Denouce Christ or your daughter dies. That is the choice faced by televangelist Simon Mason in the brand new thriller Forsaken by James David Jordan. When terrorists kidnap his daughter, Mason turns to Taylor Pasbury, a beautiful ex-Secret Service agent for help. But Taylor is a troubled young woman and her relationship with Simon becomes a "quirky love story wrapped in an action thriller" according to the author.
"I wanted to write books that were great stories first and had a spiritual message second because I wanted to try to reach people who ordinarily wouldn't pick up that kind of novel," said Mr. Jordan in a recent interview.
It's safe to say that Mr. Jordan accomplished his mission with Forsaken. I started the book and could not put it down. And I'm not prone to read much Christian fiction.
My problem with most Christian novels is the temptation to make the characters too perfect which is an issue Mr. Jordan has as well.
"I am totally opposed to writing Christian fiction that revolves around religious superheroes.," said Mr. Jordan. "They (Simon and Taylor) make mistakes just like the rest of us."
The fact that the two main characters are flawed is precisely what makes the book so compelling. Simon has made his share of mistakes and some of those, if they became known, would destroy his life and ministry.
Taylor, on the other hand, is a woman of nominal faith and has been wounded by a mother who abandoned her and a father who was brutally murdered. She also has a lousy track record when it comes to relationships. She hides behind her tough veneer but deep down is someone who cares deeply for others. It's clear as her relationship develops with Simon she finds something attractive about him. But she is also intrigued by his faith and the struggles he works through as he wrestles with his decision whether to renounce his faith or save his daughter. It's a struggle grounded in Matthew 10:37-38 and a question that any Christian would find difficult to answer.
Forsaken strikes the balance between a compelling plot and a fascinating character in Taylor Pasbury. Mr. Jordan already has a second novel completed that will be published next year and will pick up on the loose ends left at the end of this book including details of her backstory.
Hats off to Mr. Jordan for constructing a terrific story that is also rich with Christian themes that will cause the reader to think about the practical workings of faith in real-life situations. Having met Taylor Pasbury through Forsaken, I can't wait to read the next chapter in her story. She's a character I could get used to reading about for a long time. I suspect Mr. Jordan wouldn't mind writing about her for years to come. If you haven't read a good thriller in a while, go pick up Forsaken. You'll be glad you did.
Click here to listen to the interview with James David Jordan.