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Countdown in Cairo by Noel Hynd

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The Advocate

Countdown in Cairo by Noel Hynd

Reviewed by Karri Compton

"I would recommend this book only to fans of international intrigue and those who don’t mind getting just a good story with nothing on which to chew."

Countdown in Cairo is the last novel in the Russian Trilogy. Alex LaDuca, a beautiful and multi-lingual Treasury Department agent, is called in to find a rogue CIA agent named Michael Cerny. He has been believed to be dead, but after a car bomb leaves one dead and one witness who says she saw Cerny alive, things change. He is supposedly selling American secrets to the Russians and Israelis. Alex needs to bring him in before he cashes in on his biggest deal ever.

Alex again works with Rizzo and Yuri Federov, using their expertise to chase Cerny across the world and back. Her new contact, Voltaire, brings an extra immoral element to the story, and the reader should wonder whether he can be trusted.

I give high marks for an expansive plot and detailed descriptions of international settings, but not for stellar prose. The dialogue is choppy and there’s a surplus of passive writing. To be fair, I admit I haven’t read any of Hynd’s other novels, save Midnight in Madrid, the second in the series. Therefore, I can’t compare his previous general market fiction to his Christian fiction. As Christian fiction, though, I’m not sure this novel works for me.

Yes, a sin is a sin, and I subscribe wholeheartedly to the idea that characters, even Christian ones, should be flawed. However, drunkenness and agreeing to seduce the enemy for information (stopping before the actual act) is too much even when done in the line of duty. Alex, the only believer in the book, mentions God and prayer only casually, never gives him honor and rarely seeks his help. As a result, she sees little meaningful spiritual growth. Some offensive language, perhaps considered mild these days, is used by a variety of characters. That’s not necessarily a negative for me, but I know it is for many readers.

True, there are cleaner, well-written Christian novels out there that don’t have much of an element of Christianity in them at all. However, at least they don’t throw in a Christian character just for the sake of having one, and then make the character nominal in his/her faith. I’d rather see a moral non-believer struggling to do the right thing than a believer barely giving a nod to God at all.

I would recommend this book only to fans of international intrigue and those who don’t mind getting just a good story with nothing on which to chew.

Karri ComptonKarri Compton, wife and mother of three teens, two cats, and a beagle, devours Christian fiction whenever possible. Her favorite genre is suspense/thriller, especially Ted Dekker and Steven James novels. Since promoting biblical worldview fiction is dear to her heart, she reviews on her blog, Fiction Fanatics Only! and is a staff reviewer for such sites as The Christian Suspense Zone and Fiction Addict. Her stab at writing a novel confirmed what a tough job it is, and so the work is shelved for now, allowing the pros to do what they do best. When she isn't reading and reviewing, Karri stays busy at church and performing in various community theater companies.