Monday, August 29, 2016

Waking Lazarus! Spotlighted Author D. J. Williams Provides Background SoundTrack to Readers!

Agua Prieta, Mexico, 1925 She stared at her reflection for a long time. Her bloodied hands cupped together as she splashed water on the open wounds on her face and arms. The coolness lasted only a few seconds and did little to revive her senses. Though she’d spent a few hours safely inside the dilapidated house, she still struggled to grasp reality. Crawling. Stumbling. Digging her way through the desert for hours had been more than a physical test of endurance. Her five-foot-three, one-hundred-pound frame was broken in other ways. By the time she stumbled into town, she wasn’t sure where she was or how she ended up there. 
She gazed into the mirror at her ragged clothes and bony cheeks. Her eyes, once fiery with determination, were now sunken and empty. Dried blood caked her filthy hands. Proof that what happened was real. She ran her fingers through her sweaty, blondish-brown hair, which was normally a perfectly styled bob. She desperately wanted to scream. Her signature voice had garnered the world’s stage with a booming tone that pronounced every syllable with passion and conviction. Now that passion and conviction had devolved into survival and anguish. Glimpses of what happened flashed in her mind. Her body shook and she squeezed her eyes so tightly she could see the blood pulse with every heartbeat. She longed to rid herself— not of the woman, Alice, who called her Sister— but of the man known as Adler. 
The pounding in her chest intensified as she slowed her breathing. She dug her face into her palms and whispered under her breath, “God give me strength.” 
Barefoot, she shuffled across the wood floor toward the edge of the bed. It was as far as she could go as she slumped face down on the mattress. Nicotine seeped from the covers, floorboards, walls, and curtains — suffocating her in the darkness as she warned herself of what was ahead. You will not return an adulterer but as God’s messenger. A heavy fog seemed to engulf the room as she closed her eyes and found herself in a familiar place in the backseat of a Pontiac Coupe driving alone through every town and ghetto from New York to California. She stepped from the Pontiac and found herself on a street corner surrounded by hundreds of onlookers. Dozens of coffins lined the sidewalk. She stood as God’s chosen messenger amidst an epidemic that swept through the nation. Her words were light amidst the darkness. She believed and held on to them as her refrain, her passion, her driving force, and her pulpit.
Fearlessly, she reached out her hand and prayed. A blind man stepped forward and laughed with excitement as vibrant colors illuminated all around him. A woman jumped for joy as she listened to the man’s laughter, her world of silence forever changed. A mother wheeled her boy into the center of the crowd. With one touch, the boy jumped to his feet and walked. Cheers from the crowds grew louder in each town until there were thousands who followed, believing they had found their salvation. She turned from the crowd and found herself knee-deep in the Mississippi River. Thousands stood along the banks ready to be baptized.
Another flash and she was inside a tent surrounded by coloreds. Her voice rang with gospel lyrics as she played bluesy chords on a piano. All eyes watched as she turned her attention toward a young deaf girl. The music faded and the anticipation thickened. She casually walked up to the girl and whispered in her ear. The crowd gasped as the girl began to sing. Her angelic voice cut through the humid night and engulfed them. Hundreds stepped forward, weeping with eyes fixed toward the heavens. The young girl sang softly as God’s messenger gazed out on the faces of her followers. Then she turned her attention to a man who was brought forward. “Brother, rise upon His promise now!” Her words were loud enough for all to hear. The man nodded as she rested her hands on him. A surge of energy shot through the crowd like lightning. Instantly, the man stood from his wheelchair and walked across the stage, tears rolling down his cheeks. She wasted no time as she turned and lifted another woman out of a chair. CRACK... CRACK... CRACK... Bones snapped into place as the woman’s curved spine straightened. Voices rose even louder as the young girl’s singing was drowned out by a burst of celebration and applause. 
When she opened her eyes she expected to see the multitudes that flooded the tent. Instead, she was alone in the room. Her vivid memories of the Pontiac, the wooden pulpit, the evangelistic meetings, and the street-corner sermons with megaphone in hand seemed like a lifetime ago. She had shouted the salvation message to the drunks outside the bars. She stood alongside the Negroes in the cotton fields and sang with them during her revivals. She embraced the undesirables. Black and white immersed as one. No segregation. No condemnation. Only a message of hope, love, and unity. Proclaiming the Good News was her way to fight against the demons that lurked in the deep corners of her faith. But pursuing her calling came with a heavy price. A ray of light pierced the gap between the curtains as the sun rose on the horizon. She rolled slowly from the bed and winced in pain. She mustered up enough strength from the prayers she poured out on the lost, broken, and hurting. 
Then she breathed in deep and sensed the Holy Spirit energize her being. Quietly, she walked down the hall from the bedroom toward the front door. In that moment she was eager to return home, to continue her calling, and to leave the events of the last thirty days behind. She squinted as the morning flooded through the doorway where a shadow waited patiently.

Waking Lazarus
A Guardian Novel

By D. J. Williams

Wow! With the first book, Disillusioned, in the Guardian series, I shared mostly about the Family Drama that encompassed the storyline. But, Waking Lazarus immediately demands readers' involvement with the mystery and suspense that has been prevalent in both books. I'm excited to have met this new author and his Guardian novels. The books speak to me from all parts of my life--about the world issues I'm concerned about with what is happening to our children--and by my need to encompass the presence of God within those important topics. This time, however, there is an unexpected twist which presents a thought-provoking angle... That, readers will discover later in the book!

The main character is a down-on-his-luck writer who is struggling with his family life, drinking, and trying to hold onto a job. He had just been contacted by a friend of his father's who asked him to immediately start on writing his memoir. With nothing holding him back, he moved into a residence on the man's property and was anxious to get started.

Dr. Warren, on the other hand, immediately served breakfast and started what could only be called reminiscing... Jake Harris was wondering whether this was going to work out because Dr. Warren had immediately started talking about an evangelist from the 20s who had disappeared...

“You have something that doesn’t belong to you.” 
Doc turned cautiously away from his bedroom window towards the voice and stared directly at a man standing in the corner of the room. Peppered hair. Slender build. Piercing dark eyes. “I’m afraid you’re mistaken,” Doc said. “I’m an old man with nothing more than memories.” 
“Return what belongs to them, and I will make this quick.”
“What if it is not here?”
“Then tell me where it is, or you will not be the only one who dies today.” 
He had made himself right with God, so he wasn’t as afraid as he thought he would be. He was going to die, but he refused to allow anyone else to endure the same fate, especially Jake Harris. He exhaled slowly. What was life like on the other side? A brilliant light? Endless darkness? He feared this day would come. Pandora’s Box had been opened, and he held the key. 
His greatest regret was failing to tell the others who he had found. “It’s in a safe,” Doc said. “Downstairs in the study.”
 “Combination?” “I must have your word this will end here.”
“You are in no position to negotiate.”
“I have told no one. There is no evidence. Do you understand?” 
“Give me the combination.” Doc paused for a moment and then surrendered. “Twenty-three... thirty-two... nine.” 
“On your knees.” Silence brought a few more seconds of peace. He knew there was no way to save himself. Perhaps he’d known since the beginning. He only hoped Jake would find the truth. He closed his eyes and quietly prayed. The woman in the alley flashed in his mind as he felt the silencer pressed against his skull.

As the clock neared midnight,
reality sunk in. I was headed
 back to where my childhood
 memories were locked away
 from my consciousness,
where I remembered being
 raised by strangers, and where
 I promised I’d never return.
Now it was the only place
 I had left to go.
Harris listened and discussed the need to go back that far, but Dr. Warren was adamant--noting that it was the "Genesis" of it all! And went on to say that it all started with the "Ghosts of the Flaming Cross... And he shared part of a poem that the evangelist had written and went on with more stories... One in particular was about the KKK--ok I admit it was partly because our presidential candidate recently indicated he didn't know much about them(!). Anyway, they had come to support Evelyn Shaw and told her they felt they believed in the same things...and they even came in full dress to one of her meetings and stood in all the aisles... Oh, I would have loved to hear her speak to them... Because she was gaining enemies from all sides: To the religious bullhorns, she was a fraud and a hoax. To the Klan, she was a symbol of their twisted ideology who betrayed them after they publicly pledged their allegiance to her cause. To Cohen and the West Coast mob, she was a viable threat as she converted criminals faster than they were being recruited. To the gypsies, she was a healer who saved the life of their beloved King. And to the Angelenos, she was a beacon of light, a messenger of hope, and a carrier of salvation. No doubt she was fearless...

While Dr. Warren continued to go over the past, Harris had started to go through all the boxes he'd moved to the pool house and, in particular, Evelyn Shaw's diary... and had fallen asleep...
God’s guardians on the earth of new and old 
Protect a secret more powerful than altars of gold
 A power unleashed through a covenant of light
 Defends a faith that will not go gently into the fight

 Blind unbelief ushers in trouble, war, and fear 
A battle of profound love offers courage to all who hear 
Yet when the skies are filled with smoke and fire 
The end draws near, and faith becomes dire
And when he returned, he heard a sound, hid, and watched while somebody entered the room and broke into a safe. After he'd left Harris went looking for Doc Webber and found what he was afraid of finding. Doc Webber had been murdered...
After I dialed 911, I was struck by flashes of blurred visions so intense they caused me to drop to my knees and shake uncontrollably. It lasted less than a minute, but it scared me as much as seeing Doc’s lifeless body. As usual, they dissipated, leaving confusion in their wake...
While the murder is being investigated, readers are swept over to China where the election of the new CEO is forthcoming.

It is at this point that the novel becomes more complex as readers move back and forth between the investigation of Webber, with, of course, Jake Harris, as the main suspect, while we begin to see the criminal negotiations behind the election to ensure the right person wins...

It is always intriguing to me when an author massages and twists subplots to ultimate wind up with two divergent stories molding into one climatic ending. One of the key characters not yet introduced is Jake's father, who works with the government at times. Jake has not been involved with his father for years and rightly so since Jake had a part of his life missing and knew nothing about his mother...and his father refused to explain... But now that Jake was a suspect, he went home and asked his father to allow him to stay, since he had no other place to live. His father agreed, but noted that he was already scheduled to leave the country and he could stay as long as he wanted.

Soon the action begins in triple speed...Jake is placed with Kate, an FBI agent, as his protector, and they begin to follow the trail searching for who had killed Doc Webber. What follows gets involved with secret societies, the Triad who now hire a group of assassins, known as the Brethren,  to be their bodyguards, and the Guardians... The novel is more a trail of, and revealing of secrets as opposed to a true action adventure, so if you've enjoyed movies where the search actually becomes the adventure, then this novel is definitely for you!

This is the type of novel I hate to stop talking about, but the surprises coming up are not so much staggering as indicative of the world in which we live...and it's both dangerous and amazingly least in this book, LOL... But the story is exciting and the author has provided sufficient clues for the careful reader to begin to unravel some what is happening... and where the story is headed.

While I couldn't include all of the soundtrack with my review, I did want to share the ending...For those interested you can find the soundtrack on UTube and on many other music listening sites. Look for it under the title and the composer's name.

I've had a wonderful time experimenting with this new concept...background soundtrack accompanying a novel. I found the music as composed complemented the story dramatically and with a specific title on each segment, readers are able to see the correlation. Time-wise, they don't always match, but, still, it was a worthwhile and a fantastic look at what might become popular in the future! Kudos to both the author and composer for conceptually starting this process! And thanks so much for allowing Book Readers Heaven to pass this exciting option to readers!

D. J. Williams was an easy add to my Favorite authors and I highly recommend the first two novels in The Guardian series.


With the DNA of a world traveler, D.J. Williams was born and raised in Hong Kong, has ventured into the jungles of the Amazon, the bush of Africa, and the slums of the Far East. His global travels have engrossed him in a myriad of cultures, and provided him with a unique perspective that has fueled his creativity over the course of an eighteen year career in both the entertainment industry and nonprofit sector.

His debut novel, The Disillusioned, has garnered praise from Hollywood’s elite such as Judith McCreary, Co-Executive Producer, Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, & CSI, who said, “The Disillusioned is a fast-paced mystery…you won’t put it down until you’ve unlocked the secrets and lies to find the truth.”

Currently based out of Los Angeles, Williams continues to add to his producing and directing credits of more than 300 episodes of broadcast TV syndicated worldwide by developing new projects for television, film and print.

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