Archives For Sibella Giorello

My obsession with crime solvers started early. At age ten, I was hooked on Trixie Belden. Eventually I moved on to other amateur sleuths—Nancy Drew, Vickie Barr (stewardess), Cherry Ames (nurse). Then I discovered the professionals. By age fifteen, I was the only girl I knew reading police procedurals and detective novels. A host of broody, conflicted, not-happy-unless-I’m-working crime solvers became my book heroes.

So I was predisposed to love Raleigh Harmon, the focus of five books by Sibella Giorello.

Raleigh is an FBI Special Agent, who tends to take risks, defy procedure, and operate outside the bounds of protocol. In this most recent adventure, she’s investigating Mob activities at a Seattle race track. And since she’s been in trouble one time too many, she has to close this case by end of race season or her career is over.

Raleigh is a tough-on-the-outside professional. But she can’t stop her heart from breaking for the people in her life. Whether it’s her mentally-broken institutionalized mother, the quirky clients she has promised to protect, or the good man who wants to marry her—but suspects she doesn’t love him enough to settle down.

Raleigh is also a forensic geologist. She solves her cases by interpreting evidence found in the Earth. I love this because it shapes my favorite metaphor for understanding folks like Raleigh.

Raleigh is a believer, and I picture her faith as a tender green shoot fighting for purchase in rocky soil. Just when you think the job stresses, personal betrayals, and inner turmoil have piled up enough to choke it out, a bud appears. And before you know it, that once-fragile faith is in full bloom.

If you’ve never tried this genre before, you should. You and Raleigh have things in common. Oh, you may not be trained to go up against the Mob or consider a Glock a girl’s best friend. But I bet you’ve been misunderstood by the people you love. Or failed in front of your peers. Or floundered under a heartache so heavy that no one can bear the load but God. If so, then you can relate to what Raleigh learns in this story . . .

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end. Because I am God, your personal God. I paid a huge price for you. That’s how much you mean to me!” ~from Isaiah 43, The Message~

Other reasons you’ll enjoy this book: Two great secondary characters.

  • First, eighty-four-year-old Eleanor Anderson, the spunky race horse owner, who delivers quotes from various playwrights like they were “philosophical bombs” and has a soft spot for Raleigh.
  • Second, Raleigh’s irrepressible case agent Jack Stephanson. Here’s a description of Jack: “His body had the sculpted musculature of an anatomy chart, and his chiseled face framed bright eyes that could shift from green to blue and back again.” He was “basically a Ken doll with a concealed gun permit.” And somehow Jack is the one who anticipates what Raleigh needs and is always there to pick her up when she falls . . . Sounds promising, right?

You can purchase the book at this link. ***Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy for me to review.

About the author: Sibella Giorello grew up in the mountains of Alaska admiring the beauty and nature that surrounded her. She majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts hoping to learn more about the landscape she loved back home. From there Sibella followed a winding path, much like the motorcycle ride she took across the country, which led to her true love, journalism.

In Virginia, Sibella became a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It was there she also met her husband and would hear Jesus whispering her name at a tent revival.

Sibella started writing about Raleigh Harmon as a way to keep her love of story-telling alive while staying at home with her young sons. As a journalist and author, her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. The Stones Cry Out, the first Raleigh Harmon novel, won a Christy award for debut novel in 2008. Sibella now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons.

You can connect with Sibella at her website.

Or follow Sibella’s Facebook page.

Continue reading to enter the GIVEAWAY: Continue Reading…

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas Pearls of Wisdom from some of today’s most beloved writers as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched lives during this most wonderful time of the year.

Advent
By Sibella Giorello

Consider the bride’s walk down the aisle. We all know where that woman in white is going, but somehow waiting for her to arrive at the altar is an essential part of the ceremony. In fact, the waiting is so essential that even cheapskate Vegas chapels include wedding marches.

Why? Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.

At Christmas time, we tend to forget this essential truth about anticipation. We’re lost to shopping malls and checklists, rushing toward December 25th so quickly that we forget the quiet joy of the month’s other 24 days. And then we wonder why we feel so empty on the 26th, amid ribbons and wrapping paper and our best intentions.

Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.

And that is why Advent is so important to Christmas.

I’m as guilty as the next harried person. This Advent was particularly tricky because just six hours before it started, I was still trying to finish a 110,000-word novel that was written over the course of the year—written while homeschooling my kids, keeping my hubby happy, and generally making sure the house didn’t fall down around us.

It’s an understatement to say my free time is limited. But waiting adds meaning, and Advent is crucial to Christmas, so I’ve devised several Advent traditions that are simple, powerful and easy to keep even amid the seasonal rush.

When my kids outgrew simple Advent calendars around age 7, I stole an idea from my writer friend Shelly Ngo (as T.S. Eliot said, “Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal.” Indulge me.)

Here’s how it goes: Find 24 great Christmas books, wrap them individually and place then under the tree. On the first day of Advent, take turns picking which book to open. When we did this, we would cuddle under a blanket and read aloud—oh, the wonder, the magic! We savored The Polar Express, howled with How Murray Saved Christmas, and fell silent at the end of The Tale of The Three Trees. Continue Reading…

Not only did the latest installment of my favorite mystery series teach me what a phillumenist is (I’ll wait while you look it up), it also spurred me to rearrange my destination wish list (for all those “someday” trips) by bumping an Alaskan cruise up to 4th place. (Israel’s still number one.) Plus the story provided a grand adventure with an exciting climax!

However, when I first read that beleaguered FBI Specialist Raleigh Harmon would be working her latest case with handsome nemesis Jack Stephanson while fiance DeMott Fielding stayed home, I thought the author was stringing me along. A main character torn between two men entices readers to keep turning pages and begging for sequels.

In this case, Jack Stephanson was exactly what Raleigh Harmon needed. He added humor and a sizzle of romance to the story. But even more than that, for the first time I felt that Raleigh had found someone who truly understood her—which proved to be a powerful development in the life of this beloved character. (I shouldn’t have doubted you, Sibella!)

With Jack at her side, Raleigh is able to navigate the colorful cast of characters (the Dutchman, the Ninja, Claire the Clairvoyant) and strip away the Hollywood glitz to discern between what’s an illusion and what’s real. Which for geologist Raleigh, always comes back to earth’s bedrock.

And I loved the scene where she ponders her father’s words that there is something–or Someone–even more sure than the earth’s constants.

“My dad felt compelled to remind me that it would all disappear. Every rock, every hill, each stitch of order. One day the oceans would rise and the mountains bow down, and every last speck of cherished earth would be forced to recognize true power and true majesty . . .

Pulling the blanket over my head, I realized the most stunning part of all. The same God who created these breathtaking landscapes listened to me now.”

What a timely reminder that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46)

This book was a real treat. I almost wish I hadn’t finished it in one day! Follow this link to grab a copy and see how long you can make it last.

Need more details? Here’s the book blurb: FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon boards a cruise to Alaska hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance. But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh’s vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship’s security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh’s forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere on board, a ruthless murderer walks free. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder while providing consultation for a movie filming on board.

Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family. Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a situation so steep and so complex that even the mountains might bow down.

**Thanks to the wonderful Litfuse PR firm, I received a copy of this novel for free in exchange for my honest opinion. Continue Reading…

I’ve always been drawn to a well-written mystery or detective novel. Some of my favorite protagonists have been quirky, angst-ridden men and women detectives who delved into the seedy side of life to save those who couldn’t save themselves. However, these intense characters usually ended up in stories that were too graphic, and often too hopeless, for me to follow to their inevitable outcomes.

After a while, I realized the view of life presented in these stories was oppressing my sense of optimism. And I found myself wishing the detective/protagonist had more to offer the sad folks in the books. Eventually, I began to loath entering those story worlds and reading the “realistic” portrayal of down-and-out folks who were wasting their lives on transitory things. I’d imagine how the story would be transformed if the author presented her characters with the hope of a better life to come and approached her novel from an eternal perspective.

Then I discovered the world of Raleigh Harmon as created by Sibella Giorello. Sibella’s books have all the elements I love in great contemporary detective literature–tight writing, clever dialogue, great plot twists, eccentric characters, intense protagonists wrestling with inner demons. But Sibella’s story world has something to offer that the others don’t: a biblical world view. These suspense novels ring more true for me than any others. Because I truly believe that only through Christ can you view the flawed humans and misery of the world around you exactly as they are and still have hope!

Who is Raleigh Harmon? Here’s the blurb about her from the back of the book: She’s a forensic geologist who returns home for Christmas but discovers that Richmond, Virginia, is running low on goodness and light!

Although her exemplary service in Seattle lifted her disciplinary transfer, Raleigh lands a hometown civil rights case riddled with problems that could get her sent away again. When she helps out a fellow cop, her life goes on the line, forcing her undercover in a sting operation. As Raleigh realizes the lines are crossing and double-crossing, her domestic life starts to unravel. Her mother’s mental health cracks like ice, her closest friend grows cold, and her old boyfriend DeMott comes a-calling, hoping for more than chestnuts by an open fire.

While the city glows with Christmas lights and carols, Raleigh is forced to rely on her sharpest skills to stay alive, hoping for that one clear moment when everything makes sense and the clouds roll away.

If you’re a lover of detective novels and police procedurals and the gritty world in which the men and women featured in them thrive, this suspense-filled novel is for you! It’s fast-paced and sure to entertain with its well-drawn characters and clever plot twists. And the subtle spiritual themes give it depth and hope. Follow this link to purchase a copy of the book for yourself.

About the Author: Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons. Find out more about Sibella and her other books at this link to her website.

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!

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One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com

To enter simply click on one of the icons below! Then tell your friends! Winner will be announced January 3, 2011 on Sibella’s blog: http://sibellagiorello.blogspot.com/.