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Book Review: “Conspiracy in Kiev,” by Noel Hynd

26 Jan

2973660Genre: mystery; suspense; intrigue

Plot Summary: Alexandra LaDuca is a capable young investigator at the US Department of the Treasury. She is bright, beautiful, knows several languages, and is an excellent marksman. All of which makes her a perfect candidate to work with the Secret Service in Ukraine– a job she can’t wait to get over and done with so she can marry her fiancé who is also in the Secret Service. But something goes terribly wrong on the job, and soon Alex finds herself in the middle of intrigue so big, she travels three continents to put the pieces together.

My Book Review: Several years ago, I attempted to read a thriller-novel, Flowers in Berlin by Noel Hynd but couldn’t get into it at the time. Conspiracy in Kiev (Book #1 in the Russian Trilogy Series) was my second try at this author. To be honest, I do not know very much about this Mr. Hynd, and do not know if he is a Christian, or what his testimony is. This series is published by Zondervan (well-known Christian publisher), but the reason I gave up Flowers in Berlin was that I didn’t care for some of the content. However, that was several years back and I may have a different opinion were I to try it again.

This book was very much in the same vein as Robert Ludlum and other various espionage thrillers. I think I much prefer reading this series as opposed to the other authors out there.  However, just because this is under the genre of ‘Christian fiction’ doesn’t mean it is soft on the thriller aspects. There were many grisly scenes and I know I would not have been able to handle it if the gore-factor was any more than it was or if I had been watching it as a movie. Not everything is squeaky-clean. Black marketeer, underworld crime, and the mafia don’t exactly frequent pristine worlds—we’re talking strip clubs and sleazy night joints here. Alex finds herself playing the uncomfortable role of going on a date with an Ukrainian murderer in order to accomplish her mission. These elements may or may not sit okay with some readers.

For me, I finished the book and am wanting to read the next in the series. There are a lot of different plot threads that lead to someplace in common and that keep you interested and moving on to the next chapter. I liked that a lot of the chapters were short and switch back and forth from Italy to Ukraine and other countries, which kept me engaged.

241bd602a0f1e76fa829b58197d54c8bNearing the end, I felt that maybe there was too much stuffed into this book. It started to become unbelievable that Alex could endure so many traumatic events and not have a complete nervous breakdown. I mean, there are two more books in this series, with a sequel series after that. What else is this character going to have to go through? I also would have liked it had the main character only operated between the US and Ukraine. Instead, Alex spends the first half of the novel focused on Ukraine, and the second half off on a different mission in Venezuela. It just felt a imbalanced to me. It might have worked better had this book been chopped into two?

There is a spiritual aspect in the form of Alex’s faith which she clings to throughout the course of the story. Those who don’t appreciate preachy fiction will be glad to know they won’t find that here. However, I felt that Alex’s faith lacked any real life. If I am going to read a book about a Christian character, I prefer to read a little more than that character fingers their cross-shaped necklace. But the religious content in this book is more than you’ll get in most of the mainstream thrillers out there.

Anyway, there’s a lot going on in this book, and I don’t recommend reading it piece-meal over several months as I did. One starts to forget what just happened in the last chapter and has to go back to refresh their memory. The history and political facts seemed well-researched and and I am more aware of the country of Ukraine that I was before reading this book. Always good to learn something!

I liked this, but I didn’t love it. I’m interested in these types of adventure-stories, but maybe I’m just not a die-hard fan of international thrillers. For those of you who are, this may be a great read for you!

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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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