Christian Thriller Book Reviews: The Grace Painter & The Treasure Box by Marc Romang
I’m reviewing these together because I don’t normal read cop thrillers, Christian or not. I read them because I loved the first two books of Marc’s spiritual warfare Battle series: Battle Scream & Battle Storm. I’m glad I did. These two books are excellent.
The Grace Painter
This is a fairly typical cops and robbers book. It’s better than most and some of the key characters are Christian, but this tale is certainly not slap-in-your-face Bible-thumping. Marc does keep it from being predictable, and that’s nice. But, as I got into the book I wasn’t impressed—and it certainly did not live up to what I expected after Battle Scream. I gave it four stars because I liked it. But to be honest: I was a bit disappointed.
On the other hand, these are characters worth knowing, with horrific lives redeemed in spite of themselves. I am tired of criminal thrillers though. Inundated as we are by criminal thrillers on the tube, it’s hard to keep my attention with yet another kidnapping. Yet the hero does find redemption and Marc does take us to the end of the story—not leaving us hanging, as is so common.
The spiritual events in the lives of the characters are handled very realistically without artifice or Bible-bashing. Marc has a gift of telling spiritual truth within very realistic scenarios—as it actually happens in the real world. It’s very nicely done and a comfort. This entire book, as horrendous as the crime, criminals, and events are, is a true comfort and a nice romance.
The Treasure Box
Now, we’re talking. Here the spiritual warfare is more out in the open (at least through the narrator). This is not a rollicking, scary, out-in-the-open spiritual battle like the Scream series, but some of the spiritual realities of an event like this are covered. The intervention of the Lord into the affairs of men for a pair among His sons and daughters is covered in an entertaining manner.
Is it realistic? Probably, as well as can be done when dealing with a world invisible to the normal human eye. Are there theological quibbles? Of course, as there always are in the 21st century American church. As we proceed through the Great Falling Away, everything Christian will draw a crowd of mockers and naysayers. But it’s a good story, for a criminal thriller. As it deals with a very tense crime, a brutal hostage situation, and extremely nasty criminals, the tale also covers the spiritual realities of several of the characters. Marc is very good at this.
You’ll enjoy this book whether or not you’re a believer.