Thursday, May 20, 2010

Predator by Terri Blackstock

Note: I received this book free from the publisher to review...I read it and have posted my review below. But first, here are the official blurbs.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Predator (Zondervan, May 25, 2010) by Terri Blackstock


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Terri Blackstock’s books have sold six million copies worldwide. Her suspense novels often debut at number one on the Christian fiction best-seller lists, and True Light, published last year, was number one of all Christian books—fiction and non-fiction. Blackstock has had twenty-five years of success as a novelist.

In 1994 Blackstock was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, in addition to the thirty-two she had in the secular market. Her most recent books are the four in her acclaimed Restoration Series, which includes Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light. She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 and Cape Refuge Series.

In addition to her suspense novels, she has written a number of novels in the women’s fiction genre, including Covenant Child, which was chosen as one of the first Women of Faith novels, and her Seasons Series written with Beverly LaHaye, wife of Tim LaHaye.

Blackstock has won the Retailer’s Choice Award and has appeared on national television programs such as The 700 Club, Home Life, and At Home Live with Chuck and Jenny. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country and the subject of countless articles. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
The murder of Krista Carmichael's fourteen-year-old sister by an online predator has shaken her faith and made her question God's justice and protection. Desperate to find the killer, she creates an online persona to bait the predator. But when the stalker turns his sights on her, will Krista be able to control the outcome?

Ryan Adkins started the social network GrapeVyne in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation. But he never expected it to become a stalking ground for online Predators. One of them lives in his town and has killed two girls and attacked a third. When Ryan meets Krista, the murders become more than a news story to him, and everything is on the line.

Joining forces, he and Krista set out to stop the killer. But when hunters pursue a hunter, the tables can easily turn. Only God can protect them now.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Predator, go here.

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Some of my thoughts: First off Blackstock is a competent writer, not great, but solid. So you won't be embarrassed recommending her or being caught reading this type of CBA product. Predator has an interesting, if not a very compelling, premise. It covers contemporary yet familiar ground: a murder mystery occasioned by an online social networking stalker. The subject matter is adult oriented (if you don't like reading about serial rapists/murderers, you won't like this story). There are faith elements (questioning God's role in an evil world, etc.), but the Christian themes weren't woven into the story very tightly, imo; they seemed stitched on and could easily be edited out in order to turn this book into an ABA offering.

My biggest challenge was the implausible "insider" world of the Facebook-like company that Blackstock describes. Some of the explanations as to how data is gathered and the role that computer programmers play in this story just didn't ring true. It was as if the author wrote about things she didn't have first-hand experience or knowledge of, but instead of doing research she relied on general knowledge that true "insiders" would find laughable. But then, most of her reading audience probably isn't worried about being extremely accurate in the details. I guess I'm too used to reading John Grisham and Tom Clancy - authors that Blackstock is trying to emulate both in style and genre, but hasn't quite succeeded.

If you enjoy a bit of mystery with some Christian themes and a moderate dose (at times a bit tedious, even) of socially relevant commentary, then you might like this book. But read it quick, it'll become outdated in a year or two. I give the book 7 out of 10.
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