Fans of war stories and Christian fiction should be rooting for the hard-nosed hero to find grace.



In this novel about the war on terror, bravery and faith go hand in hand.

This American military drama begins in 2003 in a village square near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Dressed as an Afghan woman, Special Operations officer Jake Drecker slips into the crowd and shoots a Taliban leader in the head. Meanwhile, an American Christian missionary has been kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. And on that very same day, Special Ops forces in the mountains north of Jalalabad in Afghanistan are about to be overtaken by Chechens, but they are saved by a mysterious army. Weaving these incidents together, the author creates a story of heart-pounding action and edge-of-the-seat suspense. Jake is a professional killing machine who struggles with his past and sarcastically refers to himself as a “nice Jewish kid from Hawaii.” His commander, Michael “Pancho” Sanchez, leads the Prodigal Avenger Special Operations task force. Soon to be promoted to colonel, Pancho has a high degree of respect for Jake and the other soldiers in the field. Pancho’s last wish before becoming a paper-pusher is granted when he and Jake must take out the terrorist Abbas Bin Azzam. But a defect in the plan occurs when the missionary hostage is placed in their crosshairs. Can they obliterate the bad guy while saving the captive? Or is Jake going on a crazy suicide mission? Though the real star of this novel is Jesus (Jake fights an inner battle with disbelief), the Christian theme is not heavy-handed in the story, and any reader should appreciate the predicaments of the characters involved. Moynihan’s (No Greater Love, 2015) polished prose is fast-paced, and his gritty descriptions are sometimes starkly poetic. For example, during one exchange of fire, “the mini-guns opened up and began chewing up the hilltop. Shimmering brass shell casings fell in twisting clumps from the guns to the earth below.” The author also offers some singular points of view. In a scene that’s both compassionate and provocative, readers go inside the mind of a failed suicide bomber to find out how he came to such a low point in his life.

Fans of war stories and Christian fiction should be rooting for the hard-nosed hero to find grace.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948888-79-0

Page Count: 298

Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2019

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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