by Dee Henderson
Even though I am a Christian, I am not usually impressed by “Christian” fiction. Too often it is shallow, fluffy kind of writing with band-aid answers to spiritual questions. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.
But Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series (of which Danger in the Shadows is the prequel) does not fall into that category. The series is intense, with well-paced stories, good mysteries, likable people, and Christians who are actually wrestling with real problems. Henderson is not afraid to face real questions about faith–about why bad things happen to good people, how God can be good when so many people who claim to follow Him are jerks, about faith and the resurrection and trust. And while she doesn’t just brush those questions off, her writing isn’t full of sermons, either. Just brief, realistic dialogue that raises and addresses questions naturally throughout the story.
My only real beef with these stories is that you have to give Henderson a lot of leeway for the initial set-up, as her stories are about people with rather unusual jobs and situations. A U.S. Marshall, a hostage negotiator, a forensic investigator, an FBI agent–these books aren’t really about your next-door neighbor. Still. It’s fiction.
So. More on the O’Malleys when their time comes (The Negotiator is technically the first book in the series). For now, Danger in the Shadows.
This book is about a young woman, Sara, who is under FBI protection (conveniently lead by her brother, Dave) because, as the daughter of a diplomat, she and her twin sister were kidnapped as children and held hostage; her sister died. The kidnapper was never caught, and has continued to stalk Sara throughout her life. In the book, all of these events come together a rather climactic fashion when Sara meets and falls in love with Adam, who happens to be a famous (retired) football player.
The story is exciting and well-paced, and the love story is nice but not annoying. I will say as a caution that basically all of Henderson’s book involve a Christian falling love with a non-Christian, and then the non-Christian becomes a Christian through various circumstances and then everything ends happily. However, I would not personally recommend that as a very likely scenario; Christian/non-Christian dating more often results in complications and stress. Still, because it’s fiction, you know everything is going to end well, so you just go with it.
An enjoyable read if you like suspense, and a book that I think you will enjoy even if you aren’t really into the Christian scene. 4/5.