Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
Intrigued by the commanding cleanness of the book cover, I picked up Detained by Don Brown, a military and political thriller in which Hasan and Najib Makari, a father and son from Lebanon, are wrongly accused of terrorism against the United States.
I appreciated the believable humanness in characters like Matt Davis, a Navy JAG officer, and Emily Gardner, a TSA lawyer: flawed individuals still with striking qualities I rooted for. The racist ignorance of some of the agency officers got under my skin, making me all the more anxious to see what would become of the Makaris. And a little ways after I passed the unputdownable point that propelled me through the rest of the novel, the haunting, painfully fitting prayer of a Lieutenant Commander Garcia echoed right into my core–“Lord, if it is possible, take this cup from me.”
Now, I did have to get over a number of the exclamation points. It’s just a style preference, but in modern adult novels, especially in ones handling serious subject matter, it gives the drama an over-the-top feel when a third-person narrator essentially shouts (!) at the reader, rather than reserving exclamations for the characters’ dialogue. Also, there’s a lot of phrase repetition that doesn’t appear intentional; some of the comments characters make aloud, particularly a few from Secretary Strayhorn, don’t really come off as natural, seeming mostly to the purpose of spelling issues out for the reader; and the narrator steps away from storytelling for a few paragraphs early on to explain Navy jets and aircraft carriers in present tense, which consequently pulled me out of the story as well, for a moment.
Still, overall, the author effectively makes a case for truth, justice, and faith in this engaging novel, and I’ve every intention of picking up the next book in The Navy JAG Series whenever it releases–hopefully sooner than later.
Note for my blog readers: not out of keeping with this novel’s themes, it does include some scenes of violence on the gritty side.
Here’s my review of the second book in the series, Code 13.