From Publishers Weekly
Los Angeles television reporter Sydney St. James usually covers topics like erectile dysfunction and the birth of a hippopotamus at the local zoo. Then she suddenly finds herself in the middle of the story of her career: a terrorist plot that has baffled government experts and pundits. Terrorists are sending messages (e.g., by telegram or e-mail) to unsuspecting recipients, informing them that they will die in 48 hours. And the deaths come as promised. After Sydney stumbles across one of the "Death Watch" messages at an accident scene, people near and dear to her begin to receive threats, and she sets out to expose the perpetrators. But she doesn't face this awesome task alone. She's shored up by her strong, evangelical Christian faith, and she forges an unlikely partnership with German reporting star Hans Vonner. The ending leaves readers hanging just a tad—perhaps the authors are setting up a sequel—but it makes a refreshing change from the expected perfectly pat conclusion. Cavanaugh and Kuiper give readers intrigue as well as sacrificial characters who make tough decisions and take great risk to do what they think is right. No one will mistake this book for a literary thriller, but it's fast-paced and lean, and guaranteed to entertain CBA readers. (June)
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features Sydney St. James, intrepid girl reporter for a Los Angeles TV station, who stumbles onto the story of a lifetime: all over the world, people are receiving notices of their imminent death. No matter what precautions are taken, the deaths occur as announced--to good, bad, famous, and obscure people. The explanation for why is pretty thin stuff, however, and may prove unsatisfactory to readers other than evangelicals.
Christian novels often mask as realistic, but the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association's code of purity, and the necessity to take the party line on doctrinal matters, is more likely to inspire propaganda than realism. Cramer vaults past such restrictions, however, with his story of a brooding young Amish man, Will Mullet, who in 1943 flees his home in Ohio. There's his pitiless father, Levi, who cannot be reasoned with, and a girlfriend, Mattie, whose pregnancy has caused Will to be banned. After knocking about on the road for a while, Will enlists, and irony of ironies for a pacifist, finds a home in the army. He's a good man but seems remote and intractable to his sons, and he's a difficult husband as well throughout his prickly but unbreakable marriage. (The confrontation between Will's wife, Helen, and a circle of judgmental Amish women is priceless.) As he grows older, Will tries to go home again but cannot; nor does his stubborn father mellow even a little. Yet in time there's forgiveness to be had, and wisdom, in this beautiful and original story that neither damns nor praises the Amish but simply presents them. This is accomplished work. John Mort
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