An action-packed beginning to this series... A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff (Review)

A Cross to Kill
(Shepherd Suspense #1)
By Andrew Huff
Christian Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 250 Pages
October 15, 2019 by Kregel Publications


A gripping debut thriller pits a man of God against terrorists--and his own deadly past

John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God's calling. He's not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past.

But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf--an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to do penance for all the lives he took. He vowed never to kill again.

Now someone wants the peaceful pastor to pay for his sins with his own life. And when a terrorist out for revenge walks into the church, John's secrets are laid bare. Confronted with his past, he must face his demons and discover whether a man can truly change. Can he keep his vow--even when the people he loves are in mortal danger? Will his congregation and the brave woman he's learning to care for be caught in the cross fire? In the end, John's life may be the only sacrifice he has left to offer. . .

Andrew Huff's thrilling debut is not only a riveting story of suspense, it's also a deep exploration of the moral quandaries that face those who choose to follow the Prince of Peace in a violent world. 

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My Review

A CROSS TO KILL starts off action-packed as the heroine is rescued from execution by terrorists and then has a few moments of calm before the action continues all the way to the end of the story. Endearing characters, a strong faith element, a touch of romance, a a fast-paced plot make for a highly entertaining read. Also recommended to readers who enjoy military fiction or Bourne movies.

I pretty much couldn't turn the pages fast enough for much of this story. I really liked John and Christine, although I didn't necessarily like how Christine wasn't worried about blowing John's cover. There were plenty of fist fights and car chases if you like that kind of action-fueled story. The faith element was a bit strong. It can be a difficult balance for someone becoming converted to feel genuine as well as sharing scriptures and moments of faith in a story. I felt like most of it worked until it was pushed a bit too much. Still a good message and some sweet moments. Some of the community members, particularly Lori, were delightful aspects of this story. I also loved the play on John's name... his code name being Shepherd, his last name being Cross and him becoming a pastor. I thought that aspect to be quite genius. There really wasn't romance, but there was a relationship formed that led to it. I was okay with that not being the main focus of the story.

I did have a few issues with the way some of the things played out. They seemed a bit overly plotted and unrealistic, particularly with the lead terrorist and John's CIA boss. I also didn't like how John was trying to redeem himself and also punish himself instead of letting his faith do the redeeming. But, not huge issues overall.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was a fairly intense, action-packed read. Definitely one I'd recommend if you enjoy reading Christian suspense and military fiction. I'm looking forward to see what happens next in the Shepherd Suspense series!

Content: Quite a bit of violence, which is expected for this type of story (nothing too detailed or gory).
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the the publisher through Audra Jennings PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Check out my review of the second book and enter the tour giveaway here.

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