Suspense and intrigue
Four books from Christian publishers
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Aftermath by Terri Blackstock: A bomb blast at a political rally kills dozens of people, and Dustin Webb is the prime suspect after an anonymous tip leads police to explosives in the trunk of his car. When he realizes someone is setting him up to take the fall for a crime he didn’t commit, he calls his childhood friend to be his defense attorney. Jamie Powell is certain of Dustin’s innocence, but she has an uphill climb to prove it legally. Meanwhile, a survivor of the bomb attack, suffering tremendous emotional trauma, stalks Dustin with the intent to kill him as revenge for her friends’ deaths. A solid mystery with a romantic undercurrent. Subtle reminders of God’s love are sprinkled throughout the story.
Never Miss by Melissa Koslin: Lyndon Vaile, a biomedical genius, has dedicated his entire life to studying the Ebola virus, the disease that killed his parents. When someone steals his research and tries to kill him, Kadance Tolle, a cagey, ex-CIA sniper who has spent her adult life running from her family, steps in and rescues him from imminent death. Once they discover a secret plot to release the deadly virus on society, they team up to stop the attack. The social misfits are drawn to each other, and Lyndon’s faith in God has a positive effect on Kadance. Featuring likable characters—and one quirky cat—it’s an enjoyable read, although some coincidental plot elements strain believability.
Cross Shadow by Andrew Huff: Small-town pastor John Cross is trying to shed his former persona as a CIA agent. But when video evidence shows his girlfriend’s stepbrother killing someone, John can’t resist the urge to follow her to Texas—against her will—to gather clues about what really happened. As they dig for answers to clear her stepbrother, they stumble on a much larger conspiracy, and now their own lives are in jeopardy. Meanwhile, John is second-guessing his calling as a pastor and his relationship with girlfriend Christine. The extended car chases should add excitement to the plot, but physics-defying maneuvers drag it down. Book 2 in the series lacks the charm of Book 1 but leaves plenty of loose ends for Book 3.
The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal: A covert operation in Rome goes sideways for spy Ben Calix. Then, things get worse. Ben has to play defense against a shadowy enemy without backup from his superiors, who have cut off communication. He doesn’t know why his team has “severanced” him, but he’s determined to track down singlehandedly a terrorist who plans to release a deadly bioweapon on the world. Ben’s on his own, except for his quirky blue-haired neighbor and her dog, who literally stumbled into his path during his escape from a would-be killer. This story moves at Hannibal’s customary breakneck speed and keeps the reader enthralled. It lacks spiritual elements found in his other books, but the author’s endnotes mention the Biblical Job as inspiration for his Calix character.
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