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St. Paul, MN
4 Stars Out Of 5
A Fast Track Thriller
February 14, 2012
St. Paul, MN
Peril, by Suzanne Hartmann, is a fast-paced thriller, with terrorists trying to destroy King Ahmad because he is a Muslim who recently converted to the Christian faith. He's been in the U.S. twice and almost taken out twice by bombs. Despite the threats, King Ahmad, an avid NASCAR race follower, is determined to attend a NASCAR race when he returns to the U.S. Lady Anne has been appointed to escort the King to the race.
Lady Anne is one of the most top-secret operatives for the OJL, a secret agency of the American Government's covert intelligence organizations. She is the most likely agent because of her extra-sensory abilities. Her super-human power exerted to protect King Ahmad during the two bombings has the OJL agency trying to quash any mention of her abilities and identity to protect her and the agency.
Stewart Jackson is the reigning Cup Champion of NASCAR. Despite his wealth, fame and success, he is discontent and empty inside. His involvement in one of the bombings has ignited his attraction to Lady Anne because of her beauty and her sense of contentment, which eludes him. It's this attraction that stirs him to track her down to find her source of peace and contentment, but it also becomes detrimental to both parties.
I am not a NASCAR enthusiast, but I found the racetrack and racing information related by Suzanne to be intricate and interesting. She is thorough in her descriptions-obviously knowing her way around the racetrack. The action is thrilling and full of suspense as the threats have now included Lady Anne and Stuart. The security issues are handled expertly. Although Lady Anne's keen instincts are always on the alert for danger and attacks, another bombing does occur at the racetrack. Suzanne has you on your toes, wondering what will happen next and where.
Tucked inside all the action Lady Anne is enduring, Suzanne throws in another element of concern, the cancer threat to her husband, Neil. The pain of Lady Anne's continual assignments revolves around her absence during his chemotherapy and diagnosis. Faith and salvation are woven into the story, but is not blatant. It's a natural occurrence in the lives of Lady Anne and her husband.
Special thanks to Suzanne Hartmann for sending me a review copy
This story starts out with Lady Anne a woman with enhanced abilities including amazing strength protecting the first Arab leader who has converted to Christianity. My first thought, "Are you serious?!? You expect me to believe an Arab leader becoming a Christian!" Actually what I thought was what an amazing idea. What would our world be like if an Arab leader became a Christ follower. Something to think about and pray about for sure.
This was a very entertaining story. It leans over into a fantasy, but that's okay. The characters have traits that are familiar to most, if not all of us. Stuart is on top of the world with everything he could dream of having won the NASCAR highest honor, yet he still felt an emptiness. He meets Lady Anne, the beautiful and mysterious escort for the world's first Christian Arab leader who happens to be a big fan of NASCAR. Lady Ann has her own struggles as she leads a secret life raising her children and being the wife to her wonderful husband.
I found myself laughing at some of the things that happened but I also felt myself being drawn into the struggles for the characters. Jo Anne and her husband, Neil face one of life's ultimate struggles, Neil has lung cancer. The author does a great job of drawing you into the family's pain and fear. Yet through it all their faith is steadfast in God. Something Stuart recognizes as different and he wants to know more.
If you don't mind stories that delve into a somewhat unrealistic scenario you'll love the story. The author keeps the story moving but also allows you to see some "real" life family times. This story doesn't have a strong antagonist but I did not see a need for one.
First, all the subterfuge surrounding Lady Anne, add to that the assassination attempts on King Ahmad, the first Muslim leader turned Christian, then toss in a champion NASCAR driver that can't stop thinking about the mystery woman. The mix is as hot as the track their racing on. And a race it is as Lady Anne becomes a target on the run.
Great characters, wonderful plot - toss in a little heartache, a little romance, and stir well. What a great ride this story is!