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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Assault on Saint Agnes by Joseph Courtemanche

Assault on Saint Agnes

When terrorists assault Saint Agnes Chruch in St. Paul, Minnesota, they expect to find a congregation of lambs: they get Bobby Krutz, instead. An unrepentant Cold Warrior, Kurtz destroys the terror cell with violent finality. 

Against his will, Kurtz is pulled back into the life he left behind decades before. He reluctantly picks up the burden of hunting the terrorists in our midst. He risks his life, and his marriage, in a single-minded pursuit of victory over evil.

Working with a shadowy government agency, Kurtz uses all of his skills and experience to fold a plan that would plunge the Twin Cities back into the Stone Age. The final battle rages across the plains during a Christmas Eve blizzard in a story that will leave the reader pleading for more of Kurtz and his team of experts. 


Release date: April 18th, 2016 from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but an autographed copy is available now at a reduced price from the author's website: Commotion In The Pews

The Guru's Review: 

I was asked by the author to review this novel before its release date and was provided a free electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. 

I really enjoyed this story. For a debut author, Courtemanche writes well and has a solidly constructed novel. I should not be surprised as the author lists his writing background and "training" in his bio, 
Assault on Saint Agnes is the recipient of the Genesis Award for best-unpublished work in 2015. That was awarded by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Assault on Saint Agnes has also finished second in the Athanatos Ministries Christian Novel Contest, and was a finalist in Operation First Novel. All three contests are highly regarded in the industry. 
Quite an impressive writing resume! This novel is not overly as fast paced as novels of similar genre, but the pace is fast enough to keep you coming back for more. This author definitely knows his subject matter and the novel is built upon the experience the author's career, as described by himself,
.......former Police Officer and Middle East/North Africa analyst....a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy, and an Arabic Linguist with training at the University of Minnesota and the Defense Language Institute (Honors Graduate) .......holds several military awards, including two flag letters of commendation for his work in providing real-time intelligence support to commanders in the field. His experience provides the background that’s crucial to his writing in the thriller genre. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and holds degrees from two other colleges as well. 
Seeing this novel revolves around Bobby Kurtz, it pays that Courtemanche has depicted him very relatable and one who the reader becomes endeared to. Somehow, I feel that Bobby is based somewhat on the author seeing that this main protagonist is depicted in an environment based on the author's past career. I can see nothing wrong with this and it definitely adds depth, and character to this "character"!

Courtemanche also portrays well the interpersonal relationships between Bobby's fellow agents and the hierarchy of this organization including their procedures and protocols. Again his past experience shines here and adds to the realistic feel of this novel including any action, suspense and intrigue. It sure does draw you in! This author really shines in creating the special ops plot and genre and he translates this past experience and expertise brilliantly. 

Courtemanche's research also extends to the terrorist plot line including the Muslim ideology and mindset for revenge, death, and destruction as part of following the Koran and its directives towards the American infidels. This is depicted well and shows the hatred towards the American people. I have read enough of these types of novels to know that how Courtemanche has depicted this is close to reality.

I am not a great fan of the romance genre either secular or Christian based, but when romance is included as part of the plot or a subplot, I do enjoy it, especially when it is written by a male author and a Christian one at that. I loved the romance created by Courtemanche between Bobby and his wife Grace, it shines of what Christian married love should be and needs to be. I look forward to more romance from this author as I feel he does this well and shows great potential for developing this further in future novels.

This is one very clean read, no sex or sexual innuendo, swearing, but there is violence and I feel in a novel like this you cannot get away with leaving this out, this is the reality of this type of plot as it does reflect real life. 
There are themes of redemption, sacrifice and relying on God but I would have preferred these to have been more obvious and developed as to their Christian/biblical source and the main character showing more of his faith in the events of this novel. There is great opportunity for the Christian worldview to be expressed in more detail here and it would have enhanced this novel better and taken it away from it being viewed as a clean read. As it is, it does not stand out as obvious Christian fiction until you get to the end of the novel. 

Here, what I am talking about is evident and very obvious in this scene that is very Christian/biblical orientated and presents the Gospel beautifully, and Courtemanche's love of his God shines through here. It shows the power of the Cross in changing a heart of hate and evil indoctrination towards God and the power of His might and Spirit to bring him into a right relationship with God, taking him from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. Very powerful and I don't see this as preachy or as bible bashing the reader. It fits in very well with the plot. 

This scene ends this novel really well and I can see the potential for Courtemanche to include more of these redemptive and spirit filled elements throughout the plot of his future novels. I feel that Christian fiction needs to stand out as such without bible bashing, preaching and turning readers away from the Gospel but rather pointing them towards this Gospel and its author. I can see that Courtemanche has great potential to do this in future novels.

I am very much looking forward to future novels from this very promising and talented author. 


Strongly Recommended

World building 4/5

Characters 4/5

Story 4/5

Spiritual level 3/5

Spiritual Enemy Level N/A

Average Rating: 4/5

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