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Thursday, September 15, 2016

WOW! Women on Writing Book Blog Tour - Review by Cathy Kwilnski of "A Killer's Grace" by Ronald Chapman

Thank you to Cathy Kwilinski for today's review of: ”A Killer’s Grace” and thank you WOW! Women on Writing for allowing us this opportunity to participate in the book blog tour with Ronald Chapman.


Journalist Kevin Pitcairn’s journey begins with an unexpected letter from Daniel Davidson, a serial killer facing execution. Pitcairn suddenly finds himself considering ideas about guilt and redemption that the people around him, even his beloved girlfriend Maria Elena, find abhorrent. Readers of A Killer’s Grace just might find themselves embarking on a similar journey as they make their way through this book. Ronald Chapman has created a stunning and remarkable tale that challenges how we think about grace.

Chapman keeps the story moving briskly. Pitcairn is a complex, sensitively drawn protagonist who is easy to love despite his flaws and weaknesses. He brings the reader along with him on an intense journey to meet the people who live in the ripples of Davidson’s crimes, from family members of victims to media personalities and members of the clergy. At the same time, the reader experiences Pitcairn’s inner struggle, especially as he grapples with guilt over his own history of violence.

I especially appreciate the central place in the story that Chapman gives to Alcoholics Anonymous, its members, and its guiding philosophies. Characters like Pitcairn’s sponsor Clint make his journey warm, realistic, and accessible. They seem to fit perfectly in this story and add to its richness.

For the most part, Chapman steers clear of heavy-handed treatment of the various people and groups who express their views throughout the book. However, I wish he gave a more thoughtful, nuanced voice to some of Pitcairn’s critics. Some, such as the fundamentalist Christian church members who attack Pitcairn’s ideas about universal innocence, come across as shrill and unthinking. There should be room for a healthy critique of the radical concept of innocence in the book, but few step forward to make that argument. Instead, the fact that there is evidence for a neurochemical basis for aggression is allowed to stand almost unchallenged as proof that people who act violently are innocent of evil.

Still, A Killer’s Grace is a rare treasure of a story. It reveals its surprises and insights with a flawless sense of timing that kept me turning page and page, always wanting more. It is a profoundly engaging and moving story with a powerful message about understanding, even when people’s actions are at their most horrific and perplexing.

Questions for the author:

1. I found myself waiting for a reaction to Pitcairn’s public confession of his secret crime. What was your intention in leaving that part of his story unfinished?

2. How have the ideas in A Killer’s Grace been received by the public? How has your experience compared to the fictional reactions to Kevin Pitcairn’s writings on innocence?

Bio: Cathy Kwilinski lives in Wisconsin with her husband and son. She
works as a software tester and enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with the teens of her church's youth group.

A Killer’s Grace will stay with you long after you finish reading the final page. From the high desert of New Mexico comes a tale of mystery, murder and redemption. When journalist Kevin Pitcairn receives a disturbing letter from a serial killer, he is drawn into a compelling journey with profound psychological and spiritual implications, not just for the murderer, but for himself and society as a whole. As he tries to investigate and then tell the story, he finds himself battling his own inner demons and sordid history. Events conspire to propel an isolated matter to a national stage and audiences that are increasingly hostile. Forced to explore the roots of human psychology and sanity, Pitcairn must navigate moral and philosophical realms. What is the nature of evil? What powers of choice do humans actually possess? How may we be redeemed? And in the end, how do we reconcile with ourselves?

“…a work of fction, it was inspired by a real letter from a serial killer…important and compelling… will stay with you long after the last page.”
—Kam Aures, reviewer for Rebecca’s Reads

“A Killer’s Grace delves deep into the human psyche… Those who have experienced abuse or violence in their own lives will not only relate to the story, but may find their own self-discovery journey unfolding alongside Kevin’s.”
—Paula Renaye, author, Living the Life You Love: The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation

Paperback: 240 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Spirituality
Publisher: Terra Nova Books; 2 edition (September 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1938288750
ISBN-13: 978-1938288753

A Killer’s Grace is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

About the Author:

Ronald Chapman is owner of an international speaking and consulting company, Magnetic North LLC. In addition to international accreditation as a speaker and national awards for radio commentary, he is the author of two novels, My Name is Wonder (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016) and A Killer's Grace (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016 and 2012), two works of non-fiction, Seeing True: Ninety Contemplations in Ninety Days (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2008) and What a Wonderful World: Seeing Through New Eyes (Page Free Publishing, 2004) and the producer of three audio sets, Seeing True: The Way of Spirit (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2016, 2005), Breathing, Releasing and Breaking Through: Practices for Seeing True (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2015), and Seeing True – The Way of Success in Leadership (Magnetic North Audio, 2005). Ron provides a wide array of social media content at, content for people in substance abuse recovery at, and other content from his master site, He holds a Masters in Social Welfare from The University at Albany (New York.) Prior to his relocation to Atlanta, Georgia in 2008, he was a long-time resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ronald can also be found online at:


Facebook Page:

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, August 29 @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!

Tuesday, August 30 @ Linda Loves Chocolate
Linda reviews A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman; find out what she had to say after reading this highly acclaimed novel!

Wednesday, August 31 @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker
Cathy Stucker interviews Ronald Chapman about his highly acclaimed novel A Killer's Grace

Thursday, September 1 @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Find out what fellow author Madeline Sharples has to say about Ronald Chapman's latest novel A Killer's Grace.

Friday, September 2 @ Bring on Lemons with Tara Forst
Tara Forst shares her thoughts and ideas after reading the highly acclaimed novel A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman

Monday, September 5 @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business woman and mompreneur Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings after reading A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman - don't miss this exciting blog stop.

Tuesday, September 6 @ Writers Pay it Forward
The lovely MC Simon takes time to review A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman. She shares her thoughts with her readers in today's insightful post.

Wednesday, September 7 @ Bring on Lemons with Alison Taylor
Educator and mom of four Alison Taylor reviews A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman. Alison offers her ideas and insight to readers at Bring on Lemons!

Thursday, September 8 @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Renowned speaker, historian, memoirist, and psychotherapist Linda Appleman Shapiro reviews A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman. You won't want to miss this insightful review.

Friday, September 9 @ Mari McCarthy's Create Write Now
Mari McCarthy at Create Write Now hosts Ronald Chapman on the topic of "The Power of Mentors and Teachers in our Lives". You won't want to miss this guest post and an opportunity to learn more about Chapman's novel A Killer's Grace.

Monday, September 12 @ The Muffin
Crystal Otto of WOW! Women on Writing shares her review with readers of the Muffin. Find out how Crystal felt after reading Ronald Chapman's novel A Killer's Grace.

Tuesday, September 13 @ Beverley A Baird
Beverley A Baird reviews A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman. Find out more about this highly acclaimed novel.

Wednesday, September 14 @ Book Santa Fe
Elizabeth Seratt reviews Ronald Chapman's A Killer's Grace.

Thursday, September 15 @ Bring on Lemons
Cathy Kwilinski reviews Ronald Chapman's A Killer's Grace.

Friday, September 23 @ Renee's Pages
Tange Dudt reviews A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman; find out what she had to say after reading this highly acclaimed novel!

Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at


  1. Hi Cathy, an excellent review, and I'm delighted to see the obvious thought you put into the plot and questions. Oh, and thanks too for the extensive content you included! As an author, that is very much appreciated. Now to those questions.

    I thought long and hard about how the public or any member of the public might handle a confession, or indeed heinous behavior. And yet the heart of the plot is in this idea of redemption. There is great mischief in thinking that resolution can occur in any kind of punishment or absolution, because ultimately redemption is somehow negotiated within ourselves, whether we are perpetrator or victim. So in the end I thought it best to leave it unresolved externally, and focus on that inward matter of forgiveness, resolution, and healing.

    Interestingly, there are two reactions to the plot and its propositions. The first and most dominant is like yours, a willingness to explore our own inner orientation, i.e. to seek our own resolution with our own beliefs and experiences, which is a beautiful outcome. The second is a rather stark rejection to consider anything other than the inevitability of evil, and a necessary need to punish. Frankly, there has not been much middle ground.

    As for my experience with this, in some ways this story is an external expression of my own inner battles with my own self-reconciliation and forgiveness. And as one who works often with people tortured by their own lives, I have seen over and over again how important it for each of us to somehow come to a place of our own inner redemption. Largely because so many are unable to receive external absolution. So in the end, it seems the only solution is an internal one, a psychic, or philosophical, or spiritual redemption that is utterly personal. In the end, that is the only way I see the ripple effects of violence and hatred ended. From a Jungian perspective, until our own unconscious and unresolved shadow matters are resolved, somehow they always result in perpetration upon self or others.

    Well that was certainly lengthy and heady, but useful I hope.

    Again, thank you very much!

    Ron Chapman

  2. Hi again! That was so interesting and provocative for me that I shared it on my Facebook feed. Thank you again, Cathy! Ron Chapman