Environmental reporter Julie Baker returns to Columbia, her birthplace and the site of her missionary parent's death, accompanying a number of politicians and media personal seeking answers to the unexplained deaths of three Americans in the Columbian demilitarized zone. Julie's deeply held hurts, combined with her bitterness for the seeming futility of her parent's lives of service, leads her to sneak into the village where she was born, looking for clarity and answers. Concerned that she is a spy for military intelligence, and desperate to keep hidden their secrets deep in the DMZ jungle, Guerrillas kidnap Julie while she is in the village square. Her abduction triggers an avalanche of events that has the capacity to destroy the US, and reveals secret plans brewing unknown to American intelligence for the last ten years. With the fate of Colombians she knew as a child and the welfare of millions of Americans resting in her hands, Julie learns what love, belief and God's clear call to sacrifice means for her, no matter what her uncertain future may hold.
DMZ is a fast-paced novel that gripped me from the opening scenes. This is actually my second read through the book and will undoubtedly not be my last as I have enjoyed it just as much the second time through! Jeanette Windle is an incredibly skilled author with the ability to transport readers to the world of her characters - in this case war torn Columbia, terrifying guerrilla camps and the beauty of a jungle seemingly untouched by man in all it's created beauty. Windle brings much insight into how civil war has decimated Columbia and yet provides hope in how it still continues to survive. She also provides insight into the hate of Islamic extremists determined to destroy a country they consider the "great Satan". And she ties it all together beautifully with the personal story of a spunky reporter who has to learn what sacrifice means and the many ways sacrifice and love are worth it in the end. Not only does she provide an entertaining read, but she raises important questions about world events and about faith and trust in God at the same time.
I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Kregel, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
Jeanette Windle in her new book, "The DMZ" published by Kregel Publications takes us to Colombia.
The Dictionary defines, "suspense" as " the state or character of being undecided or doubtful". The Dictionary defines, "thriller" as, "a work of fiction or drama designed to hold the interest by the use of a high degree of intrigue, adventure, or suspense". The Director, Alfred Hitchcock, Defined "thriller" in visual terms: "place a bomb set to blow up in an hour under a table in a busy restaurant. Have two women with baby carriages sit down at the table and have lunch. As the clock ticks down the audience should be screaming at the screen for the women to get out". Jeannette Wilder has done for the printed page what Alfred Hitchcock did for the movies. In "The DMZ" Ms. Wilder has placed her characters future in the gravest doubt as they struggle to survive the adventure in the jungles of Colombia.
Julie Baker is a reporter sent to cover the deaths of three U.S. citizens and the disappearance of a sophisticated military aircraft in the Colombian Demilitarized Zone. Julie's parents were missionaries and Columbia is where she was born. Now as she tries to do her job while revisiting the place of her birth and her parents deaths she is faced with old hurts and fears. This is compounded when Julie is kidnapped by guerillas. Now to stay alive she teams up with undercover agent Rick Martini, a member of the 7th Special Operations Group, to find out just what is going on and try to stop it.
In "The DMZ" Jeanette Windle has crafted a perfectly entertaining story that will have you flipping pages as fast as you can read them. Ms. Windle has done an excellent job of research and Colombia is just as much a character in the story as the individuals. Imagine a water slide fifty feet high with you at the top. Once you begin your descent you will be screaming but enjoying every second. This is what Ms. Windle has crafted into her story. I recommend this book highly.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Suspense Zone. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
This is not a novel for the faint of heart! The book is long at 512 pages. The cover isn't very attractive. And the blurbs on the back make it sound like an interesting, but tedious read. I must say that it is anything but.
The author does an amazing job of making you feel as if you have been to, seen and experienced this very trying environment. It is very apparent that the author knows firsthand about the story and setting that she is writing about.
The story begins with Julie Baker going to Columbia with a group of reporters and political leaders to investigate the killing of three Americans. Julie is a missionary kid that grew up in Columbia. While she is there as part of the investigation she decides to go see where she used to live. While she is on this side trip she and a group of others are abducted by guerillas. She does eventually get free, but there are other unseen forces that are involved.
I thought this book was pretty faced paced over all, but I will say that it did have a few spots that entailed the day to day mundaneness that tended to bog the story down. Press on through those parts because you don't want to miss this story of how God Himself holds us in the palm of His hand. You will be reminded throughout the story that God's plans are so much bigger than ours. Especially those plans that make no sense at all to us in our finite minds.
The book begins by giving the reader a plot that began over a decade ago between 2 countries that are at enmity between each other, yet united against the infidel America. The carrying out of this plan moves to the South American country of Columbia. Columbia a hostile and volatile country that leans toward communism, not to mention the drug cartel. When three Americans are found dead, and their deaths gruesome and under mysterious circumstances, vigilance is given to find out what happened. American Politicians and media are invited to Columbia in order to show goodwill between the 2 countries. Julie Baker a journalist from an environmental magazine travels to Columbia as 1 of the journalist's. Julie's parents were missionaries in Columbia and Julie was born and raised in this country. She thought that she had left it behind several years ago, but the longer she is in Columbia the more she feels confused and her emotions are hard to keep hidden. As the story progresses every fiber of Julie's being will be tested.
The main character in The DMZ is Julie Baker. She is not only a well-rounded character, but she is a character that I grew to care about what happened to her, and I dislike the idea of not knowing the rest of her life story. Even at 512 pages I wanted for the story to continue.
We see her as an intelligent and confident woman, and also with confused and mixed feelings about her past. She is unsettled about unresolved issues, yet tries to stuff those feelings stoically. She is a strong minded independent woman, yet through circumstances she meets her fears and limitations. She is a person that I admire and yet she is approachable.
There are surprises in other characters that were introduced, twists in what I thought they were like.
I was introduced to characters that I do not usually see in Christian fiction, those that are the very debased of humanity.
I am impressed with the knowledge and amount of research from the author; in knowing about the country Columbia, the jungle, Indians, American military and counterintelligence.
I did not feel The DMZ was predictable; but it is intense, well written, just a great story!
The DMZ has it all: missionary work, travel, romance, suspense, military, history, mystery, and I also felt a study in well-written character's.
The Christian fiction element in The DMZ is never alluded to, nor an afterthought. We see Christianity being lived out in the depth and breath of its characters, not in just words that sometimes have nothing deeper.
Thank you to Kregel Publications and LitFuse Publicity Group for my free review copy.
My laundry didn't get folded this week. I had every intention of getting caught up on that chore, but one evening I grabbed The DMZ to read for awhile. The DMZ, by Jeanette Windle, was a really thick book and I'd been delaying reading it. I knew I needed to review it, but I kept waiting for some extra free time (and being caught up on chores) before starting to dig into its 512 pages. I didn't get very far into it that first night, but I did get hooked on the story. I've been reading it in my spare time ever since ... thus the unfolded laundry.
The DMZ centers around Julie Baker, a young reporter who had been a missionary kid in Colombia. Having been raised in the Amazon rainforest of Colombia, it has been seven years since she left Colombia at the age of sixteen, following her parents' death. She returns to chase down a story, hopefully a Pulitzer prize-winning story. But, she didn't realize that "quick" journalism trip would overwhelm her as she struggles with her grief, her anger, her faith in God, her love for Colombia and its people, and her very survival.
This book begins with an introduction to the supporting cast, and the setting. Readers don't meet Julie Baker until page 71, but they do find themselves thrown into the middle of a dangerous and unknown situation in Colombia that has taken the lives of several American citizens. Someone is hiding something in the DMZ and Julie Baker, and the US government, want to know what is going on deep in the Colombian rainforest. With guerrilla forces, paramilitary forces, Colombian and US military forces already involved in the area, there is also an unknown element endangering the people of Colombia.
Even though the book begins with a history of the complicated political situation in Colombia, I was still hooked from the beginning. By the time I met Julie Baker on page 71, I was invested in exploring the mystery with her. This is the best book I've read this year!! As I read it, I kept wondering how much was truth and how much was fiction, as it all seemed so real and plausible. That realism is a testament to Jeanette's familiarity with Colombia, as well as her extensive research. Originally written in 2001 (completed on September 11, 2001) and published in 2002, the copy I was reading is a re-release. Yet, even 10 years later, this book is still current and realistic.
Even more important, it is a truly CHRISTIAN book. The characters wrestle with deep questions about their faith and the ugliness of this world we live in. As they work through these feelings and confusion, their conversation presents the gospel and God's truth in a way that is entirely natural and compelling. It didn't feel forced or preachy, but it showed the deep faith of the characters as they dealt with their hurts and the harsh reality of the situations they faced in Colombia. The author doesn't offer us easy answers and trite platitudes through her character's lives, either.
The DMZ is a political-suspense book filled with mystery, action, history, romance, and a strong Christian foundation. Its exotic setting introduces you to a new country, as well as the varied people who live there. Jeanette Windle truly brings both Colombia's beauty, and its ugly side to life. She weaves the beliefs and philosophy of its people into the story with artistry and ease. I highly recommend The DMZ ... add it to your summer reading list!
This book was provided free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received, and this is my honest opinion.