Thursday, September 1, 2011
The Vengeance Squad by Sidney W. Frost
Chris and Sarah sit across from each other at a table in an outlet mall in Round Rock, Texas. Their conversation? Mutual declarations of how happy they are and excited anticipation of their impending wedding, just two weeks away. Well, you and I both know happiness doesn't make a great story only a satisfactory conclusion to a great story. So what happens next?
For a few moments Chris and Sarah have forgotten the rest of the world as they lose themselves in each other's company. This reverie is rudely and abruptly interrupted when a helicopter lands near their table and men dressed in camouflage, masked and armed with machine guns jump out and rob a nearby bank. Fast forward through a whirlwind of mishaps and we find Sarah lying in Chris' arms, dying.
She pulled me closer so I could hear her weakened voice. 'This is God's will. I'll see you again when it's your time. Until then, be happy. Find someone to love you as much as I do...”
“No!" I screamed. I looked around. “Help us, please.” I relaxed my grip to look into her face once more. She was always beautiful, but I saw something beyond beauty.
“ ….Chris,” Sarah said. “You have to let me go. I love...”
She sank into my arms as her life left her body.
Now that's the impetus for a good story! Chris now embarks on a journey of anger, bitterness and a driving ambition for vengeance. He decides that he is going to hunt down these bank robbers, whoever they are, and kill them. Thus begins an action packed adventure story that rises above the normal fast ride because the author takes the experience to a spiritual level. Our walk with God is what makes any part of life significant.
The Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, was asked how all the suffering in the world can be accounted for. Zacharias' reply: It depends on who's asking.
For the Hindu, whatever happens is Karma; for the Muslim it is God's will, for the atheist everything's just an evolutionary accident. Only in the context of the Christian paradigm can such a question justifiably be asked.
Chris McCowan, the protagonist of The Vengeance Squad, struggles with this question. A church goer all his life, he lashes out in anger against God in typical fashion: he decides God doesn't exist. It was C.S. Lewis that said that most atheists are guilty of circular reasoning. They don't believe God exists and are angry at Him for not existing.
Chris is guilty of this reasoning. If God doesn't exist, Who is the object of his rage? Another point this book made me consider is that one can believe they have relationship with God but when crisis happens in our life-that's the proof of where we really stand. Do we endure to the end, leaning on the power of God? Or do we, like Chris, sink into bitterness and rage?
The book introduces us to a number of interesting characters, all of which show us that even though Chris abandons God, God never abandons him. One of the characters is an ex marine/ ex drug addict/ ex convict named Tex who doesn't let being wheelchair bound limit his opportunities or joy.
With the help of Tex, a mothering librarian who nevertheless has powerful connections, a mysterious and beautiful (of course!) FBI agent (or is she?) and quite a bit of computer know how, Chris and Tex are able to trace and chase the killers, uncovering a much bigger and more dangerous plot in the process.
All in all I found this book a fun read with a lot of action and interesting characters plus the spiritual food for thought I already mentioned. I think the book would make an even better movie.
The Vengeance Squad is Mr. Frost's second book. Himself an ex marine and adjunct computer science professor, Mr. Frost draws on personal experience which gives the book an authentic flavor.
Also, for all of you from Texas, Mr. Frost currently resides in Georgetown and his novel takes place in the Round Rock area. Those of us familiar with Austin will recognize a number of the locations mentioned in the book.
I received a complimentary book from the author in exchange for my honest review. For more information you can visit Mr. Frost's web site: http://sidneywfrost.com/index.htm