In Delaney’s debut, Christian-themed thriller, a Texas youth minister becomes the target of a diabolical group that’s assassinating members of a religious movement.
Three of Andrew Morrison’s friends have been murdered in the last month. They, like him, were ministerial leaders in the Call, a music-oriented Christian organization that aims to bring young people into the church. But Intracor Pharmaceuticals is perturbed by the Call’s political repercussions; popular U.S. Sen. Barry Hatcher (R-Texas), who was inspired by the movement, has proposed a bill that will limit Intracor’s business and surely reduce its profits. So company officials enlist assassin Nicolai Virshenko to take out the leaders of the Call. Later, Intracor changes its strategy to abduction, but it’s clear that Andrew, as well as his wife, Beth, and their kids, are still in danger. Andrew’s church provides a safe place for his family, but Nicolai’s mercenary colleagues continue to search for them. The recent murders, meanwhile, have caught the attention of the FBI, which narrows down its list of suspects to Intracor management. Andrew also asks his pastor friend, Trevor Haas, for help. Luckily, all the Morrisons have guardian angels whose God-given mission is to protect “the special family.” Delaney minimizes the novel’s supernatural aspects, as the angels, such as Orion, only appear—or intervene—intermittently. This definitely amps up the suspense, as Andrew, Beth, and Trevor are constantly in peril, even with the angels watching them. The story’s swift pace leads to a rousing, winter showdown between Andrew and Nicolai involving the titular cold, dark mine shaft. Unfortunately, numerous errors mar the book, including inaccurate dates. Villainous Nicolai’s backstory is also muddled; at different points, his age is stated to be 30 and 51, and an FBI computer system lists his birthplace as New York state, despite the fact that his Floridian parents adopted him in Russia. And none of this explains his “thick Russian accent”—or his frustration over someone else’s “thick Russian accent.”
A tight, suspenseful tale, hampered by numerous flaws.