The String

Reviewed by: G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title: The String (Deadly Games #1)

Author: Caleb Breakey

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Publication Date: July 2019

Format: Paperback

Length: 336 pages

OVERVIEW

He calls himself “the conductor.” He appears from nowhere and blackmails people to join “the string,” a collection of individuals who do whatever he commands. If anyone disobeys, he sends the rest of the string after them. University policeman Markus Haas doesn’t know what the conductor wants with him or how many people he controls. He does know that he’s got to stop this killer before anyone else gets hurts. The question is whether he can do that while keeping his girlfriend and her two young daughters safe.

Stories about mysterious killers running conspiracies are always exciting, but often lose their plausibility as the story goes on. At a certain point, the killer’s elaborate traps and resources make the story seem more like science fiction. Breakey’s concept cunningly avoids that problem and makes the plot scarier than many similar books. He leads readers on a harrowing chase filled with brutal plot twists, gripping dialogue and a fascinating mystery the readers have to unpeel bit by bit. A terrific psychological thriller and hopefully the start of a promising career.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

4 stars

Intended Audience

Readers who enjoy crime thrillers involving hunts for serial killers, conspiracies or mind games.

Christian Impact

Two main characters discuss prayer and their developing faith. The villain describes himself in godlike terms and his plans create conversations about human will, whether it can be subdued, and whether human beings can aspire to play God over others.

Some readers may feel these themes are too subtle for a Christian Fiction novel, and admittedly it wouldn’t be hard to rebrand this book as a mainstream novel. However, more overt religious elements would probably have damaged the novel’s readability. Crime thrillers involving serial killers are very plot-driven, and anything not connected to the hunt to find the killer must take the backseat. Unless the writer adds religious elements in a clever way (think Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon with its William Blake references), spiritual discussions tend to feel contrived within the genre.

About Cecelia Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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