Without Warning, by Joel C. Rosenberg

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

As he prepares to deliver the State of the Union address, the president of the United States is convinced the Islamic State is on the run, about to be crushed by American forces once and for all. But New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins tells the president he’s dead wrong. With the Middle East on fire, the Israeli prime minister dead, and Amman in ruins, Collins fears a catastrophic attack inside the American homeland is imminent. He argues that only an all-out manhunt to capture or kill Abu Kahlif—the leader of ISIS—can stop the attack and save American lives. But will the president listen and take decisive action before it’s too late?

First Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed every previous novel I’ve read by Rosenberg. Although I mostly review historical fiction now, requesting to review Without Warning was a no-brainer for me!

My Take:

ISIS is constantly in our headlines. Barely a day goes by when we don’t hear of more attacks by them (including one on the day I’m writing this review) or of more sympathizers and supporters being taken into custody. They have one aim: to create an Islamic State of their specifications. Whoever doesn’t agree with their ideal is their enemy. The J.B. Collins series, of which this is the final book, focuses on the hunt for their leader.

Joel C. Rosenberg has created a very real “what if.” Many of Collins’ opinions on ISIS and political correctness are possibly Rosenberg’s own, and they’re ones I’ve heard many times. Haven’t we heard former leaders state that Islamic State is on the run? Didn’t we hear our previous government refuse to use the term “Islamic terrorism” because of the slight possibility of causing offense? The president in Rosenberg’s narrative could very well be our country’s previous president.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the U.S. Capitol building is attacked early on in the book. (It’s mentioned on the hardcover’s flyleaf.) It isn’t the first time an author has taken out the Capitol in a terrorist attack either: Tom Clancy did it back in the mid-1990s and the Kiefer Sutherland vehicle Designated Survivor uses a similar plot device. Once the attack starts, the novel flies at a frenetic pace. The hits keep coming, some out of left field, and some of them are personal. The intensity level lowers for a time midway through, but the plot never stops moving. The ending is a stunner, but don’t cheat yourself by reading it out of order.

I stayed up late to finish Without Warning, and I don’t regret it! It’s a definite five star read. I do suggest, however, that you read the J.B. Collins books in the order in which they’re published. This isn’t a book you can read out of context. The First Hostage starts at the moment The Third Target ends, and Without Warning starts two months after the final events of The First Hostage. Each book builds upon the other not just in terms of the plot but also in character development. The J.B. of Without Warning is not the man we first meet in The Third Target. But if you love political thrillers, then I can definitely recommend this series.

Thank you to the Tyndale Blog Network for my complimentary copy of Without Warning, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Without Warning? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Publication Date: 14 March 2017

Page Count: 480

Read more on:   Joel C. Rosenberg’s Website   Tyndale’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

The Progeny, by Tosca Lee

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Emily Porter is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self amidst centuries-old intrigues and Europe’s underground scene…and one woman’s mission to survive.

My Take:

The Progeny is a novel that pulled me in immediately, from its short prologue set in a mysterious location known as The Center to the small Maine cabin where Emily is recuperating from life-changing surgery. It’s a beginning that leaves the reader with plenty of questions and no immediate answers and it isn’t long before Emily discovers her life is in danger. From then on, the non-stop action moves from the USA to beautifully described locations in Eastern Europe.  We experience everything that happens through the lead character’s eyes, which means we know only what she knows. Who can she trust? What is it that she must find to keep her life and save the lives of those around her?

The premise of The Progeny doesn’t make it sound like a Christian novel but I was intrigued enough by it to not dismiss this book out of hand. Plus, Tosca Lee has written some great Biblically-based reads in the past. It doesn’t read like an obviously Christian book, and there are some distinctly non-Christian things that take place within its pages by non-Christian characters. It even reminded me, at times, like Interview with a Vampire. But there are visits to churches, observations of religious symbolism, and philosophical discussions about the nature of God. The day after I finished reading The Progeny, I thought about it some more and could see parts of the Gospel reflected in it. I’d love to say more about that, but I’d have to include some major spoilers.

This is the first in a series called Descendants of the House of Bathory. The second book will be out next year. I found it to be a total page turner and the information revealed on the last page left me wanting more. If you like edgy, alternative Christian fiction that’s part supernatural and part thriller then I suspect you’ll probably enjoy The Progeny as much as I did.

Thank you to Howard Books for my complimentary Advanced Uncorrected Proof of The Progeny, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read The Progeny? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster)

Publication Date: 24 May 2016

Page Count: 336

Read more on:   Tosca Lee’s Website   Howard Books’ Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

The Body Under the Bridge, by Paul McCusker

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

A former Scotland Yard detective, Father Gilbert knows about death. But, now a priest of a modest Anglican church in the small town of Hailsham, he didn’t expect it to show up like this–in the suicide of a man who threw himself off the church tower, and in the discovery of a two-hundred-year-old body beneath an ancient bridge.

The deaths are linked. The mummified corpse under the bridge, a murder victim, reignites a centuries-old battle between two local families–the Todds and the aristocratic Hayshams. Then both David Todd and Lord Haysham begin to act strangely. They are fearful for reasons they won’t explain.

When Lord Haysham is murdered, David Todd is the prime suspect. But Todd is maniacal, claiming great forces of evil are at work. An entire history of violence and depravity begins to emerge, interweaving the history of several local families with a secret occult society that engages in Black Masses. Has the Society emerged again?

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