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     Volume 5 Issue 106 | August 4, 2006 |

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Uncanny Stories!


Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer
Random House, Incorporated; June 2004

Jon Krakauer's literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In Under the Banner of Heaven, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders. At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this "divinely inspired" crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith. Along the way, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America's fastest-growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life
Don Piper & Cecil Murphey
Baker Publishing Group; September 2004

On the way home from a conference, Don Piper's car was crushed by a semi truck that crossed into his lane. Medical personnel said he died instantly. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper experienced the glories of heaven, awed by its beauty and music. Ninety minutes after the wreck, while a minister prayed for him, Piper miraculously returned to life on earth with only the memory of inexpressible heavenly bliss. His faith in God was severely tested as he faced an uncertain and grueling recovery. 90 Minutes in Heaven offers a glimpse into a very real dimension of God's reality. It encourages those recovering from serious injuries and those dealing with the loss of a loved one. The experience dramatically changed Piper's life, and it will change yours too.

Cover of Night
Linda Howard
Random House Publishing Group; June 2006

Romance, suspense, and action are brought expertly to a nocturnal fever pitch in this nail-biting thriller by Linda Howard. In a small, mountain-ringed town in Idaho, young widow Cate Nightingale lives a sedate but hardworking existence, running a bed-and-breakfast and taking care of her four-year-old twin boys. Even if her house always seems to need emergency repairs, local handyman Calvin Harris, always turns up in the nick of time. But then a B&B guest disappears overnight, leaving his belongings behind; soon, armed men show up to take the missing man's suitcase and end by holding the entire town hostage. In addition to his secret love for Cate, the shy Calvin turns out to have one more skill up his sleeve, and the two of them are forced into a true Hail Mary maneuver to save the day. At long last, Cate is ready for a new romantic relationship, but will she survive to enjoy it?




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