Andrew Huff. 2019. A Cross to Kill. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications.
Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra
As a nonfiction author my education as a fiction writer has often been tedious. When I asked how one picks a genre to write, the typical answer is to write what you read. When I asked how one learns the rules to follow in a particular genre, the typical answer is to read more. Ugh! A more complete answer might be that genre are defined by the demographics of their readership and the rules are defined by fantasies of that readership. Basically, readers want to see characters that look like them and plotlines that reflect their own challenges and temptations.
Outline of the Plot
Andrew Huff’s novel, A Cross to Kill, is a Christian thriller. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor, John Cross, rescues a journalist, Christine Elizabeth Lewis, in Jordan who is held captive by the Alliance of Islamic Military (AIM) just as she is about to be beheaded livestream.
Cross is a contractor who undertakes nonlethal covert operations because when he became a Christian he could no longer undertake covert operations involving assassination, as he had previously. Between assignments, he has become a Baptist pastor and tries to live a quiet life in Mechanicsburg, Virginia.
After the Lewis rescue nearly turns lethal, he decides to give up the covert work and simply live a quiet life, but he can’t help thinking about her. Then, one day she shows up for Sunday morning worship at his church to thank him and they become acquainted. Things get complicated that evening after Cross gets ambushed by a Turkish hit squad that followed her to town to settle old scores presumably before moving on to bigger and badder things.
A Cross to Kill is the first novel in Huff’s Shepherd Suspense series from Kregel Publications. Huff is both a novelist and a screenwriter as well as a pastor. He lives in North Texas with his wife and two boys. Huff graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Religion from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Andrew Huff’s novel, A Cross to Kill, is a page turner that grabs your attention from the first sentence: “Millions of people would witness the murder of Christine Lewis, and not one of them could do anything to stop it.” (7) That is, not anyone except a mysterious Mr. Cross.
This is a book that draws you in and becomes your friend before we learn about Cross’ conversion and the life changes that he makes. I particularly enjoyed the local Virginia and Washington settings. This is good book for young people and those young at heart. If you like action thrillers, it is worth a look.