About the Book (from Publisher David C Cook):
From popular suspense author Creston Mapes comes another faith-building thriller, a tale that follows journalist Jack Crittendon as he fights to protect his family from a stalker’s terrifying schemes, investigates a pastor’s mysterious disappearance, and struggles to keep his faith amidst unthinkable fear.
With his family’s safety on the line, Crittendon realizes there are secrets behind “Christian” walls – secrets with painful, deadly implications. He must find the faith to trust a God who allows inconceivable trials, and the courage to guard his family, with danger exploding at every turn.
Through it all, the sharp, character-driven writing for which Mapes is known takes fans and new readers on an edge-of-your-seat journey that explores the harsh, far-reaching consequences of bullying and the Christian response to fear.
My Thoughts on the Book:
At first I thought this would be a really easy review to write. The books I enjoy the most usually are. But as I thought about what to write about Fear Has a Name, I realized that with all the plot twists in this book, many of the things I wanted to discuss would be very challenging to say without revealing spoilers, and I’m determined NOT to reveal spoilers here, so I’m just going to have to watch what I say.
In a nutshell, the three things about this book that made the biggest impression on me were the complex characters, the suspenseful and tightly woven plot, and the significant faith element embedded within the story.
Let’s talk about the plot first (in vague-ish terms to avoid those spoilers). This book features two storylines, running in parallel, that eventually converge for a dramatic and emotionally moving conclusion. Each storyline features mystery, danger, and the kind of urgency that keeps those pages turning. I was hooked from the nightmarishly realistic opening scene straight through to the conclusion.
As entertaining as this story is, there’s a lot of substance here too. Fear Has a Name is a thought provoking book that goes well beyond surface Christianity. It grapples with some challenging theological issues like why bad things happen to good people, finding the faith to get through terrifying circumstances, and the idea that offering mercy to those who hurt us can be a way of pointing to what Jesus did on the cross. Powerful stuff that, and well integrated into the tale.
I think that part of the reason the deeper stuff fits so well in this story is because many of the characters and relationships in this story have a depth and complexity. The lead characters aren’t perfect. Jack and Pam (and others) display real human flaws that make them easy to relate to. As a married couple, they have their disagreements, but they’re both working to make it work. (And, as an aside, can I just say that in a genre dominated by boy-meets-girl romance and courtship, it’s refreshing to see some lead characters in an established marriage.) I was also impressed by the fact that even some of the… um… less admirable characters come across sympathetically. I was totally rooting for some of the more messed up characters to rise above their past hurts, find redemption, and get their act together.
I’m kind of late to the game, reviewing this book a full two and a half years after it released. But if you enjoy a suspenseful read, I can highly recommend this one. And, FYI, the following two books in this series have already been released, so if you’re starting now, you’ll be able to read straight through.
Thank you to author, Creston Mapes for providing a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. To learn more about this author check out his Web site / blog, where you’ll also find links to connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.