Action-packed thrillers with a conscience and spiritual sensitivity, the Shepherd Suspense novels will hook teen readers.
A Cross to Kill and Cross Shadow by Andrew Huff. Kregel Publications, 2019 and 2020. 250+ pages.
- Reading Level: Adult
- Recommended For: Ages 15 and up
John Cross, ex-CIA-turned-pastor, “just happens” to be in the vicinity when journalist Christine Lewis is about to be beheaded at the hands of angry Middle Eastern terrorists. A dramatic car chase, life-or-death situations, and an abrupt exit from the foreign country bring John and Christine together temporarily. Or, is it temporary?
Suddenly, Christine finds herself drawn to John (and likewise). And terrorists also find themselves drawn to John. Vengeance is a powerful motivator, and John is forced to come to grips with his ex-CIA past, reconcile it with his current situation (pastor of small country church), and grapple with his new interest in Christine. The second book picks up a few months later as John and Christine get involved in a murder case involving Christine’s stepbrother. Turns out, murder is just the tip of the iceberg.
These books are Christian fiction Jason Bourne-style; the Shepherd Suspense novels grab the reader from page 1 and keep the action coming until the very end. Fans of blockbuster action movies will enjoy the car chases, the extreme danger, the necessary self defense actions, and the wild path of destruction in their wake. John Cross has a conscience, thanks to his newfound faith in Christ. As such, he resists using lethal force, cringes when he must tell a lie to maintain his cover, and does some serious soul-searching in book 2. This adds an interesting dimension to an otherwise typical action story. Huff makes the moral quandaries believable; this isn’t the usual cheesy Christian fiction rhetoric.
- These books are remarkably clean in terms of language and sexuality. Reference is made to cursing, but no actual words are printed.
- As per the genre, there is plenty of violence in this series. That being said, John Cross’s determination to avoid lethal action (including not carrying a gun) is an admirable contrast to most action-packed thrillers.
Overall Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
- Worldview/Moral Rating: 4.5/5
- Artistic Rating: 4/5
Related Reading from Redeemed Reader
- A Review: MindWar by Andrew Klavan (Christian thriller)
- A Review: Allies by Alan Gratz (historical fiction set during D-Day)
- A Review: Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick (action-packed adventure)
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