"That Uncertain Country Where Faith and Science Collide"

A Chapter 16 contributing writer is one step closer to publishing a novel

by Margaret Renkl

April 18, 2012 Chris Scott, who has written book reviews and conducted author interviews for Chapter 16 since the site was launched in 2009, and who reviewed books for the Nashville Scene for years before that, is also both a geologist by day and an aspiring novelist by night (and by weekends, and by vacation days). The book Scott has recently finished revising, Written in Stone, is a novel of suspense that combines the science he conducts by day and the writing he does by night. It is also a quarterfinalist for the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Five thousand novels in the general-fiction category were entered in the Amazon contest; 250 made the quarterfinals which means Written in Stone has already beaten ninety-five percent of the competition. "Excellent," one of the (anonymous) judges wrote about Scott's sample chapters. "It left me wanting to read further, which is high praise. The author not only has an interesting story to tell with good characters, but there is a great flow to the story with good descriptions and great, realistic dialogue." A second reviewer concurred: "Great work. Piqued my interest. The first chapter was very intriguing. Lots of unanswered, interesting questions. The second chapter sets up some future chapters of interest."

Sample chapters from the quarterfinalists are available as free downloads for a Kindle or Kindle-enabled device (computer, tablet, or cell phone), and at this writing, Scott's chapters were the twenty-seventh most popular downloads in the contest. To read them and perhaps even post a brief review, click here. At Chapter 16, we'd be thrilled to see one of our own receive the recognition he deserves.

In the meantime, here's the full book description posted at Amazon:

A piece of toast bears the likeness of Jesus. A cloud formation spells out "Allah." Most people call such things coincidences. But in our Internet-driven, fanatical age, these phenomena increasingly become objects of veneration, miraculous proof of God's presence in the world. In Written in Stone, a novel of suspense, the question of miracle or coincidence is raised when a young man finds an odds-defying rock. The rock creates a media sensation and leads four people into the wilderness of South Dakota, where death can come quickly, naturally or otherwise. Brad Phillips is a geology graduate student mapping a section of the Black Hills when he stumbles across a piece of rock known to geologists as graphic granite, its crystals spelling out a provocative Bible verse in ancient Aramaic. The rock reconnects Brad with his dead parents and reignites his spiritual side. His best friend, Elwood Hobart, an ambitious archaeology student, sees fame and fortune in the rock's startling implications. Gerald DePaul, who stalks and murders atheists with the skill of a lion, believes the rock is his reward for eliminating God's enemies. Rookie detective Mary Kalinski, hunting her first serial killer, is disturbed by the presence of too many coincidences in the case. Over six days, from rural Michigan to Chicago to Rapid City, the four are driven by their passions to a final confrontation governed by rules none of them understands in a place stripped of technology and exposed to nature's fury. Written in Stone will tempt anyone who loves tales of suspense or who has wondered about that uncertain country where faith and science collide.

Published Wednesday, 18 April 2012