Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sky Zone by Creston Mapes

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On his website, Creston Mapes says he writes the kind of books that he likes to read - "tension-filled thrillers."  I've just finished his third book in the Crittendon Files, Sky Zone which is the second Mape's book I've read this summer, and I must agree that Mapes' stories are "tension-filled." I certainly hope there are more Jack Crittendon stories to follow and I really, really wish I didn't have to wait.

With a family to feed and another Crittendon baby on the way, Jack had to find work asap when the newspaper where he worked folded. (In the previous book, Jack uncovers a scandal which leads to his paper's demise).  While his wife leaves behind her time as a stay-at-home mom, Jack takes a part-time at the Festival Arena in town. There Jack strikes up a friendship with a co-worker, Shakespeare, who shares his survivalist views with Jack. Even Shakespeare admits his fears are way out there, but even so, he wants his family to be prepared for the worst.  Both men are scheduled to work the rally for controversial presidential hopeful Martin Sterling and his supporter, a well-known Christian musician when minutes before Sterling's arrival, the arena coordinator learns of rumors of a terrorist threat.  Suddenly what should have been a busy day ushering and general security work becomes a life and death challenge.

What I like best about Mapes style (beside the intense suspense) is that he so realistically interweaves the personal back story of Jack's family into the action of the story.  Nothing seems forced or contrived.  Even the minor characters add much to both the thriller genre and the message behind the book.  I had said in my review of Poison Town that I hoped Jack's young reporter colleague would take a prominent role in future books, so I was delighted to see him appear as one of the press covering candidate Sterling.  Now I will add that I sincerely hope that new friend Shakespeare follows into the next book.  I am sure some people will shake their heads at the term "Christian thriller."  I know I was skeptical of the genre at first, but if you are willing to give it a chance, then I recommend Mapes' Crittendon Files.

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