Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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Try Fear
by James Scott Bell

Reviewed by C.J. Darlington

"Bell has hit his stride with the Ty Buchanan series, like these were the books he was meant to write."

There’s always an element of risk when creating a series character as James Scott Bell has done in the Ty Buchanan books. If readers enjoy your hero they’ll want him to come back for more. But modern fiction lovers also like protagonists who change and develop, even age, over time. The risk comes in finding balance. Grow your character too much and readers won’t recognize him. Keep him the same and your main guy could become stagnant.

James Scott Bell has found that equilibrium in his third Ty Buchanan novel, Try Fear. Ty’s overcome many of the inner demons he struggled to fend off in Try Dying. In Try Darkness he grew to care for the poor and downtrodden. Now he’s a little more confident and even more determined to fight for justice.

Narrated in first person through Ty’s perspective, the “Try” books read like the crime classics of yesteryear, but with modern settings and scenarios. You picture Ty with his heels up on his desk, puffing on a stogey, sipping strong coffee, telling us the story in his soaked with sarcasm, just-the-facts-ma’am style. There’s grit on every page, but there’s hope too. And that’s the refreshing aspect of these novels. James Scott Bell’s Christian faith comes through gently yet authentically through his Catholic characters, and in many ways Father Bob and Sister Mary live out their faith better than many garden variety Christians.

This time, what at first seems like a routine DUI case quickly spirals into something much deeper, even deadly. Ty needs to keep every shred of his wits about him, but that’s hard to do when he’s finding himself attracted to his investigator and brilliant assistant—who just so happens to be a nun. Sister Mary Veritas is dealing with her own demons in Try Fear. A cyber stalker has her in his sights, and Ty’s determined to bring the stalker down.

Bell has hit his stride with the Ty Buchanan series, like these were the books he was meant to write. His staccato dialogue has always been crisp, but here it’s even sharper and wittier. Especially during the lively banter between Ty and Sister Mary. There’s not much time to catch a breathe or delve too deeply into the characters either, as Bell throws several of his savory, trademark twists. Which is exactly the way we like it. Each successive book in Ty’s series has been better than the last. Try Fear is the cream of the crop.

 

C.J. DarlingtonC.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.