Driving Force (Book Review)

  • Author: Kate Angelo
  • Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
  • Available Now
  • Synopsis: Former sniper Christina Sherman takes on an unexpected new assignment, as a bodyguard for a military working dog.
  • Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher via JustRead book tours. Opinions expressed are my own.

Scripture Connection

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Rom. 15:13

Spiritual Themes

The novel follows two characters at differing places in their relationships with God. Elite Guardian Christina finds her strength in Jesus, while Captain Grey Parker was raised by Christian parents, but no longer talks to God.

There’s some light discussion about why bad things happen if God is in control, as well as about prayer: answered and unanswered. Overall, the spiritual content felt fairly familiar to me. I think that other books in this genre raise similar questions (and offer similar answers) about how the characters can trust God in the midst of the violence they see on a day-to-day basis.

The above cited verse is included at the beginning of the text.

What I Liked

I requested the title because I saw Lynette Eason’s name (As a note, she did not write this book, but from what I can gather, she wrote the original series and sponsored other authors to write more recent additions). However, I didn’t read the description very carefully and was surprised, when I got it, to see that a dog would have such a large role in the plot. Honestly, when I read about Boss on the back cover, I was concerned that the book would be cheesy and I wouldn’t like it very much.

With all that said, Angelo does a great job of including Boss as a character. He fulfills a very specific and necessary role in the plotline. (It doesn’t just feel like, “Oh, wouldn’t it be cute to include a dog?”)

The mystery element definitely holds its own alongside the romance plot line. I was intrigued to learn who was responsible for the havoc and I feel like the clues were well-spaced, overall.

I liked the portrayal of women as strong and competent. While many romances follow a typical pattern with the male hero “saving” the female protagonist, Christina not only protects herself, but also defends others.

I also liked Grey’s parents, especially his mom. Grey shares about how, when he was growing up, she would spend hours with the Lord each day. I would have liked to read more about them both.

Mixed Feelings

A few elements I liked, but…

After sustaining a life-changing injury while in the line of duty, Grey is now in a wheelchair. I really liked that one of the protagonists is in a wheelchair, which is something I have never before encountered. Grey is also portrayed as being extremely strong, resourceful and self-reliant.

My hesitation is the way the wheelchair use is represented. Grey is very self-conscious about being in a wheelchair and hopes that an upcoming operation will enable him to walk, again. This seems very realistic.

At the same time, I’d be interested to hear the perspective of readers who actually use wheelchairs. Is the narrative empowering, as Grey portrayed as a hero, or does it strengthen an “us-them” mentality on the basis of ability, as Grey hates using a wheelchair? I’d also be very curious to hear the opinions of wounded vets or those who suffered paralysis later in life. Perhaps the narrative is more geared towards this group.

On another note, as mentioned above, I liked Grey’s parents. His treatment of his family annoyed me, a little.

Content

There are some short chapters from the perspective of the villain. I felt that these added to the revealing of the mystery, without being too creepy and graphic. However, this is very subjective and a valid content concern for some readers.

There are multiple kissing scenes, with some of the usual kissing descriptions— not graphic enough to constitute a deterrent, for me.

There’s a bit of violence, given the nature of the subject matter. I wouldn’t describe it as “graphic.”

This is a new content note, but something my mom and I talked about a bit this week is how Jesus is the only One who is truly “always there” for us. With that said, there was one line about how one character knew that the other one would “always be there.”

Recommendation Status

This was a fun book, but one that I would characterize as “light,” in spite of the subject matter. While there were a few spiritual discussions, I felt like the answers/resolutions were a bit too “easy,” or maybe a bit too “people-focused,” as in “all of a sudden after talking with you, my whole perspective suddenly changed. I do recognize that God can and does use people that way. I just feel like maybe the resolution didn’t match the extent of the problem.

For this reason, I wouldn’t really recommend this book to people who are currently asking the questions Grey asked. But, as a light read, it was a fun, romantic mystery.

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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