Book Review: The Third Target

Through the years, my taste in reading has changed. Much Christian fiction, that I used to love, irritates me. Story lines are contrived. Certain authors repeat their plots over and over again. And the plots are often short and overly simplistic. If I ever have to read another book about an adopted adult searching for birth parents it’ll be too soon.

Sometimes, that’s what I’ve wanted. When I was tired from toddlers, I didn’t need complex writing and lots of characters to keep track of.

However, now that my brain craves more substantial work, I’ve started to veer to more historical works and biography. Secular authors of fiction that challenged my mind often peppered their works with profanity and situations that I really didn’t want to read about. So I picked up secular fiction and thrillers with caution, frequently putting them down after the first chapter or two made me long for brain bleach.

Last week, at the library, I ran across a new (to me) author on the New Release shelf. After reading the inside of the front cover, I thought I’d give it a try.

I was very happy with the book, The Third Target by Joel Rosenberg.

The label on the inside cover of the book said “Christian Mystery” but I disagree. Maybe political thriller would be a better label.

At any rate, a quick synopsis would be this:

J. B. Collins is a journalist for the New York Times. In his research, he learns that ISIS has captured a stash of chemical weapons and plans on using them. The book details how Collins verifies his story, including interviews in dangerous, war-torn places like Iraq and Syria.

Collins also finds that state leaders are reluctant to accept his research as fact. Those leaders, including heads of Middle Eastern nations and the President of the United States, are so focused on the soon coming peace accord between the Palestinians and Israelis, that they don’t want to hear what Collins has learned.

When Collins publishes his findings, things get dangerous on a personal level. People around him start dying, and his family is threatened. Collins feels somewhat safe, sine ISIS wants him around to continue his publications, but as the situation in the middle-East begins to deteriorate, Collins’ concern for the area as a whole makes him frantic.

Rosenberg includes very clear, easy to follow synopses of the history of Middle Eastern conflict and the major players and factions who have been involved along the way.  However, even when he includes these details, the pace of the book is not slowed and the details are not tedious. He always manages to tie in the historical facts without interrupting the flow of the story. I learned a lot of backstory about Middle Eastern  history and politics.

What’s a little frightening about this book is that these kinds of situations really could happen. It’s no stretch of the imagination how terrorists groups would use chemical weapons in their reach for power.

This book is told from a Christian worldview so there’s no profanity or immorality. Yes! I love Christian books that are well-written and engaging. Not all are like that. The ending of the book is a real cliff hanger too!

I greatly enjoyed The Third Target, although it did interfere with my sleep, since I could not put it down! I can’t wait for the sequel to come out so I can follow the story to its conclusion.


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