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Playing Saint: A Novel
8 hours, 56 minutes
 
Yᴇsᴛᴇʀᴅᴀʏ, Pᴀʀᴋᴇʀ Sᴀɪɴᴛ’s ᴏɴʟʏ ᴄᴏɴcᴇʀɴ wᴀs ʜɪs sᴡɪғᴛʟʏ ʀɪsɪɴɢ sᴛᴀʀ ᴘᴏᴡᴇʀ. Tᴏᴅᴀʏ, ʜᴇ’s ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴛʀʏɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ sᴛᴀʏ ᴀᴌɪvᴇ.
 
Parker Saint is living the dream. A cushy job at a thriving megachurch has him on the verge of becoming a bestselling author and broadcast celebrity—until life takes an abrupt turn that lands him on the wrong side of the law. To avoid a public scandal, he agrees to consult with the police on a series of brutal murders linked by strange religious symbols scrawled on each victim.
 
Parker tries to play the expert, but he is clearly in over his head. Drawn ever deeper into a web of intrigue involving a demanding detective, a trio of secretive Vatican operatives, and a centuries-old conspiracy to conceal a mysterious relic, he realizes for the first time that the battle between good and evil is all too real—and that the killer is coming back . . . this time for him.
 
“A thought-provoking exploration into the power of faith and the reality of evil. Filled with memorable characters and tight writing, Playing Saint is an impressive debut from an author to watch.”
Sᴛᴇᴠᴇɴ Jᴀᴍᴇs, bestselling author of Placebo and The Queen
 
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Playing Saint: All Souls’ Day
9 hours, 54 minutes
 
Oɴ Aʟʟ Sᴏᴜʟ’ Dᴀʏ ᴛʜᴇ ғᴀɪᴛʜғᴜʟ ʀᴇᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴇᴀᴅ.
Tʜɪs ʏᴇᴀʀ ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴘʟᴇɴᴛʏ ᴏғ ᴅᴇᴀᴅ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀ.

 
It’s been a year since pastor Parker Saint found himself in the middle of an ancient conspiracy involving demon possession, ritual killings, holy relics, and Vatican operatives, and things are just starting to get back to normal. Well, as normal as they can be now that he’s married to Detective Corinne Kirkpatrick.
 
Corinne is having trouble adjusting to life as a pastor’s wife. And while she’d love to retreat to the familiarity of her precinct, she’s beginning to feel out of place there too—surrounded by younger, unfamiliar faces and increasingly feeling like a relic herself.
 
When a new series of grisly murders rocks the quiet city of Grand Rapids, everyone is on edge, and no one more so than Parker—from the very first crime scene, the killer seems to be drawing attention to him. Soon he and Corinne are thrown into a deadly game with a timer that is swiftly running out. As the stress takes its toll on their fledgling marriage, they’ll have to lean on God and each other—and even those Vatican operatives—in order to stop the killer before it’s too late.
 
Includes bonus short story, “Crying He Makes: A Tale of the Jesuits Militant”


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Playing Saint BUNDLE!
20+ hours
 
The complete adventures of Parker Saint and the Jesuits Militant as of now, with more to come!
 
Get more bang (and by that I mean Vatican agents shooting at bad guys) for your buck with the bundle! Includes Playing Saint, Playing Saint: All Souls’ Day, “Crying He Makes: A Tale of the Jesuits Militant,” and “Behind You: A Playing Saint Story,” a new origin short story about Father Michael.
 
In addition, everyone who buys the PLAYING SAINT BUNDLE will get 50% off the audiobook of the forthcoming Jesuits Militant standalone novel.
 
Follow the exploits of our favorite gun-toting priests, chip-shouldered detective, and corny preacher as they face off against the powers of darkness, with the odds stacked against them.
 
“Bartels holds readers’ interest in this intrigue-filled thriller . . . Saint's character is particularly well developed as he changes from a self-absorbed TV personality into a true man of faith. This book will be enjoyed by those who love a mystery combined with supernatural elements.”
LIBRARY JOURNAL
 
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The Last Con: A Novel
10 hours, 35 minutes
 
Rule #1: Don't Grift the Illuminati.
Fletcher Doyle Is about to Break Rule #1.

 
Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationships with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter. No easy feat.
 
But when Fletcher and his family go on a mission trip to Detroit—in the company of the condescending church leader who also happens to be his landlord—Fletcher finds his old life waiting for him. Within hours of arriving in the city, he’s been blackmailed into doing a job for a mysterious criminal who calls himself The Alchemist.
 
A series of relics hidden by the Knights of Malta, as ancient as they are priceless, are in the sights of The Alchemist. What he needs is a gifted grifter with a background in ecclesiastical history . . . what he needs is Fletcher Doyle.
 
Between hiding his reawakened criminal life from his wife and trying to hide her from their relentless landlord, Fletcher is ready to give up. But when his family is drawn into the dangerous world he can’t shake, Fletcher is forced to rely on his years in the game to save the only people who mean more to him than the biggest con in history.
 
Includes bonus short story, “Playing Saint Nick: A Christmas Grift”


“Bartels interweaves the story of an ex-grifter trying to go straight with the historic tale of a man and a group seeking ultimate power. I was quickly drawn in and kept turning pages.”
RICHARD L. MABRY, , bestselling author of Critical Decision and Code Blue
 
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Clinch: A Novel
9 hours, 53 minutes
 
Superheroes aren’t real.
But before the summer ends, Trent’s going to wish they were.

 
For Trenton Marsh, life is getting complicated. Ever since his police chief dad went back to school, the two of them rarely see each other. And while Trent has managed to somehow catch the interest of Zoe, the intriguing new girl in town, he is quickly realizing just how out of his league she really is. Meanwhile, the formerly harmless quirks of his best friend, Judith, are becoming cause for concern as she becomes ever more determined to transform herself into a real-life superhero.
 
Just when Trenton starts getting Judith back on the road to sanity, a string of bizarre break-ins disrupts the quiet town of Clinch Rock. Nothing is missing, but it’s clear that someone is looking for something of immense value. And when Trent discovers a secret room and a dusty journal in the basement of his house—which once belonged to a 19th century lumber baron—he finds himself inadvertently feeding Judith’s new obsession with solving crimes and dispensing justice.
 
But it soon becomes frighteningly clear that a shadowy group will stop at nothing to get their hands on the lumber baron’s substantial riches, propelling Trent and Judith into a frantic race against time and ruthless treasure hunters to solve a century-old mystery before it’s too late.
 
Note: This audiobook was first serialized on “Clinch: A Podcast of Fiction and Not-Fiction.” These files contain just the book content, with all ads, intro/outro, and the “not-fiction” segments removed.
 
Includes bonus short story, “Go Green”


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The Big Bundle!
50+ hours
 
For the voracious consumer of Christian fiction and supernatural suspense—get all four novels and lots of extras!
 
Forget the half-measures and get go all-in. The Big Bundle contains:
 
  • Playing Saint: A Novel
  •  
  • The Last Con: A Novel
  •  
  • Playing Saint | All Souls’ Day
  •  
  • Clinch: A Novel
  •  
  • Short Story, “Crying He Makes: A Tale of the Jesuits Militant”
  •  
  • Short Story, “Playing Saint Nick: A Christmas Grift”
  •  
  • Short Story, “Behind You: A Playing Saint Story”
  •  
  • Short Story, “Go Green”
  •  
  • Live reading of Satirical Novel, re:raptured, with co-author Ted Kluck
  •  
  • 50% off the audiobook of the forthcoming Jesuits Militant standalone novel.

 
“Zach’s is the best stuff out there. And if he were to write a frontier romance, it would be the best in that genre as well.”
Cʟɪғғ Gʀᴀʜᴀᴍ,filmmaker and NYT bestselling author of Day of War
 
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Go Green
1 hour, 15 minutes
 
A Game-Day College Visit . . . Or a Game of Life and Death?
 
Aubri (with an i) is less than thrilled that she’s stuck babysitting these high school visitors while her sorority sisters enjoy the non-stop party that is Game Day. What’s worse, while one of the two girls might be real Phi-Delt material, the other is a social misfit who clearly sees herself as above all of this, cramping their style at every turn.
 
When a daring armored car heist in the middle of campus turns deadly, the three girls are the only witnesses. As the killers stalk them through the throngs of fans, Aubri begins to see that this misfit might just be her only chance of making it out alive.

 
Note: A simple reading of this companion story to Clinch: A Novel (with pretty rough audio quality) appeared on the Clinch Podcast in 2019. This version is newly recorded, mixed, and produced with cinematic music and sound effects.


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Behind You: A Playing Saint Story
1 hour, 36 minutes
 
Sometimes What You Think You’re Done with . . . Isn’t Done with You.
 
Mariam is a devout young Arab girl, living in 19th Century Egypt. Michael is a 21st-century teenager with a penchant for brawling, floating through life between a tony boarding school and a posh neighborhood across the river from the Motor City.
 
Both will be charged to leave their pasts behind and follow God’s call.
 
Human traffickers, forced marriages, and ruthless killers will try to hold them back. But once you’ve given everything up, you’ve got nothing left to lose.
 
Spanning centuries, continents, and the darkest places in the human soul, this story ties together multiple threads of the Saintiverse and will inspire you to keep your eyes on the prize—and never look back.
 
Note: “Behind You” is included in both the PLAYING SAINT BUNDLE and the BIG BUNDLE. It can also be purchased as a standalone, for those who have read the Playing Saint books.


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Short Story 4-Pack
4 hours, 22 minutes
 

 
Already read the Playing Saint books, The Last Con, and Clinch, but looking to follow the characters deeper into the Saintiverse? Check out these four short stories (two of them audio exclusives!), providing a ittle more supernatural suspense.
 
Con men. Vatican agents. Computer hackers. Christmas is different in the Motor City. Follow a team of grifters and two different orders of priests through a wild Christmas in “Crying He Makes: A Tale of the Jesuits Militant” and “Playing Saint Nick: A Christmas Grift.”
 
In addition, enjoy a sneaky sequel to Clinch and an origin story for Father Michael, that takes you from 19th Century Egypt, right up through pandemic-era Detroit, where the Jesuits Militant are hunting a group of ruthless human traffickers.
 
“Zachary Bartels has redeeemed Christian Fiction for me. His books leave me entertained, satisfied, and looking for more.”
TRACY GROOT,award winning author of Mad Man and Flame of Resistance
 
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Gut Check Podcast
Making Your Podcast Feel Small & Weak Since 2014 . . .
 
In 2009, my buddy prolific author Ted Kluck and I started a small indie press called Gut Check Press, where we could put out satirical books and other content that woudl not fly in the buttoned-up world of traditional Christian publishing.
 
Five years later, we kicked off our podcast, wherein we review gross energy drinks like they were fine wines, read excerpts from our books, wax nostalgic about the Nineties, and slowly lean into the fact that we're middle aged. It’s for sure a niche-of-a-niche endeavor, but the people who like it really like it.
 

Give Sin a Body Bag!
Strike First! Strike Hard! No Mercy!
 
Christians today have a pretty nice little relationship with the old self and the deeds of the flesh. Many have worked out their differences and have learned to coexist in peace and harmony.
 
And that's the problem.
 
In Cobra Kai and Sanctification, you will learn to be less of a whiny little Daniel LaRusso and instead embrace the Way of the Fist in your battle against sin.
 
What then, shall we go on sinning that grace may abound? NO, SENSEI!
 

Clinch
A Podcast of Fiction and Not-Fiction
 
After parting ways with both my publisher and my agent, I didn't write anything for more than a year. When I did start it up again, I was told by a number of acquisitions editors that no one is buying Young Adult Christian fiction, which is what I had written.
 
So naturally, I started a podcast, in which I serialized the book, while also sharing my own experiences in Christian fiction. It was a fun experiment and I kind of miss it now.
 
If you’d rather avoid all the ads and introspection, you can just buy the book here or buy the audio book here.

Judson Baptist Church
The Truth. In Love.
 
I’m not writing all the time. My training and my main vocation are in ministry. And every Lord’s Day, I have the privilege of opening the Scriptures and expounding on their meaning for my congregation. I’ve been podcasting these weekly messages for about fifteen years.
 

Baptist Catechism
Mr. Spurgeon’s Catechism for the 1689 Confession
 
My favorite preacher of all time is the late, great Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Not only did he preach like a lion, he also wrote and edited many books and a magazine, like a . . . super-literate lion. A couple of years ago, I began teaching through Spurgeon’s addition of the Baptist Catechism (based on the 2nd London Confession of Faith). Probably because there aren't many classes like it in podcast land, it's gotten a fairly large subscriber-base, for a Sunday school class.