| Johnny Ravine Mysteries
These books feature private eye Johnny Ravine and are set in Australia. They are published in Australia by Ark House Press, and are available as both print books and ebooks.
Pastor Jim Reezall is renowned as the hellfire preacher always calling down fire and brimstone on the sinners of the world. So when he dies in a wild bushfire there are some who believe he got what he deserved. Enter private detective Johnny Ravine, asked by the pastor’s daughter - with whom he is trying to develop a relationship - to solve the mystery of the death.
It quickly becomes apparent that it was murder. And very soon Johnny learns that huge sums of money are missing from charities administered by the pastor. Was the pastor really using the funds to pay off gunrunners? And, if so, why? The answers – along with the truth about Johnny’s long-lost father – come in a thrilling climax amidst a raging conflagration in the most bushfire-prone region on earth.
This book was one of seven finalists - and the only novel - for the 2011 Australian Christian Book of the Year award, chosen from sixty-seven entrants. The judges wrote:
"Hired to investigate the death of an Aboriginal painter, private detective Johnny Ravine is drawn into a complex mystery as dangerous as it is intriguing. Environmental politics, land rights and Aboriginal spirituality are explored with subtlety. For the hero and reader alike there is a valuable lesson to be learned about the importance of discerning which voice is proclaiming life and love when all is not as it seems. A compelling novel."
A lengthy review came from the Aboriginal Art & Culture website. An excerpt:
"There’s plenty of venality to be had and…Roth seems to have imbibed the seamier side of the Aboriginal art market both in Alice [Springs] and in the capital cities and brought it to bear on his plot and characters…The Aboriginal spirituality represented by Kurtal and the Dreaming power is complemented by Christian ethics in the form of Ravine’s Melbourne pastor, who arrives in Alice to help his struggling parishioner and to rescue him from dangerous mystical forces.
"Some of those forces are represented by a mysterious Korean pastor of the dragon-lady persuasion, who runs a church for the local Aboriginal people, and who seduces Ravine (spiritually, of course) with a combination of Buddhist meditation and shamanistic trance. On the secular side, there’s an investigative journalist, vaguely British in demeanor–or possibly just eccentric. Throw in a couple of Cockney thugs and you have the whole unholy missionary-madman-mercenary trinity of Territorian characters in the stew.
"Roth makes good use of the Outback locations, especially as the story races to its conclusion amidst a torrential rainstorm that washes out the roads and seems to be the vengeance of Kurtal for the despoiling of the Dreaming. As I said before, Roth has clearly been paying attention to the intrigues of desert art dealing and shows a surprisingly subtle understanding of the power plays that animate the hostilities and jealousies that in real life, luckily, produce only strife and not genuine homicide.
"We’ve been sweltering through Top End temperatures here lately in the northern summer, and the thunderstorms in the evenings this week have been severe enough to rattle the windows and quite literally shake the floors. Perfect weather for some Hot Rock Dreaming."
Further praise for “Hot Rock Dreaming”:
“Roth is a Christian author and, although spiritual warfare is crucial to the plot, this book is still a murder mystery…Thought-provoking and an enjoyable read.”
“Highly readable…You will be both entertained and educated.”
Forgiveness is the most attractive of the virtues. Until you actually have someone to forgive.
When Melissa Stonelea’s born-again Christian husband Grant is found strangled in the bondage room of the city’s classiest brothel, a page of the Bible stuffed in his mouth, she doesn’t need to hear more of her pastor’s sermons on the healing powers of forgiveness. She needs revenge.
Enter private detective Johnny Ravine, seeking the quiet life in Australia after more than twenty years as a freedom fighter in East Timor. The murdered man was his best friend. But, as he starts to investigate the slaying, a mysterious phone call and then a bullet through his window plunge him into the heart of a deadly terrorist conspiracy.
Suddenly he finds himself locked inside a shady world of stock market manipulators, sex workers and underground militia, while desperately hunting the killers. But Johnny is concealing a violent past and demons of his own. Can he crack the mystery before he himself cracks?
In Johnny Ravine we have a brilliant but flawed hero who is plunged into the far reaches of the human psyche - forced to confront a cycle of evil that could destroy him and all he loves. But also forced to confront the evil that lurks in his own heart.
This stunning book is everything a hard-boiled, private eye thriller should be - relentlessly powerful, fast-paced, full of twists and with a heart-stopping climax that will leave you gasping.
Praise for "Prophets and Loss":
"Roth, an accomplished financial writer, takes his readers on a thrilling ride that begins as a story of murder and revenge and ends as a reflection on loss and forgiveness....Fast-paced and edgy."
"Wow! .…When 'Prophets and Loss' arrived…I certainly wasn’t expecting a meaty murder mystery cum terrorist plot. And when I realized that’s what it was, I certainly wasn’t then expecting Roth’s Johnny Ravine mystery to deliver such a fabulous gospel message….This is a great book for a Christian or as a starter for a non-Christian. A fabulous surprise."
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Festival in the Desert
The Maria Kannon
Brother Half Angel
Burning at the Boss
Hot Rock Dreaming
Prophets and Loss