4 out of 4 stars
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If G.I. Joe and James Bond had a baby, it would be Chrome Mountain. Chrome Mountain is the story of Sonya McCall and Trey Raddison, two unlikely partners who find themselves thrown together when a mysterious terrorist organization hunts Trey in order to obtain an invention he never took public. While Trey is someone seeking his purpose in life after two jobs go badly for him, Sonya seeks a path toward redemption after an escape from a dangerous motorcycle gang leads to the death of an innocent friend. Their flight from the Chrome Falcon organization isn’t exactly a bloodless path, but it would be worth something to the both of them if they manage to help the government take them down.
Fans of adventure will love this story. The action sequences are high adrenaline pieces, spanning several chapters. Humor sprinkled within keeps these otherwise tragic chases from becoming too morose. The downtime between gives the reader a breather without dragging on and ruining the pace, and it gives the characters some time to unfold themselves to the audience.
If you’re looking for something fun, then Chrome Mountain is for you. If you’re someone who takes their stories far too seriously, then you will be disappointed. Nitpickers will have a field day, but there is a feel that the author does not intend for this story to be taken so seriously. For example, within the terrorist organization, anyone who isn’t an officer doesn’t get a real name – they’re issued a rank followed by a goofy, but appropriate word. At one point, the author overlooks the convention for the sake of a joke. Another instance has Trey wearing a fake mustache to hide his identity when he and Sonya stay in Dallas. After a few weeks, he still wears the fake mustache when he could have grown a real one by then.
Along those lines, I really enjoyed the irreverence sprinkled throughout. The big chase sequences are cut with vignettes from some of the bystanders, my favorite being the one with the parents asking their children what they want for Christmas while the chase passes them by on the freeway. The author also gives us humorous glimpses at many of those who would be the nameless drones in these kinds of stories, like the guy who was supposed to be watching the roof of the hotel. He doesn’t expect our heroes to find escape by going to the roof of the building, so he leans over the edge, spitting off the roof to see if he can hit the helicopter several floors below him.
Christian themes and Christian values dominate the story despite all of the violence. At the heart of it all, Sonya is someone who rediscovers God on her journey. Because she feels she was brought to Trey for a reason, she helps him find a path toward God as well. As a consequence, the author made a conscious decision not to write sex into the story. That decision will appeal to many who have grown tired of authors including gratuitous sex in their books, but it will be a turn-off for those who can’t read anything without it turning into pornography.
All in all, I could not have enjoyed Chrome Mountain any more than I did. The story kept me glued. I struggled to put it down. All of its foibles gave it a refreshing charm. I found only one unintentional grammar issue. It will have its detractors, but I am not one of them. I do not hesitate to give this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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