Thursday, July 6, 2017

Book Reviews - Danger Close & Kiloton Threat by General William G. Boykin and Tom Morrisey

It's been a very long time since I've read any modern "Christian" fiction. The last series I read was the first few books in the Left Behind series, and that was enough to keep me away for a decade and a half.

However, with the arrival of my church's Summer Reading Challenge, I figured I should set a good example for my kids and participate as well. Our church has a small, but well stocked library, but while I love biographies, I didn't want to spend my whole summer reading them. Nor did I have much interest in romance novels, Christian or otherwise. Danger Close, however, caught my eye.

Co-authored by retired Army General William G. Boykin and Tom Morrisey, Danger Close follows the story of Blake Kershaw, a former Special Forces operative drawn into the secret world of CIA black ops and tasked with infiltrating an Al Qaeda cell to stop a plan for a major attack on American soil. It's difficult to determine how much of the writing was done by either author, but it's clear that General Boykin provided a lot of technical details - combat sequences, tactics, and weapon and equipment use all have an accuracy that many civilian authors struggle to find.

Kiloton Threat follows a similar arc to Danger Close, sending Blake back into harm's way on another extremely dangerous mission. This time the location is in Iran, and Israel is squarely in the crosshairs.
They also avoid another major problem in a lot of Christian fiction, one I like to call the "Every Secret Christian" trap. There's a tendency for some authors, when writing towards this specific audience, to make every good an helpful person a Christian, no matter how improbable that may be. Both Danger Close and Kiloton Threat avoid this pitfall. Blake and many of the people he works closely with are Christians, true, but members of other faiths, including Jews and Muslims, also prove to be trustworthy allies. In this regard, these two books are often more reflective of the real world than a lot of mainline fiction from authors who seem to conveniently forget that most of the world's population does believe in some form of religion, and that their religion does effect their daily lives.

These books aren't classic Tom Clancy levels of plotting or characters, however, I would definitely stack them up there with some of the second tier (but still quite interesting) authors like W.E.B. Griffin. In a lot of ways, since these books don't feature the sex and foul language often found in techno-thrillers, they have a lot more in common with YA novels. Good plot, interesting characters, but nothing you'd feel uncomfortable reading with an inquisitive 11-year-old reading over your shoulder. Highly recommended, and don't let the "Christian" imprint put you off.

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