I've been reading Charles Martin's When Crickets Cry. I really like his novels, for much the same reasons I like the novels of Dale Cramer and Chris Fabry.
All three authors evoke a strong sense of place in their works -- Martin in Florida/southeast Georgia, Cramer in the Atlanta area (and Kentucky), and Fabry in West Virginia. Okay, so I like Southerners. I'm one of them. I count West Virginia as part of the American South -- they talk like us, although the accents, or actually the array of accents associated with "Southern," are being homogenized into American newspeak. (I'm the classic example of this.)
All three writers are also strong on story -- and they always tell a good one. Always. I haven't hit a bum one yet, and I've read all of Cramer, most of Martin and the one adult novel Fabry has published (his second, June Bug, is scheduled for publication this summer).
And all three don't smack you upside the head with the Christian message, or any Christian message. But it's there, informing and often saturating their novels, even more powerful because it's not overt. You get the themes of brokenness and redemption, and of sacrifice and debt paid, without having them shoved at you. It's done much more subtly, almost wooing the reader, in much the same way I believe God often woos us. Odd word, that -- woo. The dictionary says it means to seek the affection of, to court, to solicit or entreat, to seek to gain or bring about.
That's what their writing does for me -- woo.