Donna Fletcher Crow – An Unholy Communion

2 – 6 September 2013

Australia Christian Readers Blog Alliance



An Unholy Communion

Lion Hudson (1 April 2013)


Donna Fletcher Crow

About the Author:

“Donna Fletcher Crow has created her own niche within the genre of clerical mysteries.” – Kate Charles, author of Deep Waters

First light, Ascension morning. From the top of the tower at the College of Transfiguration, voices rise in song.

Felicity’s delight turns to horror when a black-robed body hurtles over the precipice and lands at her feet.

Her fiancé Father Antony recognizes the corpse as Hwyl Pendry, a former student, who has been serving as Deliverance Minister in a Welsh diocese. The police ignore the strange emblem of a double-headed snake clutched in the dead man’s hand, labelling the death a suicide. But Hwyl’s widow is convinced otherwise, and pleads for Felicity and Antony to help her uncover the truth.

Matters grow murkier as Felicity and Antony, leading a youth pilgrimage through rural Wales, encounter the same sinister symbol as they travel. Lurking figures follow them. Then a body is found face-down in a well …

“Donna Fletcher Crow gives us, in three extremely persuasive dimensions, the world that Dan Brown merely sketches.” – Timothy Hallinan, author of The Queen of Patpong

About the Book:

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 40 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.

To read more about all of Donna’s books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to:

You can follow her on Facebook at:

L.D. Taylor – Motive Games

From the Back Cover:

motivegamessmallWhen practically everyone you know hated your Dad, where do you start your search for his murderer?

Phil Roland is sure his dad’s death wasn’t an accident. Thousands of adults had hated him for designing a popular, but controversial, first–person shooter. Thousands of kids had hated him because he’d walked away with the rights to the game, before a sequel could be made. Now Phil’s got a plan to prove his dad didn’t just fall down a set of stairs. But getting that proof means getting in at Motive Games, getting Dad’s eccentric detective friend to help him investigate, and getting past his own grief.

In this fast-paced thriller, inspired by The Song of Roland, real-world technology collides head on with real-life dilemmas. The result is a high-tech murder mystery with heart, soul… and ultimately, hope.

Amanda’s Review:

High-tech murder mystery is exactly what this book is. Although aimed for younger readers, I thoroughly enjoyed following Phil’s journey as he tried to find out what really happened to his dad.

I probably only understood about half of the computer/gaming lingo, but it was enough to keep me on track with what was happening. And happily, if you don’t understand it all, there is a glossary at the end of each chapter. A true gaming enthusiast would have fun following all the links to more information — unless of course, they already know it all.

Lisa Taylor did a great job at portraying teen characters as well as some interesting adult characters as well. Motive Games kept me turning pages, particularly as it built to the climax. Recommended for teens and lovers of the gaming world.

About the Author:

lisataylorAfter graduating from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada with a BA in English Literature and History, LD Taylor began a career in marketing for the 3D graphics and animation software industry. A few years before her family’s immigration to New Zealand in 2010, she decided to spearhead a family project that would combine one of her teenage sons’ interests (video games) with one of her own (mystery novels). In 2011 the resulting manuscript, Motive Games, won the Caleb Prize in the Young Adult category. Today, Taylor and her family live like pioneers in New Zealand’s Northland, taunting their family back in Canada with photos of exotic locally grown fruits and snowless winters.

Martin Roth – Insight

Rather than offer Martin Roth a standard interview, I asked him to share part of his life with us – either a story about how he met his partner, a story about how he became a Christian, or a story of heritage from his family’s past. Martin offered to share his testimony of faith. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

A Life of Searching

I was raised in New Zealand, in a family that was antagonistic towards all religion. Possibly that was why I often had inside me a sense of emptiness that made me restless and unhappy and feeling that something was missing in my life.

I graduated from university and became a newspaper reporter, then set off overseas. I worked as a journalist in England and then spent six months picking oranges on kibbutzim in Israel, where I have many relatives. Then I travelled to Japan for a short trip, and ended up staying there for 17 years.

In Tokyo I found that several temples offered instruction to Westerners in Zen Buddhism, and I became a regular participant. Zen, as I understood it back then, seemed to be teaching that the world and human beings were all pretty meaningless, which resonated with my own cynical worldview.

I started writing about Zen and got my own column in the Asahi Evening News, a Tokyo newspaper. I became friends with one of the leading Western Buddhist scholars, Professor John Stevens, who lived in Japan, and together we wrote a book, “Zen Guide”, which was a kind of manual for Westerners coming to Japan to study and practise Zen.

I took an interest in Shintoism, an animistic Japanese religion that worships nature, and I took part in a three-day Shinto group pilgrimage, trudging through snowy mountains, dressed in straw sandals and a white robe. Each day we walked into an icy cold river and stood under a waterfall, crying out to the local mountain deities.

But nothing left me with any real satisfaction. The emptiness and the feelings of restlessness remained. I was continually searching for something more.

Then I married Younju, a Christian from Korea, our first two children were born, and we decided to leave Japan and move to Melbourne. After that, things happened very fast. Younju had joined a local Korean congregation here in Melbourne but suggested we try to find a church near our home where we could worship as a family. I thought it wouldn’t be bad for our kids to go to Sunday School, and so one Sunday morning we all turned up unannounced at our local Baptist church.

Very quickly the pastor visited us and suggested that some church people come to teach me about the Bible. And there were no thunderbolts, no flashes of lightning, but one day, quite soon after, I just had no doubt at all in my heart that everything they were telling me was true. And so at the age of 44 I gave my life to Christ and was baptised.

Thanks Martin, for sharing this story with us. I reviewed Martin’s novel Prophets and Loss last week. You can read it here, along with more information about Martin Roth. For now I will leave you with the blurb of the second Johnny Ravine mystery, Hot Rock Dreaming.

Australia’s most famous Aboriginal painter is dead…supposedly killed when a heavy object tumbled onto him in his studio during an earth tremor. But then doubts arise. For a start, the police now suspect murder. And why was the victim heard earlier predicting his own violent death?

Enter private detective Johnny Ravine to solve the mystery…he suddenly finds himself thrust into a byzantine world of art and artists where questions are far more numerous than answers.

Where did the victim’s art dealer obtain the incredibly rare artwork that he was secretly selling? Is the controversial ‘green energy’ company Rokpower really going to harness power from hot rocks deep under the ground, and did it kill the artist’s Dreaming spirit when it injected water onto the rocks? And who is the beautiful and mysterious Asian lady who seems to be able to converse with the dead, and who says she knows how the artist really died?

A killer is on the loose and even Johnny’s own life is in danger. But first he needs to understand that the death of the artist has unleashed spiritual forces that threaten an entire community.

Martin Roth – Prophets and Loss

From the Back Cover:

Forgiveness is the most attractive of the virtues. Until you actually have someone to forgive. When Melissa Stonelea’s born-again Christian husband Grant is found strangled in the bondage room of the city’s classiest brothel, a page of the Bible stuffed in his mouth, she doesn’t need to hear more of her pastor’s sermons on the healing powers of forgiveness. She needs revenge.

Enter private detective Johnny Ravine, seeking the quiet life in Australia after more than twenty years as a freedom fighter in East Timor. The murdered man was his best friend. But, as he starts to investigate the slaying, a mysterious phone call and then a bullet through his window plunge him into the heart of a deadly terrorist conspiracy. Suddenly he finds himself locked inside a shady world of stock market manipulators, sex workers and underground militia, while desperately hunting the killers. But Johnny is concealing a violent past and demons of his own. Can he crack the mystery before he himself cracks?

Amanda’s Review:

When I first saw Prophets and Loss, I thought it would be a self-help book for financial prosperity, so I didn’t look twice at it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I had the benefit of meeting the author early this year, I learned it was in fact a murder-mystery novel. Of course, then I had to read it, and I am so glad I did. I loved it. It was Australian through and through — particularly Melburnian in flavour. Even Roth’s metaphors bore an Aussie feel, which delighted me no end.

Roth’s hero, an unlikely subject — being an illegal immigrant with a past which haunts him — was very believable. I almost felt as though I sat in the room with him as he unfolded his story. Johnny Ravine’s spiritual journey was interesting to follow as well, as he had plenty of questions of his own, and not all of them were answered, leaving the reader with something to seek.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It kept me turning pages, apart from a short part in the middle where I felt it slowed pace a little, but then it revved up again, keeping me up past my bedtime. I’m now looking forward to the next Johnny Ravine mystery… Hot Rock Dreaming.

About the Author:

Martin Roth is a leading Australian financial writer. After graduating in law from Auckland University, he embarked on a career in journalism, and has worked on daily newspapers in New Zealand, Australia, England and Greece. For seventeen years he lived in Japan, and as a Tokyo-based foreign correspondent his reports from Asia appeared in publications around the world, including the Guardian in the UK and the Wall Street Journal in the US. He has also spent six months working on kibbutzim in Israel, and was for seven years a securities analyst with British merchant banks. He now lives in Melbourne with his Korean wife and three sons, and is the author of many books.

For more information, go to, or see his author page at Amazon.

Mellington Hall by Meredith Resce

From the Back Cover:
When Sarah Montgomery finds a man lying half dead in the snow, she doesn’t stop to think of the consequences of trying to save his life.
But being a Good Samaritan yields nothing but trouble. In her parents’ absence, she struggles against a deadly fever and a vicious snow-storm, doing her best to save the life of a stranger. But when her self-righteous neighbours eventually come to see how she fared during the storm, they draw a very different conclusion. Before she knows it, her reputation is in tatters, and she has been cast out of the church and her home. Alone and destitute, Sarah is determined to seek work as a servant from the man whose life she has saved.
But all is not well for the master of Mellington Hall. Someone wants Lord Alan Mellington dead, and he doesn’t know who or why.
The only person he seems to be able to trust is the gamekeeper’s daughter, Sarah Montgomery, who has intervened to save his life not once but twice. This story blending mystery, scandal, murder and romance comes from one of Australia’s best-loved authors, Meredith Resce.
Amanda’s Review:
The first thing that drew me to this novel, apart from the fact that it is written by Meredith Resce, was the cover. This has to be my favourite cover of the books I have read this year. It just evokes that sense of murder-mystery and romance.
The story inside didn’t disappoint either. Set in a time when some of “the church” operated in condemnation rather than grace, Sarah Montgomery’s reputation is torn to shreds, because of a conclusion drawn in a moments notice, without anyone truly seeking the truth. Sarah has a strong character however and fights to get her repuation righted again, seeking the aid of Lord Mellington.
The road to restoration is not as smooth as hoped, with several attempts on Lord Mellington’s life by an unknown person. In solving the mystery and fixing Sarah’s reputation, the two have a lot on their plate, and the story twisted with a surprise near the end. Who is the would-be murderer? A great read for those who like a bit more action with their romance.
About the Author:

South Australian author, Meredith Resce, has been writing since 1991, and has had books in the Australian market since 1997.
Following the Australian success of her Heart of Green Valley series, an English publisher has taken the first three books in this series, and has released them to the Brittish and American markets. You can watch the promotional video for the first book in the series, The Manse – Meredth Resce, here.
Mellington Hall is her 14th novel published.
Apart from writing, Meredith also takes the opportunity to speak to groups on issues relevant to relationships and emotional and spiritual growth.
Meredith has also been co-writer and co-producer in the 2007 feature film production, Twin Rivers.
With her husband, Nick, Meredith has worked in the ministry since 1983. Meredith and Nick have one daughter and two sons.
For more information, click here.