Traitor’s Pawn

Reviewed by:

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

Title:

Traitor’s Pawn

Author:

Lisa Harris

Publisher:

Revell

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/revell

Publication Date:

March 2020

Format:

Paperback

Length:

366 pages

OVERVIEW

FBI agent Jack Shannon thinks he’s put his feelings for Aubrey Grayson behind him. But when someone shoots a senator and Aubrey gets abducted, he realizes things aren’t that simple. Then it turns out the assailant may not have been trying to get at the senator at all, and the abduction may have something to do with a spy ring Jack is trying to uncover. Can he move fast enough to find the truth out what’s really going on?

Harris builds a great plot, with wonderful balance between the technical aspects and the relational elements. She particularly excels at creating a backstory the heroes have to uncover bit by bit, and shocks them every step of the way.

Unfortunately, the writing style keeps these elements from reaching their potential. Harris spends a lot of time talking about what the characters think, using descriptions that get the point across but don’t have much impact. For example, in one scene Jack Shannon listens to another character describe her difficult childhood and readers get the following: “Jack studied her while she spoke, struck – not for the first time – by how one person’s actions could affect so many people.” This description makes sense, but it’s very generic. The wording doesn’t give readers a sense of Jack’s distinct thought patterns, make him feel real. As a result, readers never get the full emotional impact. Plenty of exciting or dangerous things happen, but no one feels real enough to be worth caring about.

A solid but distant thriller hampered by lack of characterization. 

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

2.5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians who enjoy suspense thrillers with a dash of romance.

Christian Impact

Harris uses one character’s struggles with her father to generate conversations about faith, the problem of evil, forgiveness and redemption. Unfortunately, Harris doesn’t develop the dialogue to make these ideas feel new and compelling. She has the characters recite well-used quotes and explanations which sound like something taken from a church pamphlet or a Christian apologetics workbook. Granted, there are only so many ways someone can say “forgiveness is sometimes more the victims than the accusers.” But there are genuinely other ways to say it. If that doesn’t work, the writer can set up the scene so that characters only say a few words and readers know what they’re thinking about.

More importantly, Harris is writing for people who have heard this sort of thing already. Christian Fiction novels are generally marketed to Christians who grew up going to church and still attend it. Therefore, most of the readers have been exposed to dozens (if not hundreds) of sermons, pamphlets and assorted books on basic Christian thinking. They don’t need books that recycle Christian quotes they’ve been hearing since they were children. They need books that find new ways to say those ideas.

The Traitor's Pawn


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