Grand Rapids, Mich.—Many know New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel for his nonfiction “The Case For” series, including The Case For Christ, The Case For The Resurrection and more. Now Lee combines his experiences as an investigative reporter and pastor to create his debut novel, The Ambition (Zondervan, May 2011). Edgy characters populate this taut thriller, set in a gleaming suburban megachurch, a big-city newspaper struggling for survival, and the shadowy corridors of politics.

The Ambition is inspired by real-life stories I covered at the Chicago Tribune,” says Strobel, former award-winning legal editor of the daily. “I had an amazing story churning inside of me that I really wanted to get on paper. But the plot of the book is merely a fanciful excursion into the intriguing world of ‘what if.'”

In The Ambition, mafia defense lawyer Tom O‘Sullivan has bribed Judge Reese McKelvie to help settle a gambling debt with mobster Tom Bugatti. O‘Sullivan recorded the transaction—a recording that threatens the lives of anyone who hears it.

Discouraged investigative journalist Garry Strider has just been passed over for the Pulitzer. After drowning his sorrows, he returns home to find his girlfriend moving out. She’s found faith at the Diamond Point Fellowship. Ever the cynic, Strider investigates the megachurch and its poster-boy pastor, Eric Snow.

Snow, the former .com millionaire, had his appetite for politics whetted while serving on a board to solve Chicago‘s public transit woes. Snow decides to run for the vacant seat of a corrupt former senator. His opponent: Judge Reese McKelvie.

The Ambition capitalizes on historical figures, including Chicago mob hitman Harry “The Hook” Aleman and murdered Arizona investigative reporter Don Bolles, cases Strobel covered for the Tribune. The hardcover features QR codes—specialized bar codes—throughout the book. When scanned with a smartphone, the codes bring up short video clips of Strobel elaborating on the real-life stories referred to in the book. The e-book, which will be released simultaneously with the hardcover, also features the integrated content.

Not only drawing from his life as a reporter, Strobel also used personal experiences in other aspects of the novel. Once an atheist, like The Ambition‘s Strider, Strobel began questioning his beliefs after his wife turned to religion. His spiritual experiences led him to serve as a teaching pastor at two megachurches, as well as writing the bestselling nonfiction series.

“Because I’ve been firmly planted in both worlds, as a journalist and as a pastor, I think I bring a unique perspective to this story,” says Strobel. “I’ve tried to wed that shadowy world of crime syndicates and political and judicial corruption with the real workings of a megachurch. It’s been an amazing opportunity to write a book that bridges these two worlds.”

Strobel earned his journalism degree from the University of Missouri and was awarded a Ford Foundation fellowship to study at Yale Law School, where he received a Master of Studies in Law. He was a journalist for 14 years at the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, winning Illinois‘ top honors for investigative reporting and public service journalism from United Press International. He also taught First Amendment Law at Roosevelt University. Married 38 years, Lee and his wife, Leslie, live in Colorado and have two children, Alison, and Kyle, both authors.

“Beautifully written, THE AMBITION sends characters who seem all-too real in desperate pursuit of answers not easily found. I devoured Lee’s debut thriller and predict it will touch lives through the power of a compelling story well told.”
Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“I am an avid reader of Lee Strobel’s nonfiction books and a follower of his dynamic speaking. Now I have a new favorite fiction writer! THE AMBITION is a spellbinding thriller that plunges the reader deep into the hearts of those whose ambitions rule their hearts and minds. It drew me into the lives of characters whose dynamic agendas pulled their hearts into a web of murder, power, and betrayal.”
DiAnn Mills, award-winning author

“In his first novel, THE AMBITION, New York Times bestselling non-fiction author Lee Strobel makes the leap to fiction with seeming ease and page-turning results. THE AMBITION is fast-paced, relevant to our times, and completely riveting.”
Marie Bostick, New York Times bestselling author of Threading the Needle

“A thriller of the first order. THE AMBITION yanks the reader into a world of complex characters, caught in their desire for success. Can they be stopped from chaos and destruction? I recommend this one big time.”
Lauraine Snelling, bestselling author of On Hummingbird Wings and One Perfect Day

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About The Author

Lee Strobel is an award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and a New York Times bestselling author. After years of nonfiction bestsellers, he is publishing his debut fiction novel, a legal thriller. Lee is a Yale Law School graduate, accomplished journalist, and world-renowned speaker.