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.