Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Book Review: "Try Dying" by James Scott Bell

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Wednesday, November 21. Good luck!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Center Street October 24, 2007)


James Scott Bell


James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.

On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.

Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.

His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.

This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.

But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.

In Try Dying, this fast-paced thriller, lawyer Ty Buchanan must enter a world of evil to uncover the cause of his fiancee's death--even if hie has to kill for the truth.
"Bell is one of the best writers out there...he creates characters readers care about...a story worth telling."
~Library Review~
Book Noir at It's Best

Gritty. That was my first thought when I finished reading this book. The other was, wow this could totally be made into a movie. It reminded me very much of the movie Collateral starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. The way the setting was described along with the action sequences and just the mood in general made me feel like I was in a slow moving but suspenseful film noir. There's a lot of mystery and suspense in this book that keeps you guessing til the end. Things that appear to be unconnected somehow have a thread that ties everything together. I love all the characters in this novel especially the non traditional priest and the basketball playing nun. Really can't wait to read more about them.

This is a book you could pass on to anybody who is a fan of the genre and they would not be disappointed. I would compare this book to be on par with John Grisham just without sex or cursing. Like I've said before it has been proven that you can write an excellent story without having to resort to filler material. There were several places in the story where I could see another author just throwing in a sex scene or placing a few f-bombs to add space. But the story does not need it at all. Instead what you get is action filled drama, several intense scenes of violence and a story that keeps you reading from page one. This book shows that Christian fiction is not just clean romance novels.
I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series. Top notch writing, Mr. Bell, top notch.

Try Dying by James Scott Bell is published by
Center Street (2007)


  1. Anonymous7:31 AM

    This looks very interesting. Please enter me for the drawing fo "Try Dying" Thanks so much.

    Nora St.Laurent :)

  2. Thanks for featuring Try Dying, Deborah. I'm not even a big reader of thrillers, but Jim Bell's excellent books are always a terrific experience. The premise of Try Dying is intriguing, and I'd love a copy!

  3. Anonymous8:02 AM

    Sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for entering me in your drawing. Lenda (at FR)

  4. I was introduced to Bell's fiction this summer. It's clear he practices what he preaches in Plot and Structure. I'd love to win this book!

  5. I love James Scott Bell. Please enter me in the drawying.

    safe-ldwrites at flash dot net

  6. pam (aliadam from FR)9:49 AM

    Thanks so much for another book giveaway. I notice others say this author is really good so I'd like to give him a try. Love a good mystery. Pam (aliadam from FR)

  7. I really love James Scott Bell all his books have been so wonderful and Try dying looks and sounds just as good I would love the oppurtunity to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing.


  8. Please enter me!


  9. Hi, Please enter me in your book giveaway for this terrific book! Thanks very much, Cindi

  10. My sister read this book and said it was terrific. Please enter me!

  11. oh please please!!!

  12. count me in

    bebemiqui82 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  13. Would love to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!


  14. Erin M in MO12:56 AM

    I am interested! I've read another of James Scott Bell's books and it was very good. Thanks!


  15. Sounds fantastic. Enter me!

    Im bloggin ya at :

  16. This sounds so interesting!! Please count me in.

  17. right up my ally please enter me!

  18. Wow, looks great!

    themommyspot (at) gmail (dot) com

  19. Please enter me. This book looks wonderful.

  20. sounds very interesting- please enter me!

  21. Tabitha8:45 PM

    Please enter me!

    tabithagardner atgmail dotcom

  22. Janet Collier11:50 PM

    Please enter me!

    jcollaird at

  23. Anonymous11:22 PM

    I Love James Scott Bell. I read all his books & am so glad there is another one to read. Would love to read it soon.

  24. Anonymous8:16 AM

    Enter me in! Sweetnessandsass-pbs

  25. melissa from IN9:41 AM

    My teenage daughter LOVES who dunnits (started cutting her teeth listening to sherlock holmes at age 10!) I can't keep up with her any more! I would love to get my hands on some "wholesome" thrillers and sounds like JSB fits the bill. Would make a great christmas present,don't you think?

  26. This book sounds fantastic! Please enter me.

  27. would love to win :)

    thanks ;)

  28. Sounds great! Can you enter me too please?

  29. Congrats to Erin (the write editor) for winning!


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