Stratagem - Robin Caroll

Starting this year, I have been avoiding looking at the summary of most of the books that I read, including those I review, to make reading a more exciting experience and to steer clear of figuring out the plot too early. “Stratagem” was featured on many Christian book blogs prior to its release, so when the chance came to read and review it, I jumped on it. Going in, I thought that it was going to be a techno-thriller, so I was actually very pleasantly surprised when I realized that it was about a (fictional) murder investigation. Mysteries and thrillers, including crime thrillers, are among my favorite genres, and it is an added bonus when it happens to be Christian fiction as well because despite the subject matter, I can be assured that the language and details will not be too coarse or gritty.

“Stratagem” deals with many contemporary issues and a believable cast of characters. There is the murder early on in the story, and as the backstories of the characters unfold, it becomes evident that they are true-to-life in all its virtues and vices. There are no saints, and even the protagonist, Grayson Thibodeaux, has a painful past; he is still coming to terms with prior betrayals when he is plunged into even bigger problems. Some of the topics broached in the novel are divorce, abortion, infidelity, and phobias, among others. The concept of Game’s On You was simultaneously intriguing and disturbing, especially with the real advent of escape rooms as entertainment. Virtual reality takes flak for its potential ill effects on players, and I shudder to think of something like Game’s On You coming into play in society as well. Nevertheless, its use in the novel certainly stokes the reader’s adrenaline, and that, combined with the progression of the narrative, make this an un-put-downable thriller.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.