Head Game

Tim Downs, Author . WestBow $22 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59554-023-2

During the Gulf War, three men served together in psy ops, writing and disseminating highly successful propaganda to convince Iraqi soldiers to lay down their arms without resistance. Over a decade later, one such Iraqi is out for revenge, using more covert tactics of psychological warfare against the three Americans who he believes ruined his life. One by one, he manipulates these men's environments so that each will lose hope and feel entirely isolated by despair. Downs's Christian psychological thriller is a mixed bag; some elements, like the riveting comic-cum-suicide note that opens the story, are fresh and powerful. On the other hand, certain stock characters—the suffering widower (whose lovely wife was cut down, of course, by a drunk driver); the slick and stylized Middle Eastern terrorist; the heart-of-gold prostitute—are purely standard fare. A stunning plot twist at story's end goes a long way toward erasing the formulaic feel of the novel's characterizations, however. Even though there are a few unresolved plot threads and the novel is missing the quirky humor that marked some of Downs's earlier efforts (Shoofly Pie ; Chop Shop ), the pacing is strong, the story suspenseful and the Southern backdrop skillfully realized. (Jan. 9)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4185-7392-8
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-1-59554-323-3
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