Gun Lake – Travis Thrasher

Gun Lake Travis Thrasher
Gun Lake by Travis Thrasher
Published by Moody Publishers on June 1, 2004
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense
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Once again, Travis Thrasher takes readers on a thrilling ride, this time through the story of five escaped convicts and the people whose paths they cross. Weaving together twists of fate and fast-paced action, Gun Lake examines the consequences of sin and asks some compelling questions: Where do you turn when there is no hope left? How do you leave past mistakes behind? It's an edgy story with a redemptive message. Kurt Wilson could feel his heart beating. He took in slow breaths, but the blood still raced through his body. Adrenaline pumped and all he could do was sit there, behind the wheel of the Ford Explorer, looking out the open window toward the Harman's sporting goods store and waiting for word. Underneath his legs, next to his boots, rested a brand new .45 handgun that had never been fired. Hopefully after tonight, it would remain that way.

They’re bustin’ out and they ain’t going back – the Stagworth Five have left the building, and led by Sean they’re headed toward Gun Lake. But more excitement is coming to the lake than just the escaped cons. Thrasher pieces together a wide-ranged story of drama and suspense, as the lives of seven people all meet at the Lake, and their lives will forever be changed by the decisions they make.

The Stagworth Five aren’t the only ones breaking out. Gun Lake is Travis Thrasher’s breakout novel that expands the length, depth, and breadth of his storytelling. Besides the leader of the Stagworth Five, six other individuals on their own journey to find hope. One a woman on the run from her husband, leaving behind a financially secure but physically harmful relationship; another a mother trying desperately to put her son the right track in life. Their life stories continue, all different, yet all the same – stories of those without hope grasping for it, and some finding it.

Sometimes fun and lighthearted, and other times somber and serious, Gun Lake is a character-driven novel that brings folks from all walks of life together with a common theme, and in this case, a common location. Having so many characters to focus on is a bit daunting at first, but careful reading and a decent memory helps one to get the storylines sorted out by the midway point. Such a careful reading pays off when Thrasher begins to tie the meandering storylines together.

Up to this point in his career, Thrasher had focused on smaller novels, publishing two love stories and one shorter suspense novel. Gun Lake expands that greatly – perhaps a bit too much given the number of storylines – but he handles the transition well. As in his previous novels, the themes of redemption and hope shine through strongly. Probably not the novel I’d recommend for someone first reading Thrasher’s novels, but it’s a solid addition to Thrasher’s works and is the novel that opened him up to so much more.

Mini Q&A with Travis

Josh: In my opinion, this is really your “branching out” novel. Your previous novels had been shorter, and with the exception of The Second Thief, were love stories. How did Gun Lakeeffect your writing journey?

Travis: I agree with you. This was the first “big” novel I had published. I’d written several others but they’d never seen publication. I wanted to do something on a much bigger scale. Not just meaning a bigger word count, but a bigger palette. Granted, I think I made it a big too big with having seven main character viewpoints. But it was exciting to be given a chance to do a grander novel with multiple themes.

Gun Lake marked a big turn for me in terms of marketing, too. I stepped up things like online presence and book tours. This was the first time I did a ten city book tour (all set up by myself). I felt like I was going to be in this writing thing for a while, so I finally had a hefty novel that I was proud of and that I thought a lot of people might enjoy.

Josh: One of the characters, Craig, is always making up movie lists that correspond to whatever situation he’s in. Are you a big movie fan? Have you seen all the movies he referenced?

Travis: That was a fun part of the story. I love movies. I am moved by movies because I love not only the story, but the music and the visuals. So this was just one thing I put into the story–my love of film (and pop culture).

I remember someone once saying that they didn’t like the movie references, but let’s face it–pop culture is part of our collective history. I love being able to say that one of the guys is a big fan of The Doors. There are people out there who are big fans of The Doors. Why make up some other fictitious group? That seems corny. I can understand that the references might not mean stuff to some people. But this was another way of putting some of myself in the story.

About Travis Thrasher

Travis Thrasher

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, celebrities and pastors.

With the childhood goal of pursuing a writing career starting in third grade, Thrasher worked for 13 years at Tyndale House Publishers after graduating college. His experience working with as Author Relations Manager allowed him to understand the writing life as well as training him to work with a variety of personalities. This experience has proven to be invaluable with varied writing projects in the decade he’s been a full-time writer.

His novels are as diverse as the people he’s worked with, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. Publishers Weekly said “Sara and Ethan are two of the most real and sensitive lovers to grace the genre” when reviewing his first novel, The Promise Remains. They also stated “Thrasher demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre” in a review for Isolation years later. His readers have enjoyed the unpredictability of his novels, whether it’s due to a unique style such as second person or a twist they never saw coming.

Thrasher’s storytelling ability has also allowed him to work with others on their books, from musicians like country musician Scotty McCreery and Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. He has also penned novels based on songs such as Paper Angels with Jimmy Wayne and novelizations for films including Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Upcoming projects continue to expand his talents, with projects including The Black Auxiliary about the lives of the 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.

Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

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