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Power in the Blood

Power in the Blood

3.8 11
by Michael Lister

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In a mystery book market saturated with stories of gruesome serial killers devoid of morality and shady investigators whose questionable tactics make them difficult heroes, Power in the Blood by Michael Lister offers a more spiritual view of social ills and acknowledges that, behind every despicable act, there is always room for forgiveness and redemption.


In a mystery book market saturated with stories of gruesome serial killers devoid of morality and shady investigators whose questionable tactics make them difficult heroes, Power in the Blood by Michael Lister offers a more spiritual view of social ills and acknowledges that, behind every despicable act, there is always room for forgiveness and redemption.

In this debut novel Lister, a prison chaplain, introduces John Jordan, chaplain of a prison in the Florida Panhandle, who witnesses the bloody death of Potter Correctional Institution inmate Ike Johnson. Jordan discovers that in the closed society of captives and captors no action goes unseen, and no one takes kindly to a cop in a collar. He soon finds his reputation, his career, and even his life are at stake.

"While writing Power in the Blood , I attempted to present Chaplain Jordan as a person who is in many ways quite ordinary despite being a man of the cloth. Like everyone else, Jordan attempts to find romance, deals with the demands of work on a daily basis, and struggles with his faith," said Michael Lister. "Despite the extraordinary violence that he must face and the misdeeds of fallen souls he endures, Jordan manages to pursue the investigation with honesty and grace. I think that makes him an unusual hero in today's mystery market." By offering up the sacred as well as the profane, Power in the Blood is sure to please both mystery readers and general fiction enthusiasts.

Michael Lister was a chaplain with the Florida Department of Corrections from 1993 to 2000. During his tenure at Gulf Correctional, Lister earned these words of praise from his warden, "Chaplain Lister's un prejudiced concern for the welfare of staff as well as inmates has brought a spiritual soothing to both populations at this institution. He is an exceptionally gifted teacher, truly an angel, a shepherd to all."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
John Jordan, an ex-cop, onetime minister of a prosperous church and recovering alcoholic, is now chaplain at a Florida state prison. Investigating the murder of an inmate during a faked escape attempt, Jordan encounters prison intrigues and personal temptations. While working with his former father-in-law, a corrections department inspector who hates him, Jordan maintains a frustratingly platonic relationship with a prison manager, sexy Anna Rodden, and harbors impure thoughts about his Fed-Ex delivery driver, Laura. He also fears that he may have AIDS because of exposure to the blood of a wounded HIV-positive inmate. The investigation suggests that a sadistic guard may be smuggling cons out to town for some illegal purpose. The action picks up when a local banker with a prison connection is murdered. A second prisoner is killed, and so is a prisoner's wife. Although Lister, a real-life prison chaplain who knows his turf, delivers gritty portrayals of inmates and prison workers, his first novel turns preachy, and readers drawn to the hard-boiled plot and setting may find the sermons stilted. At least he's morally honest: he offers redemption for his convicts but little false hope of correction for most of them. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
After witnessing the death of an inmate allegedly trying to escape, Florida prison chaplain John Jordan works with state prison inspector Tom Daniels, a man who despises him, to find out what really happened. With help from a few alliesstunning classification officer Anna Rodden, best friend and black guard Merrill Monroe, and clever nurse StricklandJordan struggles to overcome threatening letters, officer corruption, drug trafficking, illicit sexual activity, and his own alcoholism and depression. Awkward moments and lack of finesse sometimes hinder the flow, but overall this is a promising first novel.
Kirkus Reviews
Born into an alcoholic family, long broken with his mother over her drinking and with his sheriff father over his decision to leave law enforcement for the clergy, hounded out of his parish and his marriage by accusations of sexual misconduct—Rev. John Jordan ("JJ") feels he can't have very far to fall from the trailer he calls home and the prison he calls work. But his ministry at the Potter Correctional Institution goes into crisis when he sees inmate Ike Johnson stabbed to death by a panicky correctional officer who goes on to spray Johnson's AIDS-ridden blood all over JJ. While he's waiting to find out if he's infected, JJ is bullied into joining Inspector General Tom Daniels, who just happens to be his ex-wife's choleric father, in finding out who put Johnson's drugged body out with the trash. What else can go wrong? Well, bank president Russ Maddox, the uncle of JJ's new romantic interest, can be murdered under circumstances that link him directly to Ike Johnson; a rogue prison official can put a price on JJ's head; and a fresh accusation of rape can return him to the nightmarish past he's never lived down.

Enough tribulation for you, maybe, but not for JJ, who turns cheek after cheek rather than taking revenge on his tormenters or even turning evidence against them over to the authorities. The result is a first novel that takes a uniquely uncompromising view of grace, though readers less saintly than the hero will burn with impatience at his sempiternal suffering.

Booklist Booklist
John "J.J." Jordan was a cop who hit bottom (too much booze and violence) and then decided to become a man of God. But a cleric’s collar doesn’t shield him from the seedier side when he finds himself as the prison chaplain of Potter Correctional Institution. His past life creeps even closer when he is coerced into investigating the bloody death of an inmate, a death he witnessed. Things seem to be picking up a bit when he meets Laura, an overnight delivery girl, who apparently has
Publisher's Weekly
"Lister, a real-life prison chaplain who knows his turf, delivers gritty portrayals of inmates and prison workers." —Publisher’s Weekly

Product Details

Pulpwood Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)

Meet the Author

A native Floridian, award-winning novelist, Michael Lister, grew up in North Florida near the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola River, beneath slash pines and Spanish moss draped oak limbs, in a small town world famous for tupelo honey.

Truly a regional writer, his canvas is not a central, major city (there are none in North Florida), but a region—small towns (THUNDER BEACH), river swamps (DOUBLE EXPOSURE), massive prisons in rural areas (THE BODY AND THE BLOOD).

Captivated by story since childhood, Michael has a love for language and narrative inspired by the Southern storytelling tradition that captured his imagination and became such a source of meaning and inspiration, he pursued and received undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology with an emphasis on myth and narrative within religion.

In the early 90s, Lister became the youngest chaplain within the Florida Department of Corrections. For nearly a decade, he served as a contract, staff, then senior chaplain at three different facilities in the Panhandle of Florida—a unique experience that led to his first novel, 1997’s critically acclaimed, POWER IN THE BLOOD. It was the first in a series of popular and celebrated novels featuring ex-cop turned prison chaplain, John Jordan. Subsequent books in the series include BLOOD OF THE LAMB, FLESH AND BLOOD, and THE BODY AND THE BLOOD, and each takes readers through the electronically locked gates of the chain-link fences, beneath the looping razor wire glinting in the sun, and into the strange world of Potter Correctional Institution, Florida’s toughest maximum security prison.

Michael Lister won a Florida Book Award for his first literary novel, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, a book, according to the Panama City News Herald, that “is lyrical and literary, written in a sparse but evocative prose reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy.” It is a contemplation of life and death, art and meaning, set deep in the swamps of the Apalachicola River, a thriller about a wildlife photographer whose camera traps capture a crime, that shows the beauty and danger of the Panhandle paradise.

A committed environmentalist, Michael works to protect the area he so loves, setting up the Mother Earth Fund (named after a character from DOUBLE EXPOSURE) for environmental conservation and education and serving on the board of directors of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper.

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Power In The Blood 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
I enjoyed this book although parts of it are disturbing. After the story got started well, I had a hard time putting it down. Want to read more of this series.
Anonymous 20 hours ago
Well written
Anonymous 2 days ago
Interesting and exciting. Only recommendation i would have is to name the characters differently. It was confusing in the beginning beccause the names were too similar.
Anonymous 7 days ago
Well-written story, intense and probably realistic but very dark. Not for the faint-hearted.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Too much religion for my taste. Not great writing or character discription. Go ahead and skip this one.
BN_Customer More than 1 year ago
Man I wish I had discovered Michael Lister sooner! What a great, great writer! I’ve quickly fallen in love with all his books, but the John Jordan mysteries are my favorite. POWER IN THE BLOOD is a wonderful introduction to this unique detective and extraordinary man. John is such a good guy, works so hard to do the right thing. I just love him. I was late coming to the party, but I’m here now and I’m not going anywhere. Sign me up for the full ride.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Charlene More than 1 year ago
Great Book , Must Read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
272 pages. Well written. Smooth flow. Gets pretty violent. Some profanity. About prison and a prison chaplain. Some religion. Nothing heavy. More for men. Some parts wete disturbing for me. AdultsAD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good...