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|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: David C Cook
Publication Date: 2012
The Next Target marks Arana's first attempt at the suspense genre, although it began, like her other award-winning novels, as women's fiction. As a result of the switch, the pace ambles where it should run and sprints where it ought to draw out the suspense. Whereas readers of women's fiction might appreciate the detailed descriptions of Austia's inner conflicts, suspense fans will find the book a novice attempt at the genre. Plot devices are introduced too late and seem to come out of nowhere. Secrets are revealed too quickly, and hopeless situations are explained away vaguely. It has the ingredients of a great suspense novel, but lacks the execution.
Its strength, however, is its characters' conflicts. Austia works to bring Islamic women to Christ, even as she struggles with her own bitterness over the loss of her husband at the hands of radical Muslims. Those extremists still threaten her ministry, which, for security reasons, Austia runs under the guise of an English language school. The danger becomes imminent, however, when one of Austia's students is killed by her family for converting to Christianity. Soon, Austia finds herself in the relentless path of a terrorist organization.
As in any good suspense story, Arana's characters, both good and wicked, spiral around each other in an effort to conceal their own secrets, while uncovering those of others. Through the deception, Austia must test her belief that love can conquer anything, whether cultural differences or prejudicial hate. The book uses sometimes preachy, yet no less insightful passages to illustrate the message of 1 Corinthians 12:13, that God loves all people and wants them to be saved: "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit."
The book proclaims an important message, while humanizing the plight of Muslim women, and an author question-and-answer section in the back provides more insight into the subject. Women who have enjoyed Arana's past novels will appreciate the intertwining relationships. Suspense fans, however, may be disappointed to find a romantic drama where they expected a tale of danger. - Deborah Rocheleau, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com