A well-written story that centers on the life and family of Jack Crittendon, a reporter for the Trenton City Dispatch. The man who has chosen to stalk his wife, Pamela, and the missing pastor of a near by church provide the focus of the story. The lives of three men, Jack, the stalker, and the pastor, are drawn together - forcing each of them to see God in new and unexpected ways. Even when life seems to be falling apart, God is at work.
Though I enjoyed the story, I was a bit dismayed by the level of violence and evil of the various characters described throughout the book. I suspect that if this were a movie, the film would require at least a PG-13 rating, or perhaps an R rating.
With the exception of this single cautionary note, the book is a keen look at God at work in the lives of people from very different places in their lives. I give it a strong recommendation.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.
Jack Crittendon's family has been targeted. An unknown man breaks into their house but steals only some jewellery and a Bible. His wife is almost run off the road by an unknown assailant, and he is accused of possessing child pornography. At the same time, he is investigating the disappearance and possible suicide of a local pastor, Evan McDaniel, whose wife is convinced he is still alive, even though his colleagues appear equally convinced he isn't. Jack slowly uncovers information that suggests things were not as they first appeared. What follows is a fast-paced action novel as Jack tries to protect his family and solve the mystery of the pastor's disappearance.
I found Fear Has No Name difficult to get in to. There was a lot happening, and I didn't find Pam Crittendon to be a compelling character. That might be a little unfair, as she'd just been the victim of a home invasion, so we were seeing her at her worst, but I found her difficult to like or even to empathise with. Jack wasn't much better, because he seemed to be back and forth between the McDaniel investigation and his own family problems. It seemed that he was the only person investigating the pastor's disappearance, and while the plotting was solid, it didn't strike me as realistic that people would give all this information to a reporter rather than the police, and I felt there were times when the McDaniel subplot detracted from the main plot.
However, things improved dramatically around a quarter of the way when we began to get the point of view of the stalker. I've read advice to novelists that the antagonist should have a motive, something in his personal history that makes him act the way he does. I read too many novels where the author has taken this advice but it feels to me, as a reader, as though that history has just been tacked on the end and feels more like an excuse than a motivation.
Fear Has A Name was different. By giving us the point of view of the stalker, Mapes has managed to integrate his personal history and give me a real sense of compassion for him, to see him as a real person (albeit one with a difficult background and an inappropriate way of acting on his feelings). This is a real strength in his writing, as is his seamless integration of Christianity. This is Christian fiction, complete with sermons, prayers and a gospel message, but it manages to achieve all this without coming across as preachy.
Fear Has A Name is full of flawed characters who have something in their personal history that causes them to act the way they do, from the stalker to Evan McDaniel to Margaret, Pam's neurotic mother. Once we see and understand the circumstances that made the people who they are, we are better able to relate and empathise with them, whether they are the Ã¢â¬Ëgoodies' or not. Recommended. Just not if you're alone in the house.
Thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
I began Fear Has a Name late one Saturday night, thinking I'd just read the first chapter to get my feet wet and then pick it back up the next night. Well, little did I know it was going to suck me in and almost make me late for church the next morning because I stayed up too late reading. The story starts with a home invasion that leaves you a little unnerved and hoping you locked your doors before you went to bed. There's more to this story than just the break-in though. There's a web of interconnected characters that each have questions in life that need answering. I found myself sympathizing with characters I normally wouldn't haveÃ¢â¬âlike the bully. There is a struggling minister in this story and, having been in the church and in a pastor's family for most of my life, I truly related to the angst this family felt. Toward the end of the book, the tension and thrilling fast-paced scenes just about made me chew my nails off. I recommend reading this book today!
I always read something before bed. On this particular night it was already late but I picked up Fear Has A Name and began to read. By the end of chapter one I was completely creeped out but I just couldn't put the book down. I should have known better than to start a Creston Mapes' book that late at night!
I was utterly intrigued by the emotions this work of fiction aroused. At the beginning I hated the stalker/intruder. How dare he invade someone's home and threaten harm to a helpless mom and her two daughters! What type of man does that?
We soon find out who this sick person is and then the struggle begins. The story delves into the idea of showing mercy to one who by all humanly speaking accounts doesn't deserve it. It is easy to hate someone you don't know but what about that person that you do? What if you've grown up with this person and you know what they've been subject to?
Mr. Mapes weaves for us an electrifying, heart-pumping tale that draws you into the mind of each of the characters. But what sets this novel apart from other thrillers is that it also makes us consider the mind of God. Through gut wrenching circumstances the individuals are faced with decisions that force them to acknowledge that not only is God in control but He also has a plan that is way bigger than the persons that are directly involved.
This was an amazing kick off to a new series. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series which will be titled Poison Town. In total suspense style, Creston and David C. Cook Publishers have included the first couple of chapters of Poison Town in the back of Fear Has A Name. Why oh why did I read it . . . it cuts off at a very critical point and now I'll have to wait until February 2014 to read the rest! Can you say ANTICIPATION?!!
I received a copy of this book to fascilitate my review.
Creston Mapes builds an intricate plot weaving themes of a wondering pastor fighting depression, home invasion, and parental abuse due to twisted Christianity. A parent's biggest fear is the safety and security of his/her children, and this book strikes that tender area. The tension is tight throughout the book, and the questions make the reader think about their choices, plans, and assumptions. This is an excellent choice for anyone who appreciates a wild ride that keeps you guessing until the end.