ICE

Shane L. Johnson, Author . WaterBrook $13.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-57856-548-1

Johnson's credentials as a spaceflight historian and design consultant for the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon are evident in the authentic details that characterize this intriguing Christian suspense thriller. The first half of the novel is strong, inducing a knuckle-biting tension when things go awry in space (shades of the movie Apollo 13). Mission commander Gary Lucas and lunar module pilot Charles Shepherd are part of an Apollo 19 expedition that is the first to explore the Moon's south pole. A malfunction causes them to leave their lunar vehicle and set out on what they assume will be their final walk. On Earth, there's heavy lobbying for a recovery mission to bring back the bodies of the presumed-dead astronauts. As the novel progresses, the writing becomes problematic, with dreamlike, confusing twists that become difficult for the reader to follow. Johnson occasionally overwrites ("they knew an abundant life once measured in robust decades had now dwindled to a trickle, a fragile flow of wispy, swiftly fading moments"). He also overuses words (sparkle, glitter) and relies on dialogue to carry some sections, as many thrillers do. Gary's wife is referred to as both "Diane" and "Annie," which is confusing for the reader. The NASA technical jargon is heavy, but carefully used, and a helpful two-page glossary is included to aid the reader. Despite some pitfalls, Johnson's vivid descriptions, touches of humor and skill at dramatic tension make this an enjoyable novel for the CBA market. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-307-45743-1
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