Friday, August 9, 2013

Ransom Betrayal – Steven Hunt

© 2009, Electric Moon Publishing, Tulsa

It took me nearly four years to get around to reading Steven Hunt’s sophomore effort (his debut being Guardianof Light). A departure from his first and third novels, the first of what promises to be an action-packed series centered on John Ransom and his team of experts deals less with angelic/supernatural beings, and more with action and adventure.

Ransom, a spy/operative in covert activity—specifically disposing of unwanted officials secretly, effectively, and cleanly (read that “murderer for the government”) discovers a high-level betrayal at the very last moment of the job he tried so hard not to take. In the end, he is almost fatally wounded trying to get away from the assignment that will either kill or discredit him.

The bulk of the book is spent on his recovery from the accident, his finding himself again, and his re-establishing his good name by finding the mole in the organization and doing away with the bad guys.

Although it is a departure from the “other-worldly” material we encounter in both Guardian of Light and Chasing Christmas, Hunt likes to bring the Supernatural in, and does so in an exciting scene where Ransom, in a new-found faith, is able to receive a vision from God, and consequently diffuse another attempt on his life after he has fully recovered from his injuries.

This book has a lot to offer for the reader: espionage, intrigue, action, adventure. Hunt throws in a little romance along the way. The characters are likeable, the action is fast-paced, and we all look forward to another adventure with this team of wrong-righters.

The strong faith elements that characterize Hunt’s writing are definitely present here. It is always nice to see the church and the servants of the church portrayed in a positive light rather than as the conniving, superficial, hypocrites that we encounter in most main-stream literature.

One will also find a few draw-backs when reading the first Ransom novel. Some of the struggle in reading the book comes in the faith-based elements: our hero has a tendency (after his turn to faith) to become overly preach-y which may turn a reader off to not only the book but the message the author is trying so hard to convey. Also, in these moments of excessive spirituality, Ransom—a brand new believer—shows a greater understanding (if not, simple knowledge) of the Scriptures than one would expect of someone so young in his faith—and this without any discipleship from more mature believers.

Even so, I would like to see some more outings for Ransom. I also understand that if you did not acquire your e-copy (the only ones available) a few months within its publication (that’s 2009), you are out of luck for reading it. I would love to see someone pick up this series, re-releasing the debut o
f Ransom, and promising three or four (or more) more novels for readers to enjoy. It is an excellent rest for readers of The Executioner series or the Mack Bolan series or even the Nick Carter, Killmaster series and it doesn’t include scenes that require readers of faith who like action to switch on their internal censor for language, sexual activity, and gratuitous violence.

Keep writing the Ransom stories, Steve. Your readers want more. (4 out of 5 reading glasses)

—Benjamin  Potter, August 9, 2013

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