cover image FOOTSTEPS


DiAnn Mills, . . Barbour, $8.97 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-59310-179-4

Themes of forgiveness and faith permeate this predictable but mildly entertaining thriller for the Christian market. When Debra Patterson's successful but abusive lawyer-husband Michael abducts their two young children in Houston and disappears from the country, she hits the bottle and laments the turn her life has taken. Then her best friend Jill hooks her up with God, and after the inevitable conversion scene, Debra finds solace while waiting for news about her family by substitute teaching and volunteering in a hospital with critically ill and injured children. Soon she meets Dr. Cale Thurston, a cardiologist with his own issues of forgiveness and loss, and the two strike up a friendship that is destined for romance from the earliest pages. There are glitches—some readers will wonder why Michael abducted his kids at a mall when he had numerous opportunities to do so from home, and Debra's change from agnostic to Christian-retreat speaker feels over the top. The dialogue sometimes veers toward preachiness ("You are the best friend in the world—next to Jesus") and the novel is occasionally marred by overwriting ("her thoughts screamed like the sea gulls near Galveston"). But Christian readers looking for a gentle read, strong statements of faith, light suspense and a happily-ever-after ending should find this well-paced novel to their liking. (Sept.)