Source: Bought through Half.com.
Book Description, my take:
Five convicts escape from the Stagworth maximum security prison unit. They're willing to do anything to stay free, including rob and kill. Unknown to the gang, their leader is more intent on getting revenge on a man from his past than on making sure they're not caught. As he tracks down his victim, their path heads to Gun Lake, a vacation spot. Along the way, they pick up an ex-con who feels bound to fulfill an old promise but feels conflicted about what he's doing because of his Christian faith.
Also headed to Gun Lake is a beautiful woman fleeing her abusive boyfriend and a mother who is making one last attempt to reach her rebellious teenage son.
Already there is an alcoholic deputy who wishes something exciting would happen at Gun Lake so he can show what a hero he is and win back his wife.
When their paths meet, they all must discover if there is some way to leave past mistakes behind and start anew. For if there isn't, then none of them will leave alive.
Gun Lake is an introspective suspense novel. The characters spent a lot of time thinking about their past mistakes and feeling like there was no real hope. The suspense came from knowing that some of these characters were loose cannons and that all of these characters were bound to meet up. I wondered if any of them were going to survive. Though the suspense--or dread--was high, the introspection slowed the pacing some compared to most suspense novels.
The characters had depth and were complex and realistic, but they were also very depressed and had messed up lives. This wasn't a "happy" novel to read. The world-building was very good, weaving in details of the setting as well as prison life and abusive homes.
There were seven or eight point-of-view characters, so it took a few rotations to remember who everyone was. The author wrote the first paragraph of each viewpoint change using pronouns instead of the character's name so you didn't know who it was. That was annoying and confusing.
One character did believe in Christ and reluctantly tried to tell the others about Him despite being ignored. The other characters didn't believe in God, didn't believe God wanted anything to do with them, or questioned His existence since He hadn't saved them from their horrible lives (mostly caused by their own bad decisions). The main theme was how God can forgive even the worst sins and work in the bad of our lives to bring about good. In some, faith was restored. In others, it wasn't. One hit rock bottom and found his hope in Christ.
There was no sex. There was a fair amount of "he cursed" style bad language and a very minor amount of explicit bad language. Overall, if this is the type of book you're in the mood for, I'd recommend it as suspenseful, 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 Chapter One
Let's try this one more time, the man thought with excitement.
He wore black pants, a gray shirt, and a black cap that read "Security." On the side of his arm was a patch with the insignia of SARC, a nearby security service. He glanced at his watch. Nine forty-five.
It's about that time.
He brought the shopping cart to the front of the store. Only one person staffed the checkout aisle--a girl in her late teens. Other employees roamed through the sporting-goods store--a chubby, forty-something guy near the firearms section, a college-aged guy probably assigned to stocking, another tall and lean fellow he'd passed in the aisles. But the husky, short-haired woman behind the customer-service counter was the one he wanted to talk with.
"Excuse me. Are you the manager?" he asked with eyebrows raised and a friendly but courteous smile. They always responded to that smile.
She nodded. "What can I help you with?"
She had a heavy Louisiana accent and big arms for a woman. Surprisingly muscular. He wondered absently how much she could bench press.
"My name is James Morrison, and I'm from SARC. The service you guys work with?"
She nodded, looking as though she knew the service and wondered where this was headed.