Source: Special thanks to Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy. This post is part of the FIRST Wild Card Tour.
Book Description (my take):
After his wife's struggle to break free from drug addiction, Florida Attorney General Tony Ryborg is determined to shut down and capture as many drug traffickers as he can. At the urging of his friends, he's decided to run for governor of Florida so he can continue his fight more effectively, but the drug traffickers will do anything to stop him.
When an assassination attempt against Andie Ryborg's father fails, she begins to get threatening calls: if she doesn't get her father to retire and stop running for governor, they'll kill her. But she shares her father's passion against drugs and doesn't want him to stop. She also doesn't want him to worry about her, so she tries to hide her danger from him. But as the threats escalate, she realizes something has to be done. She searches for a place to hide, but no where seems safe...
Evan Markham feels guilt over his father's occupation and wishes he could do something to set things right. He tries to protect Andie's life the only way he knows how, but when neither Ryborg seems willing to give in to the drug traffickers, he must decide what he's willing to risk to save people who would surely hate him if they knew who he was.
About the Author:
Sue Duffy is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Moody magazine, The Presbyterian Journal, Sunday Digest, and The Christian Reader. Her first novel Mortal Wounds was published in 2001 and she has also contributed to Stories for a Woman’s Heart (Multnomah). She and her husband, Mike, have three grown children.
Fatal Loyalty is a fast-paced Christian romantic suspense novel--though the romance happened a bit fast and near the end. The world-building was very good and brought the setting alive in my imagination. The characters were likable, realistic, and had realistic struggles.
After a bit of a rocky start, the suspense built nicely and kept me turning the pages. The first two "danger!" scenes got the reader to the "there's danger!" point--for example, a masked man in the window--then cut to another character's point of view where something totally unrelated was happening. By the time we got back to the character in danger, a week had passed, he/she was no longer in danger, and the character simply thought over or discussed what had happened. That rather cut the suspense for me. Luckily, after these first two times, the author kept with the scenes during the suspense, and the book turned out to be very enjoyable.
Several of the main characters were Christians and prayed to God for comfort and help. However, I didn't always agree with Andie's ponderings about good and evil--they weren't always biblical. There was a mild Christian message to the story, and one character started praying to God after having not done so for years.
There was no bad language and no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this as enjoyable, clean reading.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Prologue
In an instant, his world collapsed, and no one knew it but him. The giddy chatter of students rushing to and from the cafeteria swirled about him as he felt blindly for something to lean against.
Eyes locked on the overhead television screen, Evan Markham backed slowly toward a post in the crowded student union. Just moments ago, he’d been one of them, a Florida State student preparing for exams and the long-awaited summer break. But what he’d just heard ended it all.
He had only glanced at the News at Noon anchorwoman with the glossy lips as he hurried to class. He caught something about a shootout in Tampa, but kept going. As he reached the door, though, he heard a name that stopped him cold.
“. . . Leo Francini.”
Evan turned suddenly and stared at the screen as the woman switched the broadcast to an on-the-scene reporter. A cold sweat sprang from his brow as he moved quickly toward others gathering before the monitor.
“This quiet residential street in Tampa was the scene today of a bloody standoff between FBI agents and members of a drug cartel run by Miami racketeer Leo Francini,” the somber-faced young man announced. “Before the violence ended about nine o’clock this morning, two FBI agents and Francini’s son, Donnie Francini, were killed. It is believed that Leo Francini was in the area, though not involved in the shootout. An intense manhunt by the FBI and local police is now underway. A house-to-house search is being conducted in . . .”
Steadying himself against the post, Evan turned to see if anyone was watching him. How could they know? No one knows.
Then another name caught him.
“Florida Attorney General Tony Ryborg, visibly shaken by the deaths of the two FBI agents, just moments ago issued what he calls an iron-clad promise to the people of this state, saying, ‘Leo Francini will be brought to justice and pay the severest penalty for these deaths.’”
Two hours later, Evan was packed and ready to leave. For where, he didn’t yet know. He’d removed all his belongings from the apartment and left a note for his roommate, whom he hardly knew. He hadn’t allowed himself to get close to many people, switching roommates often during the three years he’d been enrolled. Still, the guy deserved an apology for the sudden departure.
Evan returned to the student union to close his checking account and put a hold on his mail, evading inquiries about why he would do so before final exams.
As he left the building, he saw her. As usual, she didn’t notice him. Andie Ryborg seemed as absorbed in a private world as he was. Only hers hadn’t just ended in a gunfight.
One last time, he hung back and watched her. Dark hair fell loosely about her face as she sketched beneath a tree, focused on the gurgling fountain in the center of the green.
They’ll find you. Get away!