cover image The Next Target

The Next Target

Nikki Arana. David C. Cook, $14.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7814-0431-0

Award-winning novelist Arana (The Winds of Sonoma) brings her real-life ministry among Muslim women to bear in her newest. When ESL teacher Austia hires a translator, Zaki, to work among Muslim immigrants learning English, she soon suspects he is involved with a plot to kill her because of his ties to a terrorist cell. But Zaki is actually an operative for the FBI infiltrating the cell to bring it down. He’s torn between a tough assignment and a precarious cover, and any overt action to keep Austia safe will jeopardize his mission. Arana’s vivid imagery is imbued with spiritual force (“The single, avid eye of hell was focused on her every move”), and her pacing is fiercely powerful. The novel raises gripping issues of liberties, religion, and cross-cultural and cross-religious dialogue. Through the eyes of Zaki and Austia, deep religious and moral conviction is examined in real-life situations. Characters are multidimensional as they fight “[f]or truths that were self-evident, for rights endowed by the Creator...” Above all else, Arana treats the interplay of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism compassionately and fairly. Agent: Natasha Kern. (June)