Friday, June 27, 2014

Sky Zone by Creston Mapes

This novel is a continuation of the Jack Crittendon series but if you have not read the previous two, this one reads well on its own.

Jack lost his job as a reporter (in a previous novel). Desperate to support his family, including his pregnant wife, he takes a job with an event company. Jack is participating in the coordinating of a rally for a presidential candidate. An independent, Martin Sterling is running a campaign centering around America's lack of preparation for a terrorist attack. Shortly before the rally is to start, the event center receives word from Homeland Security terrorists are threatening an attack on Sterling that evening. Preparations to protect the candidate go wrong. He and a popular Christian singer are kidnapped.

This novel is a great continuation in Jack's story. I really like him as a character. He is faithful to his family even as he is a reluctant hero. When his wife goes into labor during the hostage situation at the event center, he is willing to sacrifice his own welfare for her. We get to know another interesting character, Brian, who is a survivalist. He is ready for the terrorist attack on America he is sure will come. His obsession with survival strategies puts his marriage in jeopardy, however.

In addition to intense suspense, there are themes presented in the novel for us to think about. The major one deals with is the fear of a terrorist attack. The presidential candidate uses it and Brian is obsessed by it. We readers are challenged to think deeply about such fear, weighing that against trusting in God. Another theme is restoration of marriage, particularly with God at the center. Mapes adds other issues to the novel, including dementia, spousal abuse, and the possibility of a child born with disabilities. These are all combined in a way that makes this novel a page turner.

The only aspect of the novel that makes it less than perfect was the twist near the end. I had strongly suspected that outcome early on and was not surprised. Nonetheless, a great novel.

Creston Mapes studied magazine journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. He has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, editor and author. Find out more about him and his books at http://www.crestonmapes.com/.

David C. Cook, 448 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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