Simplistic in its pitting of good vs. evil but of interest to readers intrigued by popular Christian views put up against...


A Walk Through Heaven & Hell

The third volume in Carey’s (A Walk Through the Mall, 2011) Flaming Sword series sees a mix of humans and angels in battle against the forces of Satan.

It is 2010, and Wyatt Hunter, a Christian author in his mid-40s, is excited but cautious to promote his book on a public access station in Boston, where he’ll share the stage with a potentially hostile atheist author. Coaching him in advance is the jovial, golf-loving angel Mick, who stresses the importance of defending Wyatt’s faith with useful biblical passages. Meanwhile, Wyatt’s twin brother, Caleb, is involved in a very different pursuit: Leading a group of Satanists who practice their dark arts in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Caleb strives to undo everything Wyatt believes. After Wyatt is unexpectedly attacked after his TV appearance, he finds himself in a spiritual realm discussing not only his own future but the future of others, particularly his brother’s evil plan to fill the world with the spawn of Satan. Will Caleb succeed in creating a nation of Satan’s disciples? Interspersed with moments in heaven (where events occur such as finding one’s “bag of popcorn was absolutely perfect—with no unpopped kernels”), satanic sacrifices, biblical passages and bubbly young Christians who refer to each other as “dude,” the book maintains a bouncy, light feel even in times of violence and distress. Readers who view surrender to Jesus Christ as essential and the need for a creator as absolute will find much to relish in the heroic tale of Wyatt and his associates. Though good guys tend to be really good (succumbing to the temptation of a cigarette every now and again) and the bad guys tend to be really bad (murdering innocents out of a love of their dark lord), the story moves at a steady pace for readers intrigued by down-home angels and a heaven where baseball not only exists but is occasionally played by Jesus himself.

Simplistic in its pitting of good vs. evil but of interest to readers intrigued by popular Christian views put up against Nazi-sympathizing Satanists.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1462733712

Page Count: 410

Publisher: CrossBooks

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

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This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.


Rumors of lost Egyptian treasure spark high adventure in this 17th in the NUMA series featuring oceanographer Kurt Austin and his crew (Sea of Greed, 2018, etc.).

Over 3,000 years ago, grave robbers sail away with loot from a pharaoh’s tomb. In 1927, Jake Melbourne and his plane disappear in his attempt at a trans-Atlantic flight. In the present day, arms merchants known as the Bloodstone Group have taken to stealing antiquities. They are looking for a “treasure both vast and glorious” that hieroglyphics say was shipped down the Nile and out of Egypt, perhaps even west across the Atlantic. (Holy scurvy! That must’ve been a lot of hard rowing!) The criminals are known to MI5 as “very dangerous people" and "merchants selling death.” Perfectly willing to kill everyone in their way, they are aided by mechanical crows and Fydor and Xandra, nasty sibling assassins jointly called the Toymaker. Such are the foes faced by Austin and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency. Of course, Austin has no interest in profit; he will gladly leave the ancient riches wherever they are. Action arrives early and often, and the failed pre-Lindbergh flight fits in neatly. Cussler and Brown concoct a nifty plot with disparate, sometimes over-the-top twists that will make even hardcore adventure fans say “Wow!” Expect claustrophobic gunfights, aerial combat, a life-threatening flood, messages from the dead, coffins of gold—and a vintage classic car, because why not? “We’re going to steal the greatest deposit of Egyptian treasure the world has ever known,” brags the evil mastermind. But he’ll have to climb over the series hero’s dead body first, which—no plot spoiler here—ain’t gonna happen.

This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08308-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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