(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Newpointe 911 is a series of five mysteries based on the trials and tribulation of a group of firefighters and their families, friends, and neighbors in Newpointe, Louisiana. The books have the main characters solve mysterious deaths and other crimes while maintaining a Christian perspective on the evils of humankind and keeping in mind God’s plan for every person. The series has its share of crime and violence, ranging from a serial killer in Newpointe who is stalking the wives of firefighters to a massive series of explosions in a thirty-story tower in New Orleans that produces a chain-reaction collapse of the tower that is reminiscent of what happened to the towers at the World Trade Center. These manmade disasters and crises may test but never seem to shake the characters’ faith in God or their belief that death frees one from the difficulties of their physical being. The first and last books of the series provide insight into the themes of the series and the problems experienced by its characters.

The first book in the series, Private Justice, sets the tone for the series, as characters face life-changing events that cause them to question their faith. The wives of firefighters in the town are being murdered. The survivors are frightened and seeking answers on how good people could be struck down by an unknown evil. Among them are Mark and Allie Branning, whose marriage is disintegrating even as danger closes in on them. As Mark struggles to protect his wife, who believes he has cheated on her, he begins to question whether God has forsaken him or if he has forsaken God. Mark seeks his answers in Scripture, realizing that memories of his alcoholic father and a fear of following that path had pulled him away from the Church. As the pair seek to escape a killer who stalks them, Allie sees her husband in a new light, as a man who will sacrifice his own life to save her. Her earlier anger and suspicion melt away, and the pair renew their faith in God and each other in order to reconcile their marriage.

As with all the novels in the series, the characters struggle with the difficult reality that God allows bad things to happen to good people. The deaths of three women, all married to firefighters, including one with two small children, causes the main characters to question whether God is looking out for them. Suspicion of friends and neighbors threatens to tear apart the community, and the discovery that the killer is one of the firefighters further causes the people of Newpointe to wonder whether they have been forsaken by God.

Yet death and mayhem are not the only challenges faced by Newpointe residents. Everyday life provides its own difficulties, including the pressures of marriage as husbands face danger in their everyday work. The characters experience dramatic changes in their lives as the series continues. In the first book, romance blooms between firefighter Dan Nichols and Jill, a successful attorney. The two are later married. The same occurs for the town’s pastor, Nick Foster, who romances, then marries Issie, the woman responsible for coming between the Brannings in the first book of the series. As pastor of the church to which the Nichols and Brannings belong, Nick must juggle the demands of his congregation while working as a firefighter to make ends meet. His financial difficulties are only a sample of the economic struggles of the poor Newpointe community....

(The entire section is 1400 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Butler, Tamara. Review of Line of Duty by Terri Blackstock. Library Journal 128, no. 18 (November 1, 2003): 66. A brief review of the last in the Newpointe 911 series by this Christian mystery writer.

Byle, Ann. “Author Quits Romance Writing for Christian Books: Terri Blackstock Caught Upswing in Christian Fiction Market.” The Grand Rapids Press, December 4, 2004, p. D9. Blackstock talks about her switch from writing romances to Christian fiction in 1995.

Hanna, John, ed. Faces of Faith. Gainesville, Fla.: Bridge-Logos, 2006. Highlights a group of people, mostly women, who accepted God. The book includes a biography of Terri Blackstock, the story of her conversion, and a brief discussion of her various book series.

Nappa, Mike. True Stories of Answered Prayers. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1999. Includes brief stories about famous people who faced difficult times and found prayer and God to be the answer. The book includes a discussion of Terri Blackstock and her conversion from secular writer to religious author.