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Hide and Seek

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The Advocate

Hide and Seek
by Jeff Stuecker and Alton Gansky

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

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Law & Order morphs into Military & Government in Stuecker and Gansky’s newest Hide & Seek!

Amelia Lennon, an Army trained Foreign Affairs Officer, finds herself in the middle of settling a dispute with the Kyrgyzstan government over US rights to continued use of an airbase. Her worthy opponent is Jildiz Oskonbaeva, lawyer and daughter of Kyrgyzstan’s president.

On her way back home, Amelia witnesses a harried attempt to abduct Jildiz. She manages to prevent the kidnapping through aggressive driving but now finds herself with the President’s daughter on the run in a city full of chaos and violence. Political tension finally erupts!

Meanwhile on the base, Master Sergeant J.J. Bartley, Special Operations team leader, anticipates the arrival of two new team members for team training and then a little rest and relaxation prior to their next mission. He longs to be home with Tess, his pregnant-with-twins wife.

Within moments of quick introductions, the team is called into action as riots break out. As discreetly as possible, they are to locate and rescue Amelia and Jildiz amid the unpredictable and restless mobs knowing that the kidnappers are in heated pursuit of the women. Group dynamics are forged on the run and in the streets of a hostile country.

Lennon, simply put, is a beast when it comes to action and survival . . . and yet she is real. Her faith carries her through the troubling times. She is an excellent complementary protagonist to J.J. Barkley.

Struecker and Gansky’s emotional artistry is found in sentences like “The poison of deep pain exploded from her in convulsive sobs” and “She spun to face the third man, every muscle taut, every neuron firing, her fury in high gear.”

You’ll find no romance in these pages. It would have been a distraction. Yet there’s plenty of selfless love in Hide & Seek. The inclusion of the family dynamic, both from the team soldier’s perspective or the loved one (spouse, brother or commanding officer) adds realism and sobering believability. Vivid examples of internal conflict amidst the external battles are also found in this perfected blend of action and suspense.

The team’s focus and dependence on each other to succeed in their mission often reminded me of the infamous Star Trek quote from Spock, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

An uncanny coincidence, parallel to this storyline, is the recent riots in Libya and murders of the US Ambassador and three others. Sadly, it is much more than fiction!

I am a fan of this writing partnership. I look forward to more storylines from Struecker and Gansky.

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.