Monday, April 25, 2011

A Must Read Review: I am Humbled

 Quest for the Nail Prints by Don Furr

It will be very hard to separate the editor from the reviewer as I write this because many elements of Quest For The Nail Prints demonstrate perfect lessons for the aspiring writer and key marketing points for roving publishers. I wanted to stand and shout “Yes! That’s what I’m talking about!” so many times.

When the paths of an emergency flight physician, confused but highly educated professor, and successful pastor intersect, it will be anything but an ordinary day at the office. As each individual boards a flight to the Holy Land, their motives couldn’t be farther apart, but a higher power has plans for a single mission. Pastor Paul and Dr. Elizabeth Stewart become immediate friends, while the bitter Professor Van Eaton finds any interaction with the two, especially his arch-enemy Pastor Paul, an inconvenience at best. Fate consistently throws them together until an isolated event becomes the glue that keeps them together as they embark on a mysterious and life altering adventure.

As the three are sight seeing together, Paul inadvertently videos two guards attempting to violate an innocent female in an alley. When the guards realize they have been taped, they instigate a chase that leaves Van Eaton injured and dependant on the medical skills of Dr. Stewart as well as the survival skills of Pastor Paul. As the three emerge from a building that was to be their refuge, they find Jerusalem has changed, or has it? As they witness a reenactment of the Messiah entering the city on Palm Sunday, it soon becomes clear that the reenactment is not so. They are standing in the Holy Land as Jesus passes by. The next week provides healing and restoration as they witness first handedly what it was like to see Jesus nailed to the cross. But what is the purpose in this experience? There is one, and as you complete the journey with them, you can’t help but smile at how perfectly things were choreographed.

Quest For The Nail Prints makes a perfectly obvious point that everything that God has done, including sending his son to die for us, has a reason attached. Nothing is done haphazardly. To experience the human side of the man who laid down his life for us is another great example of superior writing. If the author moved you to emotion-especially one on the same level as Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of Christ-you have encountered a writer that has depth.

Here is where the editor in me comes out. A good author makes the ending match the story. An exceptional author makes the story match the ending. Most writers think of a great story and try to fill in the ending, but authors that have depth and insight (and I’d like to think in the case of Furr-the whispers of God) write backwards. They know where they want the story to end, and fill in the details to match that ending. Many would argue the point and say it really doesn’t matter. I counter that your favorite novel is so because the ending was notches above the storyline. If you don’t have a hard hitting ending, you don’t have a story. Period.

Another point many will express distaste for is novels related to time travel. Historical fiction is one of the top selling genres on the shelf. Readers like to live vicariously through the characters in a different time and place-it’s the whole reading escape thing. Finding that you are suddenly in another place and time is a stretch of the imagination, but so is sci-fi. The whole crucifixion story is a stretch of the imagination because it doesn’t happen daily, but that doesn’t make it irrelevant. It is totally relevant. If you could appear at the foot of the cross, or better yet, travel with Jesus for a week, would you discredit the experience because it’s not probable?

Publishers that refuse to see potential in time travel related manuscripts are missing out on some of the best pieces of Christian fiction. Furr has presented a killer example of how it works and works perfectly. Other authors-Scott Higginbotham, for example-have yet to see the fruition of their hard work, but I stake my reputation on the fact that many publishers that denied authors full artistic expression in this area will be changing when they see how readers embrace these storylines just as enthusiastically as any other genre.

Furr is an author to be watched. He does not operate as mainstream authors. If you doubt his creative ability to captivate you as a reader, one look at the layout of the book will win you over. Quest For The Nail Prints has a hole through the book-every single page-as a visually stimulating object lesson. Furr is not your run-of-the-mill author. He is a nightmare for those that want a cookie cutter manuscript, but a refreshing breeze of accuracy when it comes to what the reader really wants. I’d like to say the book is worth it for the time travel aspect alone, but that is not completely honest. Quest For The Nail Prints is a journey that the reader will embrace, page by page, emotion by emotion, and absolutely guaranteed to keep you thinking about the cross in a new and refreshing way. ~Mary Nichelson
Mary, I am humbled and honored by this review. Thank you and God bless!

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