A thousand years ago when I was a teenager I picked up a copy of Jack Finney's novel, The Body Snatchers. In that book part of California (where else?) is invaded by extra-terrestrial seed-pods dispatched to earth by an alien power. The pods then proceed to replace sleeping humans with almost perfect alien replicas while the ill-fated human hosts turn to dust.
The Contract, a new book by co-authors Gwen Plano and John Howell, also has a body-snatcher motif, but unlike Finney's book it is limited to just two humans and the entities that inhabit their bodies are not toxic aliens. Instead, they are celestial beings (Peter and Teresa) sent by the "Elders" in heaven to head off a potential earth-ending disaster. (Our planet today should be so lucky!)
A network of terrorists is seeking global dominance and to achieve that, they must, among other things, eliminate the U.S. President. That's about as far as I will go in revealing the fast moving plot of this captivating and absorbing book.
However, unlike Finney's The Body Snatchers with its far-fetched alien seed pods that drift seemingly unimpeded through space until they land on earth, The Contract leaves you pondering the distinct possibility of divine intervention. The two unsuspecting "hosts" are Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O'Brien, a teacher. Just as in Finney's book, The Contract's climax occurs in California--a woeful state that, as we all know, clearly needs all the help it can get, celestial or otherwise.
The Contract deftly combines the thorny elements of a gripping thriller with the more muted ingredients of a love story. That is not an easy thing to do--especially when there are two authors mixing the literary chowder.
However, Gwen Plano and John Howell are experienced and gifted storytellers who clearly work well together. Both of them recognize the critical elements of pacing, character development, conflict, active voice, and evocative description. You get all of that in The Contract, as well as a highly compelling story.
I found very little to nit-pick in The Contract. The book begins with The Elders in heaven calling a meeting to discuss impending doom on earth. The celestial scenes at the beginning of the book were reminiscent of ancient Greek gods like Zeus and Aphrodite convening on Mount Olympus to cautiously and methodically choreograph the lives of mere mortals below. Nonetheless, the rousing story that unfolds back on earth moves swiftly and evocatively.
This is a book well worth your time. And after you read it, you can sleep soundly without worrying about those pesky pods!
~Ronald E. Yates, award-winning author of the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy
The Contract is the perfect blending between the physical and unseen world with unbreakable bonds between human and spirit. ~ Jan Sikes, award-winning author and accomplished musician
I really enjoyed this story. It was unique, exciting, action-packed, spiritual, a love story, a lesson in what is important in life -- all the things I like in one book. Very relevant book for the times we are in now. ~ D.L. Finn, award-winning author of No Fairy Tale and This Second Chance
About the Author
John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.