The Guru's Review:
From here on in, once it is revealed what Liz has gotten herself into, this novel takes off with The Vengeance Squad engaged to investigate and thwart the perpetrator's crime of fraud against Liz. The main part of this plot takes them to England in their search for Virgil Golden who has fleeced Liz's bank account of donor money she is saving for a new Book mobile.
I was pleasantly surprised how well I felt I was in England as the plot progressed. Frost has done his research both from being there and from other research in the locations he has included. In an interview with C. Wayne Dawson, he states,
The Vengeance Squad Goes to England includes many places in the UK where I have been....... although I write about places I’ve visited in person, I use Google to view the area I’m writing about to remind me what it looks like.
While working on The Vengeance Squad Goes to England, I was using Google to follow along a route in London when I saw red double-decker buses everywhere. That’s when I got the idea to make one into a bookmobile and put a photo on the book cover.
In the same book, I had the squad involved in a golf cart chase at the famous St. Andrews course. When she read a draft, my wife, a golfer, said they don’t use golf carts at that course. That led to more research and many changes, but I still got my chase in.
Frost uses this second novel to further develop the romance between Angela and Chris. I have not read much in the romance genre either Christian based or not, but I do like it when it is written by male authors. The only other male authors to include romance in their novels that I have read, are Ralph Smith in the Seal of the King and Joel C Rosenberg in his David Shirazitrilogy. They both do this very well and I feel Frost does it well too, especially highlighting the difficult emotions that Chris had to deal with in allowing himself to fall in love again in the two years since his fiance, Sarah, was murdered in the first novel. He also showed Angela having sensitivity in what this means for her as well. This issue was well balanced and made their romance all the more realistic and credible to this sub plot that started towards the end of The Vengeance Squad. In the same aforementioned interview, Frost states,
More importantly, it is about falling in love and remarrying after your wife dies. Or, fiancé, in the book.
Frost is using his personal experience here and, as I mentioned in my review of the first book, this adds credibility to this subplot and in this novel, it strengthens the plot structure tremendously. I loved the way it was not until the very end that you realised that despite the obstacles they both had to address, that there was going to be a "happy ending" and one that you want to happen as you see Chris working through his emotions of guilt, and learning to love again. Great way to end this novel! I would also like to see a third book in this series as I feel a lot of readers would want to see their marriage and another case thrown in for good measure. Maybe then Frost could consider completing this series! But would his readers allow this? Hmm, I think not!!
It was well planned for Frost to use this novel to introduce more of Tex's life in the form of his wife and to a lesser degree, his children, compared to Tex as a sole character in The Vengeance Squad. This makes Tex a more three dimensional character and Jane makes a very productive asset to the Squad. Having the plot more centered on Liz also adds depth to her character and makes her more three dimensional as well. Definitely allows the reader to be more endeared towards her. She is one very memorable character!
I felt that in this novel, it was a faster pace and the plot and its events kept me more engaged than the previous one. Frost's writing style and plot structure are smoother and concise. I loved the way the Squad did not find the search for Golden easy and had obstacles to overcome and sometimes not a very well thought out plan that discouraged them, but they did not give in. Added a deeper level of intrigue to the plot and made the character of Golden all that more elusive and crafty.
I chuckled at Frost's introduction of the drone, being Chris' idea. I thought that was a clever innovation and suited the nerdy image of Chris very well. Turns out that this drone was the star player at the end of the novel. Interesting that as I write this review, Frost submits a blog post called Drones Are In! about drones being used in fiction and non fiction more now and for fun and commercial uses. Very interesting blogpost. Interesting how Amazon is also developing this technology to deliver orders to their customers!
All in all, this is, like its predecessor, one fun and entertaining read, but also one that has a serious message about grieving and learning to love again God's way. I love Christian novels where the author sets out to entertain, but also educate. This in my opinion is a hallmark of what makes a satisfying Christian novel. Thanks Sidney Frost!