an>In Keating’s (An Advent for Religious Liberty, 2012, etc.) thriller, a formidable pastor’s trip to Las Vegas takes a nasty turn when masked men kidnap his wife.
Long Island Pastor Stephen Grant and his wife, Jennifer, are Vegas-bound to attend a conference at Jennifer’s alma mater, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. They reluctantly agree to stay at a casino hotel owned by Dixon Shaw, Jennifer’s estranged father who had cheated on her mother. Vegas immediately seems shady; two incognito men lurk near the couple. One, Gil Rice, blames Shaw for the presumed murder of missing son Ollie; the other, Eric Clark, was busted by Grant in a smuggling operation when both were CIA agents. A vengeance-minded individual may be the one who spearheaded the eventual abduction and ransom of Jennifer. Grant, however, who in addition to being ex-CIA is also a former SEAL, won’t sit idle while someone holds his wife hostage. The protagonist is the quintessential antihero: he’s a good man respected by his peers at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church but is infuriated by the evil of others. Grant may or may not kill before the story’s finished, but he’s unquestionably wrought with guilt over his murderous impulses. Action scenes flood the novel, particularly once Grant gets help from old CIA cohort Paige Caldwell, who comes complete with skills, weapons, and other men. The story stretches plausibility on occasion, like when FBI agents, who’ve tracked down the kidnappers’ possible location, bring the abductee’s husband along for the ride and give him a gun. Grant, meanwhile, may be flawed as a man of God, but Keating ensures that readers know the protagonist isn’t the norm. A decidedly more wholesome pastor, for example, is back in Long Island, advising a woman who may be losing her faith after her husband’s accidental death.
A gritty, action-stuffed, well-considered thriller with a gun-toting clergyman.