2013 Book 14: Congo Dawn, by Jeanette Windle
Reason for Reading: This is my first (and feature) book for the 2013 Social Justice Theme Read. An ARC was provided by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. The author will be giving away a copy of this book to one lucky reader (shipping in US and Canada only). If you would like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below with your email address OR email me at roachcutie AT gmail DOT com with a request. I close the giveaway on 2/8/2013.
Synopsis (provided by publisher / author):
When a multinational corporation with unlimited funds hires on a private military company with unbridled power, how far might they be willing to go with the planet's ultimate "conflict mineral" up for grabs? Especially in a Congolese rainforest where governmental accountability is only too cheaply for sale.
A veteran in handling corruption and conspiracy, former Marine lieutenant Robin Duncan has never had any trouble discerning good guys from bad. But when her security team is sent to track down an insurgent killer, Robin faces a man who broke her trust years ago and discovers that gray areas extend deeper into the jungle than she anticipated.
As a vicious global conspiracy emerges, run by brutal men who don’t leave witnesses alive, Robin must decide if there is anyone left she can trust. And where is God in the suffering and injustice? How is it possible followers of Yesu (Jesus) caught in the crossfire can still rejoice when everything they hold dear is ripped away?
When Robin Duncan takes on a security/translator contract in Democratic Republic of Congo, she doesn't expect all of her old wounds to open. Then she meets a man that she hoped to never see again, and she is reminded not only of her disappointment in humanity but also of the senseless death of her brother. Duncan must struggle inwardly with these issues while she maintains military efficiency in her team's efforts to capture a deadly insurgent leader. Soon, she learns that not all is as it seems - sometimes, good seems evil and evil seems good. Sometimes well-intentioned people can become monsters while fighting monsters.
Most Christian Suspense I've read is fairly fluffy, so I was surprised (and impressed) with the meatiness of this plot. I found the intensity of the mercenary action against the insurgency convincing. Often, I found myself unable to put the book down for suspense. The romantic tension was delicious, and added emotional depth to the characters without distracting from the suspense plot. And, of course, I always find stories about social justice medical personnel heartwarming. I also learned a lot about the Democratic Republic of Congo while reading this book. Windle has done a lot of research to back up all aspects of her plot - and it really shines through.
The only con would be a con ONLY to people who specifically avoid Christian Fiction. At one point, the suspense is, well, suspended by a philosophical discussion about why God allows bad things to happen to good people. This discussion would be interesting to any reader of Christian Fiction (i.e. the target audience), and the philosophy is demonstrated in the story by action. For those of you who generally avoid Christian Fiction because you feel it is "preachy," I recommend that you give this book a try anyway. Yes, there is that short section, but the rest of the book is all philosophy-demonstrated-by-action.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am eager to read more of Windle's works now that I've had this taste. :)
Challenge Count: Jeanette Windle is my sixth New Author this year (my progress). For the Genre Variety Reading Challenge (my progress), this counts as a Christian Suspense. For my Around the World in 80 Books Challenge (my progress), this book adds Democratic Republic of Congo. (Phew! I had gone an entire month without adding anything interesting to that challenge!)