Deadly Target (Book Review)

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, via the Revell Reads program.
  • Author: Elizabeth Goddard
  • Publisher: Revell
  • On-Sale: Now
  • Synopsis: Immediately after a life-threatening kayak accident, Erin must rush to her mom’s aid. While in her hometown, she encounters her ex-boyfriend, Nathan, and the two quickly become embroiled in a decades-old mystery with a ripple effect.

Scripture Connection

If you search for good, you will find favor, but if you search for evil, it will find you!

Prov. 11:27

Spiritual Themes

As Christians, both of the main characters pray. I like that the prayers aren’t just requests to God, but also questions interspersed in their daily lives. This feels like an authentic portrayal of prayer as conversation with the Heavenly Father 🙂

The most prevalent theme, throughout, is the importance of “finding the silver lining.” This actually is a theme that can be found in the Bible (see Prov. 11:27), but I would have REALLY liked to have seen a Scripture tied to the message. For me, without the actual reference, it feels more like a worldly message— especially because God isn’t really referenced in the silver lining allusions.

I don’t always feel that Christian books need to have Scripture references, but since this one stars Christian characters, I think it would certainly make sense to ground this central theme in the truth of God’s Word.

The author cites Lam. 3:22-23 on the dedication page. I thought, at first, that this was the “key” verse for the novel, but I think the connection is much more subtle than the “silver linings” message. It’s hard for me to connect the plot to this verse.

Characters/POV

Goddard tells the story through the lens of two third-person limited perspectives: Erin and Nathan. At the start of the novel, it has been five years since the characters broke-up.

Erin is a criminal psychologist, while Nathan is a police detective. Because of their compatible careers, the two are well-placed to dive into a joint investigation.

What I liked

  • I think Goddard does an excellent job of quickly introducing the characters’ backstory in the exposition. Within just a few pages, I had learned the protagonists’ histories.
  • I’d say there’s a definite art to the pacing/placing of the clues. Although this made for a slow start, for me, I can appreciate that Goddard teased out the threads of the mystery, slowing weaving them back together by the novel’s end.
  • Goddard portrays the truth of 1 Cor. 13:5 (love is not self-seeking). Both characters demonstrate the desire to put the other’s needs, first.
  • I liked the “cold case” premise. I haven’t read many books with a cold case emphasis, and this was certainly intriguing.
  • Kind of a side note, but I appreciated that I could read this as a stand-alone, although it’s actually the second in a series.

Suspense

In all honesty, this book took me quite a while to get into. There were definitely dramatic events occurring, early on, but it wasn’t until the mystery started unfolding more that my interest developed.

With that said, I had already 2/3 of the book before I got to the place of “I must know sister happens next!” However, at that point, I really did want to keep reading. And, there were some truly delicious plot twists.

The pacing reminded me of The Hardy Boys, with most of the clues coming together at the end of the story, rather than being spaced evenly, throughout. But the plot twists were much more exciting!

As I reflect, I think that I was much more interested in the mystery than in the plot, itself. And since the mystery revolves around a cold case, a lot of the intrigue is based on past events.

Romance

For me, the romance was a little bit intense. Emphasis on the word “little,” as I’ve encountered much more graphic content, in other Christian books.

There are several passionate kisses. Additionally, there were some parts that felt a bit convenient to me, in terms of the characters being “forced” together. While they didn’t behave improperly, under the circumstances, I found myself thinking “oh, of course, that would happen.” (I think I’m starting to observe this as a trend in romance plotlines— so many couples find themselves in unlikely situations haha. So, this is really just my first time making the observation— it’s definitely not exclusive to this book ).

Recommendation Status

Reader Discretion. As mentioned above, the romance, while light compared to many novels, has some “passionate” moments.

I would be more likely to actively recommend the title, if there was more insightful spiritual content. While I appreciate that the characters talked to God in their everyday lives, I didn’t really pinpoint any strong moments of the characters being drawn near to God. That’s one of those things I look for (for my own sake) when reading. These are such beautiful moments that the Lord frequently uses to speak to me, and I would have really liked to see one or two, in this novel.

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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