Book Review: "Conspiracy in Kiev" by Noel Hynd

A shrewd investigator and an expert marksman, Special Agent Alexandra LaDuca can handle any case the FBI gives her. Or can she? Connecting the dots between an assassination attempt in Ukraine, a murder in Paris, and a brutal attack on a remote village in South America takes Alex on a dangerous puzzle-solving, soul-searching journey that changes her forever.

This is probably one of my surprising reads of the year. I had been a bit wary of this book because it was an unfamiliar author and I'm usually not a big fan of books that take place in Eastern European countries. However as soon as I started reading the book, I was hooked in completely. Alex is a character that I absolutely adored from the beginning. She's the type of heroine that you want to be, and that you like very much. She's strong, yet you can see her weaknesses. I really enjoyed all the historical facts that were presented in this book. As a historian, I appreciated how the author used real history and didn't create events to make the story better. It's interesting how real life events can be just as interesting (or even better) in comparison to fictional tales. Some readers might find these bits boring, as the history of Ukraine and the former Soviet Union are told in details but they are relevant to the plot of the story and shouldn't really be skimmed over. The story is extremely well researched and I actually felt like I had traveled to Europe along with Alex. With so much going on in the book, one would think the storyline would be hard to follow. However it's not and it makes for a very fast paced read. One other thing I really liked is that even though the author is male and writes as a first person female, Alex acts like a rational woman and does not fall into cliched stereotypes. I personally enjoyed the downplay of romance in this book.

There is quite a bit of violence in this book. The story is very action packed and many characters do die. In fact, it seemed that there was someone that died in almost every chapter. Characters also do drink socially throughout the story. This book felt very realistic in the way situations were handled. Events that take place in this book could pretty much be ripped from headline news. To be honest, I don't consider this book Christian fiction at all. It may be by published by a Christian publisher, but the story doesn't really project anything preachy. Alex does grow stronger in her faith but it is not a main focus point. In fact I would just consider this book to be a good international suspense thriller. By far and away this was one of the best suspense books I've read all year. Tight storyline, thrilling action sequences, an engaging heroine and a page turning read make this one of my favorite reads of the year. VERY HIGHLY recommended.

Conspiracy in Kiev by Noel Hynd is published by Zondervan (2008)


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