Faces in the Fire

( 14 )

Overview

Four lost souls on a collision course with either disaster or redemption. A random community of Faces in the Fire.

Meet Kurt, a truck-driver-turned-sculptor with no memory of his past. Corinne, an e-mail spammer whose lymphoma isn't responding to treatment. Grace, a tattoo artist with an invented existence and a taste for heroin. And Stan, a reluctant hit man haunted by his terrifying gift for killing.

They don't know each other, at least not ...

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Overview

Four lost souls on a collision course with either disaster or redemption. A random community of Faces in the Fire.

Meet Kurt, a truck-driver-turned-sculptor with no memory of his past. Corinne, an e-mail spammer whose lymphoma isn't responding to treatment. Grace, a tattoo artist with an invented existence and a taste for heroin. And Stan, a reluctant hit man haunted by his terrifying gift for killing.

They don't know each other, at least not yet. But something--or someone--is at work in the fabric of their lives, weaving them all together. A catfish, a series of numbers scribbled on a napkin, a devastating fire, and something mysterious. Something that could send them hurtling down the highway to disaster--or down the road to redemption. But they won't know which is which until they've managed to say yes to the whispers in their souls.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595544537
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/14/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

T.L. Hines writes "Noir Bizarre" stories, mixing mysteries with oddities in books such asThe Unseen, Waking Lazarus, and The Dead Whisper On. Waking Lazarus received Library Journal's "25 Best Genre Fiction Books of the Year" award.

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Read an Excerpt

Faces in the Fire


By T.L. Hines

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2009 T. L. Hines
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-453-7


Chapter One

Thirty-Four 34.

The dead man's shoes spoke to Kurt long before he wore them.

He expected the shoes to say something, of course; Kurt had hundreds of articles of clothing from the dearly departed, a wardrobe of wearable ghosts that fueled his existence. It wasn't unusual, when browsing estate sales, to find a jacket whispering of adulterous affairs, a pair of slacks sobbing uncontrollably about financial ruin. While searching through the piles of belongings at these sales, Kurt heard the constant babble of past lies and past lives rising from the tables where the clothing lay neatly folded.

So he wasn't surprised to find shoes with something to say. But while most of the clothing spoke to him in words, in plaintive voices tinged with desperation, these shoes spoke a single, simple image: a catfish.

It started as a white dot on the horizon, floating in a vast expanse of orange. But the dot moved, coming closer and closer, until at last the dot took its fish form, its continual back-and-forth sweeps of the tail coming into focus. Finally, as the catfish filled the entire slate of his mind, Kurt absently set down the light-tan sweater he'd been holding and turned his attention to the shoes.

The sweater had been quiet.Or maybe it hadn't been. But if it said anything, its voice was drowned out by the image the shoes pushed his way.

A catfish. What did that mean?

The scene began to loop again, and Kurt moved to touch the shoes. When he did, the image in his mind became a bit more vibrant, a bit more dimensional.

"Good stuff, huh?"

Kurt swiveled his head in the direction of the voice, the catfish momentarily dissolving as his concentration broke. A short man stood next to him, riffling through the folded clothes of lot 159; a scruffy beard concealed most of his face.

"Sorry," Kurt said, trying to force a smile into his voice. "I didn't catch that."

The bearded guy picked up the tan sweater Kurt had just been holding, examined it a few moments, began refolding it. He finally looked at Kurt. "Good stuff here. Guy left lots of stuff."

"Oh," Kurt said, feeling as if his mind were in a slower gear than usual. "Yeah. Sure."

And even as he tried to sift through the rest of lot 159, an assortment of clothing left by a dead man to scavengers at an estate sale, one item continued to speak to him.

The shoes.

Sending him the flickering scenes of the catfish, swimming against the murky current of his mind.

thirty-nine. 39.

That evening, after paying just fifty dollars for the entire lot (the bearded guy, for all his talk about the quality of lot 159, didn't offer a single bid), Kurt unlocked the rolling doors of his workshop.

He'd already sealed all the clothing from lot 159-shoes, shirts, slacks-in a plastic storage container, and now he carried the container to another door on the back wall of his workshop. He paused to unlock this door as well, then pushed it open and flipped the light switch that illuminated a single overhead bulb.

Cold storage. That's what he called this room. It was the size of a single garage stall-had once been a garage stall, in fact-but it held no vehicles. Instead, giant storage bins just like the one that now held lot 159 filled the entire room, stacked floor to ceiling.

The room remained unheated because there was no reason to heat it. Quite the opposite, really, because cold-especially the frosty autumn and winter nights here in western Montana-fueled the fears, the ghosts, that spoke to him. The fears and ghosts that fed his work.

After all, not every piece of clothing was haunted by the ghost of the person who wore it. Far from it. Perhaps only one out of every twenty pieces had something to say. Putting the clothing in cold storage, keeping it in isolation, tended to amplify the voices caught inside the folds of denim or cotton or silk or wool.

Kurt paused at the door, glancing up at the noticeable flicker in the bulb overhead. It swung slightly on its bare, corroded cord, rocked by a gentle breeze that wasn't there.

From inside the plastic storage containers stacked around him, Kurt heard murmurs. Whispers. Chatters. Even a few screams. No more than a dozen distinct voices in all, out of the hundreds of articles of clothing neatly tucked away into this space. And even now, not amplified by cold storage or isolation, the shoes were projecting images of the catfish in his mind, a movie to accompany the cacophonous soundtrack of the voices.

He shuddered.

Kurt didn't want to confine ghosts of the dead in cold storage. He didn't want to hear them scream or suffer. He didn't want any of this.

And yet he knew this was what he had to do. It was his task, to listen to these ghosts of the present, because he could never hear the ghosts of his past-the past that stretched beyond truck driving school, beyond his therapy sessions with Todd almost eight years ago.

The invisible past that haunted him more than any of the ghosts ever could.

Fifteen 15.

Kurt sat, nervously tapping his foot against the floor as he waited to meet the therapist for the first time.

He'd graduate from the High Road Truck Driving School soon. Then he could apply to trucking firms all over the country, firms always searching for new drivers. He could go anywhere and start his career. Maybe eventually buy a rig of his own.

Eventually.

But right now, he was here because ... well, he'd let the therapist decide that. That's what therapists did, didn't they? They listened to your secrets, nodded their heads appreciatively, and told you what was wrong with you. End of story.

So that's why he was here. Not really for the end of the story but for the beginning of it. That was the Great Secret he was going to have to admit to the therapist, something he'd not mentioned to any of the other students at the driving school, something he'd not mentioned to any of the trucking firms trying to recruit him.

In fact, the only person who knew was Marcus, the one instructor who had become something of a friend. One night, after a few beers with Marcus, Kurt had blurted his secret confession. Slowly, hesitantly at first, but then in a torrent as Marcus listened.

After he'd finished his story, Marcus had taken the last swig of his draft, nodded, looked at him, and given him the names of two people. One a private detective and the other a therapist.

So he'd called the therapist. Later, he might be able to call the private detective. But not yet.

Kurt smiled, thinking of the incongruity of Marcus, a stereotypically big, beefy guy with a shaved head and a pointed Vandyke beard, telling him about a therapist. Swigging that last drink of beer? Yeah, Marcus looked natural doing that. But Marcus would look decidedly out of place sitting here, in this room, surrounded by soft flute music and burning incense, waiting to talk to a therapist about his past.

The way Kurt was waiting now.

The door at the back of the waiting room opened, and a pink-faced woman walked in. She stopped a moment, stared at Kurt intently, then moved quickly through the waiting room and to the door to the outside, her arms wrapped tightly against her.

"Mr. Marlowe?"

Kurt turned his attention back to the doorway the woman had emerged from, now filled by a tall, lanky man with dirty-blond, shoulder-length hair.

Kurt stood. "Yeah."

"You ready?"

"Okay. Yeah, sure." Kurt walked across the waiting room. The lanky man waited for him to approach and held out his hand. "I'm Todd Michael Greene," he said. "Just call me Todd."

Kurt stood awkwardly for a moment, then shook hands. "I'm Kurt."

Todd backed into the darkened room, swept his arm as an invitation to enter. "Have a seat."

Kurt looked at the small couch. "Just sit?" he asked.

Todd smiled. "Lie down, if you like. I get that a lot."

Kurt moved to the sofa, sat, started tapping his foot on the floor again.

Todd moved to a small desk in the corner, opened a folder, and looked through it a few moments. While he read, Kurt scanned the office. Nothing expensive; not what he'd imagined. He'd expected heavy furnishings of burled walnut in dark tones. Instead, he saw particle-board shelving units holding several books. At least the books had the kinds of titles he'd expect, tomes about relationships and couples and depression. A couple thick books that seemed to be drug references.

Todd's desk was clean and neat, almost bare. A framed photo, turned away from Kurt, faced the office chair where Todd sat. Still reading.

"So Marcus recommended you?" Todd finally asked, keeping the folder at his desk open and looking at Kurt.

Kurt cast his eyes toward the floor. "Yeah."

"I've known Marcus for a long time. He's a good man."

"Yeah."

Todd smiled, pushed his way back from the desk, rolling on the chair's wheels. "We're off to a strong start."

Kurt looked up again. "Yeah." He returned the smile.

"Okay, you mind if I call you Kurt?"

"No. I mean, sure. Call me Kurt."

"You want a drink?" He rolled the chair over to a dorm-sized refrigerator on the floor. "Afraid I don't have anything harder than your basic Pepsi."

"Diet?" Kurt asked.

"Sure."

Todd retrieved a Diet Pepsi from the refrigerator, rolled back with it. "Ice?"

"No, no, that's good."

Todd rolled back a few feet without retreating behind the desk, and watched while Kurt took his first drink.

"Thanks," Kurt mumbled. He noticed his foot was tapping the hardwood floor a little too loudly and made himself stop.

"Nice gloves," Todd began.

Kurt looked at the driving gloves on his hands. "Yeah."

"Care to elaborate?"

"Driving gloves. Good for ... um ... driving."

Todd smiled. "But you're not driving right now."

"I guess not."

"You wear them all the time?"

"Pretty much."

"Why's that?"

Kurt shrugged again. "They make me feel better."

Todd nodded again. "Nothing wrong with that at all." He paused. "Tell me why you're here, Kurt."

"Well, like you said, because Marcus gave me your name."

"Okay. But more than that. You're here to talk, obviously. Maybe find some answers?"

"Yeah."

"So before we find the answers, we have to look at the questions."

"Okay." Kurt took a deep breath, raised the can of soda to his lips and drank again, then exhaled. "I ... uh ... don't know who I am."

Todd said nothing, so Kurt rushed to fill the silence. "I mean, beyond the last six months. I'm . . . I guess you could say I have amnesia."

Todd nodded thoughtfully, pushed himself up, and wrapped one leg under him. A casual pose in his OfficeMax chair. "Well, we'll just start by exploring that. Six months, you say?"

"Roughly. About the time I came to California, really."

"And where were you before?"

Kurt smiled grimly. "You tell me."

"So you have no memories before ..."

"Before truck driving school."

"What about your childhood? Where you grew up, went to school, that kind of thing?"

"Nothing."

"But you're able to form new memories."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, during your trucking school, for instance. You remember what you learned there without any problems, who you met."

"Oh. Sure."

Todd seemed to be considering a deep question. "I know it's crazy," Kurt said. "But that's why I'm here, huh?" He nervously took another sip of his Diet Pepsi. "Because I'm crazy."

"I'd like to send you to a friend-an MD-for some scans and other tests to start with, Kurt. But the answer to your question is: it's not crazy at all." He cleared his throat. "Most people have no idea who they are."

Forty 40.

Bright and early in the morning, Kurt opened his workshop. He'd been plagued by dreams during the night, dreams of his old sessions with Todd. Not nightmares, really, because the sessions with Todd had never been nightmarish. But uncomfortable. Thoughts of those sessions still made something inside him twist in fear, even after seven or eight years.

He shook off the dust of his dreams, concentrated instead on the locked door at the back of his workshop. Instantly the shoes began transmitting the catfish bathed in orange, but Kurt ignored the image. The shoes hadn't been properly amplified yet, hadn't been kept in storage to distill their message.

Instead he focused on a woman's thin wail emanating from a storage container on the bottom level. He slid away the four containers stacked on top of it, then removed the lid. The smell of mothballs assaulted his nostrils. Not uncommon with clothing picked up at estate sales; often the clothes were packed away in steamer trunks, sprinkled with ancient mothballs.

The wail sounded louder, unfiltered now. Kurt paused, as if gathering his energy, then began to dig through the carefully folded clothing, eventually coming to the silk dress he knew was the source of the wail.

He pulled the dress from the container, placed it carefully on a wall hook, took his time replacing the clothing in the receptacle, resealing it, and restacking the other containers on top.

All the while, the dress continued its lament, even as he gingerly picked it up, brought it into his main workshop, and set it down on a small folding table.

"Find my sister," the dress whispered inside his mind between sobs. "Just find her and let her know ... I'm ..." The voice haunting the silk dissolved into a series of sobs again and finally went quiet for a few moments.

This whispered pleading was what he typically heard from ghost clothing: voices in search of lost loves, families longing to be reunited.

Kurt didn't respond. Instead he closed his eyes, letting this heartache, this sorrow, fuel his new project. He was picturing an arm rising from the ground, bony fingers outstretched as it reached for a face.

Yes, that seemed to capture something of the sorrow inside this dress.

He'd been working on this image in his mind since first touching the dress, getting a sense of the loss inhabiting it, examining it from every angle.

Kurt kneeled to the concrete floor, took stock of the plates of iron stacked there, running his fingers along the rough-cut edges. He selected one large, flat piece and carried it to his workbench, then placed it in the vise and tightened the arm to hold it steady.

Satisfied, he retrieved his welding hood from a shelf above the workbench and fitted the band around his forehead, keeping the black mask tipped away from his face for now.

He turned to his left, opened the valve on the acetylene tank, heard the gas hiss as it raced through the tubing to the cutting tip. He picked up the igniter, held it to the torch, and sparked it. Immediately, blue flame leaped to life with a dull roar.

The dress, as if disturbed by the blue flame and black smoke erupting from his cutting torch, began its sobbing once again from behind him.

Kurt closed his eyes for a few seconds, gave his head a quick jerk to let the welder's hood drop over his face, and opened his eyes.

Somewhere inside his stack, a large piece of iron would become that outstretched arm. This particular piece, he felt, contained the face. He would cut the iron, reveal the true face inside, just as the screams behind him were cutting him.

Revealing his own true face inside.

Sixteen 16.

"You said it to me the first time you came here, Kurt. You're an amnesiac."

Kurt looked at the floor, wishing for a Diet Pepsi from Todd's fridge. Probably not the best time to ask for it. "Yeah," he said, sensing that Todd was waiting for an answer of some kind.

At his desk, Todd picked up his file folder, now thick with papers and reports from their several sessions together. "At first I would have said hysterical amnesia, but now I don't think so. You ever hear that term?"

"No."

"It's what we call people who have been through an overwhelming emotional trauma of some kind-something that's made them block out their past because they're afraid to confront it. There's no physical explanation for their amnesia, but there's a very real emotional explanation."

Kurt tapped his foot on the hard surface of the floor a few times. "But you said I'm not that."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Faces in the Fire by T.L. Hines Copyright © 2009 by T. L. Hines. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2010

    If you like to read Dekker, and if you are a fan of LOST...

    then you will love this book!

    Synopsis:

    Four lost souls on a collision course with either disaster or redemption. A random community of Faces in the Fire.

    Meet Kurt, a truck-driver-turned-sculptor with no memory of his past. Corinne, an e-mail spammer whose lymphoma isn't responding to treatment. Grace, a tattoo artist with an invented existence and a taste for heroin. And Stan, a reluctant hit man haunted by his terrifying gift for killing.

    They don't know each other, at least not yet. But something-or someone-is at work in the fabric of their lives, weaving them all together. A catfish, a series of numbers scribbled on a napkin, a devastating fire, and something mysterious. Something that could send them hurtling down the highway to disaster-or down the road to redemption. But they won't know which is which until they've managed to say yes to the whispers in their souls.

    Faces in the Fire starts off with Chapter 34 and jumps around from there. Chapter 1 is somewhere in the middle of the book. The book is in four parts with each part following a different character.

    The stories of four uncommon people - truck driver and sculptor with no memories beyond the past six months, a notorious spammer with terminal cancer, a tattoo artist/heroine addict, and a hit man with the world's most bizarre weapon - cross paths, guided by unexplained visions of catfish and seemingly random numbers (which also is the ISBN number). Remember, LOST was all about the numbers, too. T.L. Hines does an awesome job of keeping all in order.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A clever and bizarre story that made me think of the movie Memento

    Kurt is a sculptor with no memory of his past. He starts digging and discovers that he's miraculously healed from major body trauma. Doctors are baffled. And the private eye is spooked and tells him he should stop digging.

    There are four main characters, and each story comes into contact with another. Each person experiences a supernatural phenomenon, whether it's hearing or seeing ghosts, creating tattoos with prophetic messages, or killing with the touch of a finger. These four are all connected, but will their lives end in disaster or redemption?

    Wow. What a clever and bizarre story. It reminds me a bit of that movie Memento. In fact, someone should make this into a movie. It's got Oscar winner written all over it. It's a story that hooks you with a mystery, then tosses twists and turns so fast you almost can't catch them. Your brain is spinning to guess what might happen, how it all might tie together, and BAM! I totally didn't see that end coming. A very awesome adventure. My mind is still spinning. Nicely done, Mr. Hines.

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Where Lives Collide

    Four lost souls on a collision course with either disaster or redemption. A noir bizarre story with an extra helping of suspense, a hint of supernatural intrigue, and a story line as strange and beautiful as life itself.

    I admit I was a bit reluctant to pick up and read T.L. Hines, Faces in the Fire since I normally prefer non-fiction reads. But every now and then it is nice to sit down and get lost in an extraordinary story and forget about reality for a while. Let me tell you that Hines' Faces in the Fire is one of those kinds of extraordinary stories. I especially love this book for the fun journey following so-called random four main characters and the incredible way find themselves connecting with each other. I've never really been one to believe in plain or simple coincidences and this story, even though it fiction, is just another reason to prove that God has a purpose behind all the so-called random sequences and exchanges between people on this earth. I think Faces in the Fire would be a great way to get a reluctant older teen reader interested in reading too. This noir bizarre book is most appropriate for older teen to adult readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

    Wonderful Book!

    TL Hines - Faces in the fire

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It follows 4 people and is in 4 different segments. I was drawn into each story. Each of their lives is heading down the wrong path and each intertwined story helps them search and find the right path to follow that will be best for them. It was a great read and I have and will continue to recomend it to others.

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  • Posted September 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Faces in the Fire by T.L. Hines

    The quote on the back of the book by Publishers Weekly in describing the author T.L. Hines states "Hines dialogue is darkly funny as he explores the depths o the humans desire for authenticity..Fans of breathless suspense that's a little off center will enjoy" is very similar to my thoughts of this book. Personally, it is a lot darker book than that of what I usually read. However, the suspense did keep me desiring to read it as I quickly finished it in 2-3 days.

    The story is about 4 intertwined characters who each have a major setback in life ranging from amnesia, cancer, drug use, and assassin. The book is set up in 4 distinct "stanzas" in which each character's story unfolds. As you read through each stanza you begin to see how the unknowingly intertwined characters are involved with each other.
    As the plot (or lack thereof) unfolds I have to honestly admit that it was a struggle to get through the last few chapters. The falling action and resolution are not very strong and as a matter of fact took me the longest to get through.
    I would recommend it to someone else (as long as they were over 16) but would not go out of my way to recommend it to others.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Faces In The Fire - A Shocker of an Ending

    T.L. Hines weaves an unusual story in Faces in the Fire -- a story of four people who know nothing about each other but have everything in common. A disjointed story where the chapters come out of sequence and somehow the ending is the beginning. Or the beginning is the ending. Either way, the ending is a shocker, totally unexpected and unforeseen.

    * * * SPOILER ALERT * * *

    It was somehow oddly appropriate that I finished reading this book on September 10, after struggling through the first half of the book for some two weeks -- much longer than it ever takes me to read a book.

    As Hines guides the reader through a scattered story where things happen out of order but somehow still have a sense of flow, we get to know four people: Kurt, Corinne, Grace, and -- in the end -- Stan. We learn of the quirks these characters all have that make them feel like bottom feeders -- like catfish.

    In the end, we learn of Stan, a contract killer working for an organization that holds him captive in his career by threatening harm to his mother if he steps out of line. But as Stan is caught in the act by Grace, who saves the life of his intended victim, Stan fails for the first time, and is sent by the organization on an unexpected mission -- a mission that requires him to fly across country on Flight 93. On September 11. 2001.

    Stan -- traveling under the alias of Kurt Marlowe -- finds himself as one of the heroes aboard Flight 93 as it is forced down in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on 9/11/2001. The same Kurt Marlowe who opens our story, having survived a fiery crash that has wiped out his memory. The fiery crash of Flight 93, though he doesn't have any memory of it -- or of who he really is.

    * * * END OF SPOILERS * * *

    Faces in the Fire started as a somewhat difficult book to read, but as the story progressed, and I got into the rhythm of the jumbled timeline, I found myself finding it more and more difficult to put the book down. And when I came across the surprise ending -- well, I was floored.

    I have to recommend this book, but you have to commit yourself to get through the first half, no matter what. The second half will make it well worth it.

    Jeff Cole is an author, blogger, podcaster, and a member of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program. http://brb.thomasnelson.com

    http://www.averagejoeamerican.us

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  • Posted September 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome book!

    This morning I finished Face in the Fire by T.L. Hines. It's my first book by this author but if this book is any indication of how he write is definitely won't be my last.

    The book follows four individuals through almost four separate stories and how their lives intertwine. The book genre is different from the normal book I'd pick up but I'm so glad I did. The narrative format of the book is unique and if not done right would have been horrid but this is done right. The random chapter numbering drove me nuts at first (it's my "need for order" issue) but I quickly "got it" and it works.
    Seriously, this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I was entertained, I wanted to see what happened next, I couldn't wait to finish the book but in a good way - I wanted to see what happened. To be honest, I can often tell you what's going to happen in a book after the first few chapters. It wasn't until the end of this book (last couple chapters) that I finally got the whole thing - which was good.

    They book is described as suspense - I don't know that I'd necessarily classify it that way but I can see that.

    In all honestly, I can't say enough about how great this book was. I'll definitely be recommending it to friends.

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  • Posted August 30, 2009

    I Loved it

    When I first started the book, I thought it was just a story about a quirky character who heard voices of the dead. I didn't expect the eloquent weaving of stories that would eventually reach a surprising and dramatic end.

    The characters are richly and thoroughly developed. The chapters are oddly numbered out of order and starting with chapter 34. As the story unfolds and the other characters take a turn at telling their stories, it all makes perfect sense. If I had I read about each of them in another book, I may have had little sympathy for any of them, but the way the author brings together their lives and their desire for redemption made me see something special in them.

    The book is listed as Fiction/Christian/Suspense. If you are expecting a Christian book that clearly spells out a salvation message, you will be disappointed, but if you want a richly written character driven novel with the subtle message of redemption, you will enjoy this interesting and remarkable book. If you are the type of person that avoids Christian lit, I think you will be very surprised by this one. I highly recommend Faces in the Fire.

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  • Posted August 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Faces in the fire by T.L Hines

    How do I begin to describe this book? It is an amazing book that's fast-paced and keeps you turning the pages! One of the cool things I noted (It's kind of hard to miss) is that the chapters are not in chronological order, but the story still makes sense! Four people who have a supernatural gift and a ten digit number that powers them at one point or another during the story. The characters touch each others lives.

    I loved how during a chapter you would see through different characters eyes, and see their story! It was truly amazing how it all came together in the end! I was not expecting it at all! This book is dark and suspenseful and fantastic all at once! It's a must read easily!

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    Gripping Read

    Faces in the Fire (published by Thomas Nelson) was my introduction to the work of T.L. Hines. The book pulled me in immediately, but it took me a few chapters to realize that they, the chapters, were all mixed up, disjointed, and set within stanzas that served to separate the stories within the story. I also noticed the shadows of handwritten titles and chapter numbers behind the printed ones. That in itself was intriguing, and although this is a fiction suspense thriller, described as "noir bizarre," I found myself underlining character quotes, phrases, symbols, names, and other bits of information-trying to put pieces of the puzzle together. I finished the book a few days ago, but it continues to haunt me.

    "Sometimes as humans, we need to move backwards before we can move forward."

    Faces in the Fire revolves around 4 characters. Kurt is the truck driver/sculptor who can't remember his past but is haunted by ghosts. Corinne is the e-mail spammer diagnosed with lymphoma who embraces the basement of her past. Grace is the tattoo artist/heroin addict running from her past, and Stan is the hit man who is a prisoner of his past.

    In a sense, the book reminded me a little of the concept of 6 degrees of separation. The lives of major and even minor characters are "coincidentally" intertwined through their attempts to find some sense of identity and significance. Threads of numbers, catfish, ghosts, shoes, locked doors, fire, human and supernatural touch and voices run throughout.

    This is an easy read and will appeal to anyone who wants to sit on the edge of their seat, continually turn just one more page, and be surprised in the end. It's a great, yet weird, story with loose ends attached--much like our own lives, often disjointed and frayed at the edges, with shadows of the past that we can choose to embrace or overcome in time.

    I saw hope, redemption, and freedom for those facing the fires of life, those who have been burned, and even "bottom feeders" when grace knocks on the door and is invited in. We can find our true face, and old things can indeed become new.

    I recommend this book and will likely read it again.

    Member of Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger Program
    http://brb.thomasnelson.com/

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  • Posted August 14, 2009

    Lee Fink - Thomas Nelson Book Review: Faces in the Fire

    Faces in the Fire follows four people heading down a bad path. Kurt is a truck driver unaware of his past with many inner demons. Corinne is an internet email spammer that has recently been diagnosed with an incurable caner. Grace is a tattoo artist that left her family many years before, and is addicted to heroin. And Stan is a hit man that hates his job and his ability to kill people.
    These four people's lives are intertwined because of a catfish and a series of numbers. These two things are very significant throughout the story.
    The story is interesting, but sometimes predictable.

    The book is split into four separate sections, a different section for each character. My favorite sections were Kurt's and Corinne's.
    The book also features a question list that can be used if you are reading this in a book club.

    Even with the gritty characters, the book is relatively clean. This is another reason that it may be good to read during your book club meetings.

    Overall I would say this is a good book, and a quick read if you read large portions at each sitting. It kept me interested from the first chapter. My only problem was that for some people, it may be a bit confusing. Instead of starting from chapter one and moving forward, it skips around between the past and present. If you don't pay attention to the chapter numbers, you may become lost.

    If you want an interesting book to read, check out Faces in the Fire. I wasn't disappointed.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Faces in the Fire by T. l. Hines Thomas Nelson Publisher Reviewed by Heather Goldsmith

    Faces in the Fire follows the lives of four characters on a journey of self-discovery. Kurt, Corrine, Grace and Stan are flawed human beings with dark pasts and less than bright futures. Through unseen forces, a catfish, and numbers scribbled on a napkin, their lives intersect and intertwine. As the story of their lives unfolds, each if faced with the choice to continue down the path of destruction or take the road to redemption.

    Author T. L. Hines weaves an intricate and suspenseful story. At times, I did find his shifts between each character's past and present to be frustratingly short and choppy. But despite this small fault in composition, the story is excellently written. Emotionally charged, Faces in the Fire is one of those books that grabs you and holds you to the end. I cringed at each character's missteps and cheered their development. I thoroughly enjoyed Faces in the Fire and recommend it without reservation.


    (I am a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program. Besides receiving a free copy of the book to review, I have not been financially compensated in any way. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. To learn more about Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program, please visit the following link: http://brb.thomas nelson.com)

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a haunting thriller

    Truck driver Kurt Marlowe goes to estate sales to buy the clothing of dead people. Kurt has a special paranormal talent as clothing communicates with him, which leads to him creating metal sculptures from the images the clothing transmit to him.

    Kurt has no memory of his past so he is pleased to meet lymphoma sufferer Corrine who has a catfish tattoo that was given to her by Grace who has a tie to Stan the assassin. These four begin to interact with one another while dealing with a set of numbers on a napkin that make no sense to any of them, but keeps reappearing. Together they may break this code; separately the code will break them.

    Character driven by the unlikable quartet, FACES IN THE FIRE is a haunting thriller as readers (and the foursome) wonder what is gong on and what next until the climax brings everything together; sort of. In many ways the story line feels like a surreal mystery that though in content different kept reminding me of the movie The Cube. Fans who prefer something radically different but refreshingly unique will relish reading T.L Hines' novels like THE UNSEEN and his latest psychological perhaps even supernatural thriller.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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