Author: Janet Sketchley
Genre: Christian suspense
Format: print and digital
Publication date: 2013
Ruth Warner, a middle-aged woman whose niece was brutally murdered, has been praying for the murderer in an attempt to find peace. The perpetrator, a well-known racecar driver named Harry Silver, has become a serial killer, and is about to claim another victim in a convenience store when Ruth unknowingly walks in. In the chaos, Ruth is mistakenly abducted. During the harrowing hours that follow, the characters face situations they hadn’t anticipated, as the story of Harry’s past is revealed and God continues His work in their lives.
Author Janet Sketchley tells this story with grace and skill; this is an amazing debut novel. Her characters grow and change in a realistic manner, in fact, at one point I found myself sending off a quick prayer for Ruth as she faced the darkest of times. The characters’ dialogue is realistic and natural, easy to follow, and the point of view is clear and expertly handled.
The plot offers unexpected twists and turns, but moves smoothly and efficiently, a success in cause and effect. Sketchley uses strong action with all the right beats to make this story a movie in the mind of the reader. Conflict appears on many levels from the very first page: between characters and nature, character against character, character against God; and the tension escalates through to the final page.
In my opinion, the research is stellar. The world of the racing circuit comes alive as Harry learns the ropes and wins more and more races. Also, the police procedures seem valid and reasonable. It is my belief that if the author takes such care to dig for background facts, she can also be trusted to present credible spiritual truths and take-aways.
The entire story of Heaven’s Prey is presented as a well-formed unit. The beginning offers all the necessary facts without telling, the middle holds up well as tension increases, and the ending brings the whole to satisfactory completion. Technically speaking, I had a general impression of the author’s expertise and commitment to excellence.
This is a story of faith in the face of darkness, of trust in a God we don’t always understand. It is a story of inhuman cruelty, but also of forgiveness and peace beyond human understanding. It’s not a comfortable story, but one well worth reading, with inspiring values. Once you’ve finished reading the story, check out the Author’s Comments at the end of the book.
Also, check out my personal interview with Janet Sketchley at www.janicedick.com for January 14.