3 out of 4 stars
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Detective Lou Decker's temporary suspension from duty will not stop his search for his missing sister, Shelley. Lou has never been a fan of Shelley's husband, Herb Van Doss, but when Herb shares his concerns about Shelley's involvement with a religious cult, Lou has no choice but to trust the facts Herb presents. As Lou pursues the leads, he finds himself pulled into the strange supernatural occurrences surrounding the cult. What Lou doesn't realize is that he's walked straight into a battle for his soul.
While the satanic forces seem to have the upper hand, Lou begins to discern that there is a source of peace and light fighting on his side. But how can a man who doesn't believe in God overcome the evil forces in his life? As Lou continues the search for his sister, he'll dig deep into some soul-searching as well. With the help of his new Christian friends, he may find the strength to overcome the skepticism in his heart, but will he make the right decision before the cult unleashes the full extent of their deceptions on the small lakeside community?
Pursuit is an intriguing supernatural thriller by John C. Owens. I loved how this book started with a lot of action and suspense. The author got right into the development of the antagonists after introducing Lou Decker and the current status of his life. When I began reading this book, I believed that Lou would have significant struggles with grief and alcoholism, based on what I read in the back cover description. However, as the book progressed, I didn't feel that he was profoundly struggling in these areas. Instead, I got the impression that he was an average, likable guy that had become callous to the world and cynical to the religious aspects of Christianity. It was this aspect of his character that made his journey toward redemption so engaging. The positive forces in his life had the opportunity to show him the love of Christ in contrast to the demonic occurrences he witnessed, and these events made for a compelling salvation story.
I also enjoyed the American Indian aspects of the narrative. It was interesting to see how the indigenous American Christians had incorporated some of their native rituals into their Christian faith. For example, the sweat lodge ritual was a way to purify the heart and draw close to God in prayer and fasting. The pow-wow was also an opportunity to draw the community together in fellowship. I enjoyed how this event helped Decker feel like part of the adopted family in the Dakota tribe. The friendship and family that Decker found at Camp Ohiyesa was my favorite part of the book, and I enjoyed the relaxed pace that allowed the reader to embrace Lou's journey for truth and learn alongside him.
A few loose ends and underdeveloped subplots felt slightly glazed over, but overall, I enjoyed the novel and its conclusion. The pop-culture references were a bit dated, and many of them went over my head, which diminished my ability to enjoy the humor throughout the book. I also noticed numerous editing issues, which reduced my rating of this engaging story to three out of four stars.
I agree with the author's recommendation that Christian readers who enjoy Frank Peretti's books would enjoy Pursuit. I would also extend the invitation to readers who enjoy Ted Dekker's books. The supernatural elements and Lou's realistic concerns create a compelling story that may appeal to readers who like thriller novels in general. There were a few minor swear words used by the antagonists and no erotic content. The plot involves a brief depiction of human trafficking, which may trigger those sensitive to this issue.
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