Book Review: Double Cross by James David Jordan

This is one I got for free through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. The publisher provided the free copies in exchange for reviews, but there’s no guarantee regarding positive reviews. Just so you (and the FCC) know 😉

Double Cross is the second book in a series. You don’t have to have read the first book to enjoy it, but it will explain a lot of the backstory. Jordan tries to cover as much of that as possible in this book, but you really can’t do that well in a sequel without irritating folks who read your first book.

Taylor Pasbury is a former Secret Service agent who has become a private security consultant/body guard. Her biggest client was an evangelist named Simon Mason, and she is still working for his ministry after his death (in the first book). There are questions of embezzlement after his death, and Taylor has everything she needs to prove that Simon wasn’t the one taking the money. She and Simon’s daughter Kacey arrive at the embezzler’s home to find her dead — apparent suicide.

Apparent is the important word, because things don’t seem quite right to Taylor. She continues investigating, and uncovers blackmail plots, prostitution rings, and far too many people trying to shoot her. And in the midst of it all, her long lost mother shows up, and seems to know far more than she’s telling.

Double Cross isn’t a hard book to read. An average reader will probably finish it in a day, maybe two. It’s a decent page turner as well; you’ll want to find out what happens next, and Jordan is very good at ending chapters with cliffhangers. An audio drama adaptation of the book would be interesting ….

The characters in the book are fairly stock. The daughter-of-a-famous-person who is trying to deal with her famous father’s death while continuing his work AND her own studies (and who also is a crack shot on the pistol range), the tough-talking, no nonsense female security specialist whose personal life is in a shambles, the FBI agent who is attracted to the aforementioned security specialist (no spoiler there – if you can’t figure this one out by page 50, you’re as oblivious as Taylor). The list goes on, and can be fairly annoying in it’s predictability.

If you pay attention while you’re reading, and think about what is going on, you’ll figure out whodunnit several chapters before Taylor does. That can be annoying, or it can be satisfying, depending on your perspective. I like being able to figure mysteries out before the characters in the book – it means that the author hasn’t held out on any important clues. But there were times toward the end of the book that I wanted to shake Taylor and yell at her, I got so frustrated with her inability to figure some things out.

And that right there is the mark of a good book — when you can forget that you’re reading a fiction book and want to interact with the characters. They may be flat, they may be stock, but you feel like you know them anyway. Double Cross isn’t a work of high literature that is meant to be analyzed by English majors hundreds of years from now, after all; it’s a mystery/thriller, and it’s meant to be enjoyed. And you will enjoy it.

Double Cross is published by B&H, and can be found at any Christian book store as well as most regular bookstores. The Christian themes are there, but aren’t heavy-handed at all (until the very end, when Taylor realizes what important lesson she’s learned in all of this). That seems to be a trend among Christian fiction lately; people are writing good fiction first, and making the faith connection peripherally if at all. This will expand the market for Christian fiction, but I wonder at what point it stops being Christian fiction and just starts being fiction. That’s a topic for another day, though.

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One response to “Book Review: Double Cross by James David Jordan

  1. Being in the midst of writing my first Christian novel, I can tell you that it is definitely a difficult thing to interweave faith and belief in God in the midst of the story without coming off as heavy-handed. In a lot of cases, Christian fiction authors seem to back off and the protagonist’s faith (and journey in that faith) appear to come off as an afterthought rather than an integral part of the story. (Which has annoyed me too.)

    To successfully narrate a character’s trials and how his or her strength in God has been tested (and perhaps prevailed) takes incredible skill. I think, perhaps more so than a secular fiction novel. Communicating spirituality in the midst of secular events is not an easy device.

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