"An intriguing... take on Christian fiction."– Kirkus Reviews
Logue (The Student Prophet: New Partners, 2010, etc.) offers another globe-trotting thriller with Christian themes.
This final installment in the Student Prophet trilogy brings readers back into the world of Jeff Fitzpatrick, a Penn State University psychology professor who, as a young boy, realized he was a prophet of God; he later teamed up with the FBI to use to his visionary powers to protect the world from forces of evil bent on destroying it. In this book, 50-year-old Jeff finds himself on a strange beach on his birthday, apparently experiencing a dream covering the big events of the past 30 years of his life. His old nemeses the Dragon and the Leader are back, still set on hunting down and destroying Jeff, his family and friends, and fellow prophets Fatima and Rachel. Scenes of high drama stand alongside touching domestic moments, including family tragedy, which make the story an emotional page turner. Unfortunately, at some points, the dream framework works against the narrative; when Jeff skims over roughly three decades of life events to catch up to the present day, for example, readers are given an immense amount of information. As a suspense novel, it has a tendency to show its hand too soon, and the prose is occasionally awkward, including dialogue that too often reads like exposition: “You know, Raphael, even though we are archangels, we still have limitations in what we can do.” Despite these missteps, the story has a real depth of feeling, and the smaller moments between Jeff and his family and friends present appealing images of Christian life. The book’s take on theodicy and the power of God, although never addressed head-on, may also interest some readers. Christians who enjoy James Bond will certainly find something to sink their teeth into.
An intriguing, if uneven, take on Christian fiction.
International intrigue with an inspirational twist.
In the second book of his series, Logue (The Student Prophet: Initiation Rites, 2009) creates a world where both the FBI and God find college football as important as global acts of terrorism. Jeff Fitzpatrick—Penn State sophomore, Blue Band drummer, part-time FBI agent and prophet of God—defends the Earth from the work of the Leader and his evil, archangelic cohorts the Dragon (disguised as terrorist Professor Ronald Blackstone) and Adam, now a rogue FBI agent. In this installment, Jeff gets help from two new international prophets, Jewish Rachel and Muslim Fatima, who possess his same ability to foretell tragic events. The FBI faces enemies from within and without while the prophets suspect their friends of being guardian angels and Jeff finds romance in an unexpected place. The powers of evil prepare new terrorist attacks, including some close to home for Jeff, and draw al-Qaida cells, Mexican drug cartels and even the CIA into their plot. A bevy of effusive family, friends and religious confidants supports Jeff through the challenges and dangers that come from occupying the difficult position of being a student prophet, helping him juggle school, family changes, physical danger and spiritual doubt. Though all the elements of gripping drama are present, Logue’s repetitive, clunky prose gets in the way of the suspense. Unnecessary, unnatural dialogue makes the characters feel one-dimensional. Key moments, such as fights between the forces of good and evil, are briefly narrated, wasting many opportunities for drama and excitement. Despite this, the book’s world is compelling for its mix of the strange and the familiar. Characters and their struggles are broadly relatable, even if their inner lives are too often told rather than shown. Family values, the importance of friendship and God’s constant presence are inspirational themes that could be better used in service of the author’s religious goals. However, Logue possesses an inherent understanding of what makes an action and adventure novel, and this keeps the story moving despite itself.
Readers valuing plot over prose will appreciate the book’s strengths.