Skip to main content

BookTuesday: The Alarmists

The Alarmists
Today’s review book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review. No cash changed hands, they just sent me a book. Here’s a link to their own info page about the book, where you can get an excerpt and some author data.
What happens when you take a military unit charged with investigating “unexplained phenomena” and add a skeptical sociologist? For that matter, where do you find a skeptical sociologist? The Alarmist by Don Hoesel is concerned with the former and not the latter of those questions. He has set the table with a group called the NIIU, a group of active-duty Army officers and specialists that investigate odd things around the world.
One thing that they’ve noticed is an increase of work lately, and so the boss, Colonel Jameson Richards, contracts with sociologist Brent Michaels to try and determine what’s going on behind the scenes. The book takes place against the backdrop of the coming 2012 hysteria and in the midst of the current destabilized world of terrorism and high-dollar economics.
Woven within the story are elements of romance between Michaels and a member of the NIIU team. The groundwork is laid for a future between the two, but it’s definitely not the focus. Also as part of the background chatter of the book are the various odd things the NIIU has investigated over recent years. Most of it is dismissed from further discussion as Michaels is told that, well, “that’s classified.”
The book does not hint that the government really does just classify such things or even try to make a case that such investigations actually exist. Hoesel has just found a good framing point for a novel.
The action here moves at a good pace, and the resolution is satisfactory. One thing with a novel like this that introduces a “new ______(hero, heroic team, whatever)” is the fear that the author is as concerned with a sequel as he is with the current work. Hoesel does not give that impression. If he never writes another novel with these characters, the reader won’t be left wondering what happened.
However, the reader will wonder what else the NIIU could get themselves into….and I’d love to read that and find out.
A word about the label of “Christian” on this book: this is not a blatantly evangelistic book, like Left Behind was. Rather it is a book that shows Christian people and non-Christian people working together to solve problems. There are discussions of faith and the value of faith, but I did not see it as over-the-top. The other product of being a “Christian” novel is a lack of profanity or sexual discussion. This book avoids those, and is no worse for it. True, it’s likely that some of these characters would use a different vocabulary, but they may not have. I grew up in a house with a military officer who talked like the ones in this book, so it’s not unrealistic. Adding sex to the character’s lives would have bogged down the plot, so that’s not a major loss either.
In all, I recommend this one. It’s not super difficult, so it would probably work for teens on up.
Doug

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Sermon Recap for October 14

Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!