If you read the back cover of T.L. Hines' Faces in the Fire, you’ll see that Library Journal calls the novel a supernatural thriller, and Publisher’s Weekly says it’s “breathless suspense that’s a little off-center.” Even the publisher’s description suggests edginess: “noir bizarre.”
And this is Christian fiction published by a Christian publishing house. Noir bizarre?
That’s exactly what “Faces in the Fire” is – edgy, gritty, supernatural, breathless, and off-center. This is fiction that doesn’t so much make the reader think as it does assault the mind and the senses.
It’s one wild trip and a flaming good read.
The novel is four (or is it three?) interlocking stories. Kurt is a truck driver/sculptor suffering from amnesia and likely hauling his last load; his hobby is buying clothes at garage sales, but only the clothing containing trapped voices, calling for help. Corinne is a professional email spammer who comes to face a deadly kind of email spam. Grace is a tattoo artist and heroin addict, a woman who has run away from her husband and children not once but twice; she uses a new ink and changes everything. Stan is a hired assassin who kills by touching his victims, until he himself is touched to help save a life rather than destroy it. They briefly intersect with each other, and those intersections are the crucial heart of the novel.
I was thrown at first by the chapter numbering (it starts with chapter 34) but soon rolled with it and ultimately understood it as part of the story being told.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find overt Christian messages here. But you will find them, if you read hard enough, especially the message of redemption.
Finishing the book left me with one thought: “Wow! What a story!” But the reviewer and publisher blurbs omitted the most telling description of all.
If you want to be a face in the fire, you can upload a photo at Hines' web site.
I didn't. Reading the novel was sufficient.