At Sea

This is a great stand-alone book even though it is #16 in the Harbingers series. I have not read any of the others, so was clueless about the characters and plot. In the opening scene, we see a man waking up in a small room. He is lying on the bed while wearing a full tux, complete with shiny shoes. He does not know who he is or why he is in what looks like a cruise ship cabin.

He eventually meets a man and two women who are in the same state. They struggle to understand what is happening to them as they make their way through an abandoned ship. When they rescue a boy, he knows them and calls them by name. Emotionally, they all believe they know him as well.

The Harbengiers series is a collection of stories interconnected by one major plotline–specifically, the Book of Revelations. Each of the four authors takes a turn at writing the next segment. Bill Myers writes as Brenda, Jeff Gerke as Chad, Angela Hunt as Andi, and Alton Gansky as Tank. They always write in that order and each group of four stories makes up a full book. This story closes book 4. Harbingers 17 is now available.

I can’t judge the whole series by this one book, but I can say that Gansky wrote a captivating story.  He used all the tricks of suspense, There was little time to relax before the next problem hurtled toward them. Each chapter ended with a cliff-hanging question.

Without having read the preceding 15 episodes I did have a little trouble with the ending which introduced a couple of characters with little explanation. That did not detract much.

This is a good example of how to write a Christian story. The characters displayed true Christian attitudes even as they wanted to punch each other from time to time. All swearing was done off stage–“he swore.” Otherwise, real people.

Mike Lawrence

The Informer

After reading Takagi’s first novel, The Tattoo Murder Case (my review here), I am somewhat disappointed in The Informer. My biggest complaint is that I read 91 pages of setup before the murder. It was not wasted, he did introduce all the players and we got to know their strengths and weaknesses. But…91 pages?

There is more telling than showing, as was the case for writers in 1965 when the book came out. The translation by Sadako Mizugughi failed to capture the right English phrasing for the story. It was somewhat stilted and archaic.

The main storyline had Shigeo Segawa becoming a spy to get the secret of a new product being developed by the family-owned company of his former best friend Shoichi Ogino. Along the way, Segawa had many twists and turns. When the police began investigating Ogino’s murder, Segawa was a chief suspect.

The author gave us several suspects but failed to give us the one clue we needed to solve the case. In fairness, the police did not have the clue either.

All things considered, it was a good read. I was never tempted to put it down like the several other books waiting for me to try again.

Mike Lawrence