Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Buckle up for intrigue and adventure in scenic Depression-era America. George Hall, a draftsman, buys a 1936 Packard sedan from the estate of spinster Abigale Watling in Oakwood, Illinois. At first, the car brings George, his wife Jean, and their daughter Rose an unexpected boon. But tragedy follows when Rose is kidnapped. The auto then comes into the possession of salesman William Landers, FBI agent Helen Meeker, and serviceman James Coffman’s family. As clues to the kidnapping caper come to light, more than one life is in jeopardy. Will Agent Meeker catch the culprit before it’s too late?

It just seems like two months ago that I was nose-deep into a new Ace Collins book (so maybe it was more than two months, but who’s counting).  Today, excitedly so, I get to tell you about another book that he has published.  There is another one that I saw on the bookshelves just this past weekend called “The Christmas Star”, so we are definitely getting our fulfillment of Ace here at the end of the year!

Cursed, Possessed, Nothing but Trouble!  These are just a few of the terms used to describe this beautiful 1936 Packard.  The fact that it was Canary Yellow didn’t help it go unnoticed either.  George Hall is a proud new papa, so proud that he couldn’t stand to think of taking his new princess home in his dilapidated old car.  At a local auction he sees the Packard and knows that it’s the perfect car for his family.  Undeterred with all of the negative talk surrounding the car with those at the auction, George winds up being the high bidder for the car.  A close collision with the car and a runaway dump truck puts George and his family on the road to the high life, so there can’t be any truth to these rumors of the car.  George is riding high with a promotion, his wife has just bought a floral shop and then the unthinkable happens.  Their daughter is kidnapped!  And so begins a wild ride with this Packard.  FBI Agent Helen Meeker is hot on the trail of the car and the kidnappers.  From the aluminum salesman who bought the car and saw his job prospects increase tenfold, to the airplane pilot with a daughter with an inoperable brain tumor who saves the life of a doctor who just so happens to be able to operate on his daughter.  The car seems to run from good to bad and back again.  What do all of these people have to do with the car?  Will George and his wife ever find their daughter?  What secret is Agent Helen Meeker keeping and will she ever find a resolution?  Good luck getting those answers out of me or Ace, READ THE BOOK!

The thread that Ace has woven through this entire book is astonishing.  For someone as simple as me, it’s sometime difficult to remember what letter comes after “N” if I haven’t sung the whole song first.  Ace, though, can throw these characters together in such a way that you believe in them, you follow their every step because you don’t want anything bad to happen.  As each individual or couple interacts with this car, he brings into play scenarios that not only are realistic, but help with the overall plot of the story.  There seem to be several mini-stories within this whole book and each of them is as exciting as the whole.  I will readily admit that I’m more interested in books in the current era, but this book would not have been the same if it had been written that way.  Having this set in the late 30’s and early 40’s made this story pop!

So is this a "man's book"?  This book has cars, intrigue, police chases, airplane wrecks and more.  This book would be on my list of “must be read” by anybody, not just men!

I got a special chance to ask Ace some questions so that we can get to know him a little better!

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Matthew 25:35-40. It is really what I try to embrace as the theme for my life. If we just live these few verses we have taken our salvation to another level and become more like Christ. Also, if you live these five verses you have a much better chance to truly finding your true calling.
What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
Well, in truth, the readers must be entertained. If you don’t entertain the reader then you have lost your chance to really make an impact in other ways. Past the entertainment part, my characters struggle with finding callings. They are not strong, they have their doubts and fear, and thus I feel that readers will identify with them in a way that they would identify with a friend. When the reader is finished with the book, I hope they have an urge to look around and find someone who needs to be lifted up. I also hope they realize that the “least of these” are not just in developing nations, but are really all around us.
Besides writing, what are some of your favorite hobbies? 
I restore and drive pre World War II cars. I currently have two Indiana built autos; 1934 Auburn 652Y and 1936 Cord 810 Westchester. I love all kinds of college sports and am even the play-by-play voice of Ouachita Tiger basketball. And I love to run sprints. I try to do a mile of 110 yard uphill sprints five days a week. Finally I am a classic film nut who loves most movies from the major studios in the 1930s.
What advice would you give to a beginning writer?
The best way to get better is to keep writing and work with editors who aren't afraid to be tough on you. That is how you grow.  And get used to rejection while never giving up on what you know is a great idea. My bestselling book was rejected 27 times over a decade before finding an editor willing to take a chance on it. 
Favorite memory from childhood?
Every Christmas at my Grandparents' house on Shell's Hill in Salem, Arkansas. 
Favorite comfort food?
Peanut Butter, it should be at the top of everyone food pyramid.


Ace Collins has authored more than sixty titles in the past two and half decades. Zondervan launched Ace's career in fiction, releasing two books in 2009 and another two in 2010. Ace has won numerous awards for his writing including three Golden Quills, an America's Writing Award, and the Angel of Excellence Award. He has written for a wide variety of publishers including St. Martin's Press, Viking-Penguin, Putnam, Harper-Collins, Thomas Nelson, Word, Zondervan, and the Chicago Review Press. In the course of his writing, he has also penned more than 2,000 magazine features for the likes of People, Us, Texas Monthly, Plus Magazine, and Guideposts. He has made scores of television guest appearances including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox and Friends, The NBC Nightly News, and Entertainment Tonight. Two of his books have been made into network TV specials.

Ace has always been a car lover, he has owned several Mustangs, including a 65 Fastback that he still drives, as well as cars from the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. On the right at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum, Ace is shown with a famous SJ Desenberg. The oldest car he has ever owned and driven is a 1917 Model T Speedster.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

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