THIN AIR

Bette Nordberg, Author . Bethany $11.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7642-2398-3

From the author of Serenity Bay and Pacific Hope comes this unimaginatively titled evangelical Christian novel that's slow-starting but ultimately an engrossing read. Beth Cheng is a wildlife biologist who lives in Washington State with three small children and a pastor-husband, Allen, who wishes she didn't have to work. But his small congregation of Maple Hills Church in Bellevue can't support the family, and Beth enjoys her job. When she takes off as a passenger in a small plane to wrap up her impact study about goats on Mt. Rainier, readers will know a crash is inevitable. Admirably, Nordberg still keeps the tension palpable, and believably portrays Beth's emotions after she survives the crash. When mountain recluse and Vietnam veteran Dennis Doyle discovers Beth struggling for survival, her half-Japanese heritage becomes a foil that helps him break out of the prison of his past. Nordberg occasionally tells rather than shows and uses Christian lingo in spots, but she merits praise for her use of Asian-American protagonists, rarely seen in CBA novels. Interestingly, although Beth is a wildlife biologist, motherly concerns about bears in her backyard cause her to disapprove of local natural habitat corridors, and she also seems fairly neutral toward a ski lodge expansion. Nordberg handles her human interactions better, neatly avoiding male/female stereotypes in her portrayal of Allen, who is intuitive and meets his family's emotional needs better than Beth. Nordberg also fairly depicts the comfort of having a Christian community during times of crisis. However, a disappointingly clichéd ending mars an otherwise captivating novel. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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