Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg

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. Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
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Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The president of the United States, Harrison Taylor, is about to deliver the State of the Union address, all set to assure the American people that their greatest foreign threat is being squelched. New York Times national security correspondent J.B. Collins adamantly disagrees, beginning to fear that the president won’t take necessary action before it’s too late in Without Warning, a novel by author Joel C. Rosenberg.

Well. Even as riveted as I was to the J.B. Collins novel that precedes this one, The First Hostage, I don’t think a thriller has ever left me at such a level of shaken speechlessness when it finished. Not a thriller–not until now. And though I don’t altogether like having to snap out of speechlessness to come up with words for a book review, I can’t say I’d have it any other way, after being punched in the soul by this novel.

No, I’m not much of a political or doomsday kind of person, but this fiction lover appreciates being stretched by this type of reading. I’m not a big fan of sermons in novels or when a character seems to adopt some “church speak” at an unnatural speed, as I feel happens in this book. And I found J.B.’s thoughts to be redundant in places, as if he didn’t fully trust me to remember or understand the magnitude of what was happening.

But his story had me inhaling the pages in notably fewer sittings than I’d normally take for a novel of this length. And I’d highly recommend it to any other fans of ChristFic thrillers who can stand a solid punch in the soul.

Gee. Nothing like being punched in the soul by love.

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Here’s my review of the preceding novel, The First Hostage.

Double Edge by Thomas Locke

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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.
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Four Silver Stars

double-edgeDouble Edge by Thomas Locke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“Your turning comes very soon. Right or left. You must choose between the safety of your current life and the risk of a complete unknown.”

Charlie, a community center guard, has little idea what he may be in for when he answers the request of a beautiful experimental psychologist, Gabriella. The request is simple–“Will you come with me?”–but it will lead to a test with untold implications on human consciousness itself in Double Edge, the prequel to the Fault Lines series by author Thomas Locke.

And, just like that, I’ve taken my first step into the realm of techno-thrillers.

I’ve known for a long enough time that I would eventually read some fiction by Locke, which is a pseudonym for one of my all-time favorite ChristFic authors, Davis Bunn. And while I was aware that some of Locke’s titles are fantasy novels, I wasn’t sure what genre the Fault Lines books would fall under. I had to look it up after finishing this prequel.

A techno-thriller. Got it.

There’s action and intrigue in this read, to be sure. Danger and a mysterious experimental journey. I don’t understand it all, I might be a little more familiar with some of it than I’d care to elaborate on, and overall, I don’t trust it.

But if I did trust it, it would probably indicate that the material here is too easy. Too easy and predictable, for me. Hence, because I don’t trust it, I plan on continuing the series.

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Double Edge is the prequel short to the Fault Lines series.

Trial Run (Fault Lines #1) Flash Point (Fault Lines #2)

Code 13 by Don Brown

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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.

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Four Silver Stars

Code 13Code 13 by Don Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

A billion-dollar drone-sharing contract with crucial, constitutional implications is at the center of a deadly plot against Navy JAG officers in Code 13 by author Don Brown.

After I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel in The Navy JAG Series, Detained, there was no question in my mind about going on to read the second. I was keenly aware of particular points of tension in this novel: officers dealing with the hard, personal costs of the service they love and are dedicated to, and corruption within a political system juxtaposed with the honor of a nation and Constitution that system should protect.

There seemed to be a lot of repetition in places, with the same descriptions popping up and the same information being repeated in characters’ thoughts and conversations a number of times. Some of the drama felt clichéd or overdone, and the scenes and such involving illicit encounters and relationships grew tiresome for me, personally.

Still, this is a good read for anyone else who likes military and political thrillers that raise real questions and mix in faith. If this series continues, I plan to continue on with it.

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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.

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Here’s my review of the first book in The Navy JAG Series, Detained.

Detained

One Night in Tehran by Luana Ehrlich

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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. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Four Silver Stars

One Night in TehranOne Night in Tehran by Luana Ehrlich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“I haven’t figured out if my desire to serve the Lord can possibly be compatible with my career as an intelligence officer.”

That thought is near the forefront of CIA officer Titus Ray’s mind in One Night in Tehran, a thriller by author Luana Ehrlich. After running for his life and converting to Christianity in the Middle East, Titus is sent to spend a year of medical leave in Oklahoma. But recuperating from his leg injury turns out to be the least of his worries when he hears an assassin is after him.

Yes, I’d say I’m still rather new to thrillers, and I’ve been getting the benefit of suspenseful and dangerous situations without explicit or gratuitous content that would make the stories too R-rated for my particular reading tastes. This novel is no exception–certainly with suspense, danger, and just a hint of romance–and the ending comes about as close to a cliffhanger as possible without absolutely leaving the reader dangling off the edge. There is an ending, but the storyline here definitely calls for the next book in the series.

While the action picks up in the second half of the novel, I found the first half or so to be pretty low key, full of details, introspection, and explanations about events that happened in the past, before I as the reader came in. That half wasn’t boring to me, though it mostly seemed to be carefully “laying the foundation” for what would come later. Still, I’d rather have a good foundation than a lot of arbitrary chases and shootouts thrown in early merely for action’s sake, so I respected the pacing here.

On another note, specifically because this novel touches on the Israel/Palestine conflict, a very real and complex issue, I personally would’ve liked to hear from an amiable or admirable Muslim character or two somewhere in the story. That could have opened the narrative up a bit on that front, as I in no way believe the intent in this novel is to paint all people of any particular faith with one broad brush.

Now, I can hardly imagine how anyone who enjoys Titus Ray’s story could not go on to read the continuation, which I certainly see myself doing.

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Two Days in Caracas (Titus Ray Thriller #2)