winter coming on?  And that other guy, Gil? Everything comes together in tense adventurous ways.

The dark truths are eventually revealed as Mrs. Laycock skillfully laid them out piecemeal, drawing us in and making us care about a rough character like Alex Donnelly. When we see through the eyes of Kenni and her parents, we see how God loves even the most wretched and how His forgiveness, love and grace can work all things together.

This suspense and action-packed novel really held my attention  from the very beginning.Marcia Laycock doles out little parcels of information (some of which I've spoiled) so dexterously, kind of like the carrot-on-the-string ploy. It kept me guessing about all sorts of details, some extremely important, right up to the end. It was a very satisfying story, but not all pie-in-the-sky. One Smooth Stone is definitely an adult suspense, although I am sure many teens would enjoy it as well. Once again, the timing for this tour was interesting to me, coming between the Olympics in Canada and the Iditarod (started March 7). Those who enjoy adventure, suspense and mystery should be captivated by One Smooth Stone.

Marcia Lee Laycock is an award-winning Canadian author known for her devotional writings. She received the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for One Smooth Stone, her debut in fiction.

For more information, you can visit the author's website, .

Purchase One Smooth Stone from
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the publisher.

If I copy all three of the others, this will be much too long. So please follow the links for the titles to read my reviews. Author websites are given as links under the author names.

Mags Storey's Story: IF ONLY YOU KNEW  (Since I originally wrote this review, Ms. Storey has won some well-deserved awards for her novel. The Word Guild's Canadian Christian Writing Awards bestowed three honors: Best Romance, Best Youth Novel, and the prestigious  Grace Irwin Award for Best Book of 2009.

    Laura Davis: Come to Me    


Laura Davis said...

You are a gem Cathi! Thanks for featuring us once again.

Christy--Southern Sassy Girl said...


What great memories these books bring back, even though I'm no longer a part of CFRB. Come to Me was the first book I read when I joined the group, and I loved every single second of it. You spotlighted another one of my fave's with Marcia's book, was truly enjoyable. And Keith's book far exceeded my expectations considering it's topic. Mags' story was my least favorite, but it still had a good message.

Thanks for bringing back so many good memories!

cathikin said...

Laura, it was my pleasure. Thank you so much for introducing me to so many Canadian authors that I never knew existed before. Now I just hope that more readers will be blessed by their work.

Christy, so good to hear from you. I've enjoyed revisiting these books myself.

Marcia said...

Thanks so much for the great review, Cathi! The sequel to One Smooth Stone will be released in the spring, 2011.
Blessings, Marcia

cathikin said...

Marcia, I am really looking forward to the sequel. Not too sure I look forward to more bears, though, but othefwise I loved the settings!