Put The Bourne Identity into a blender along with a Hardy Boys novel. Blend thoroughly. What you’ll end up with is The Long Way Home, a new young adult work of fiction by renowned writer Andrew Klavan.
This is the second book in a series called The Homelanders. The action kicks off right from the start with teen protagonist Charlie West battling an assassin in the men’s bathroom of a local library. Charlie’s not quite sure why he’s being targeted because he’s completely lost his memory of the past year. A shadowy group of killers is after him for reasons that are unclear to him. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Charlie’s also being chased by the police because they’re convinced he murdered a high-school friend.
Klavan is known for gritty thrillers like True Crime and The Animal Hour, works that are often savage and shocking in their portrayal of the baser aspects of human nature. I appreciate that he has taken more of a family-friendly approach to his Christian fiction, but it seems that in sanitizing his story he has lost some of the suspense of his earlier work. Rather than his usual vivid imagery, The Long Way Home is rather bland at times.
Though some realism has been lost, Klavan does succeed in importing his suspicions about the dangers of the anti-religious current behind the liberal media and today’s popular culture, chronicled in his best-seller Empire of Lies, into this second installment of The Homelanders.
As a whole, I’m very enthusiastic about Klavan’s attempt to portray love of country and God in the teen hero Charlie West. And I’d love to see young people get caught up in stories like this that are grounded in such solid moral principles. But I’m left feeling that he has not proved completely successful in bringing the best of his story-telling skills to the Christian market.
Would you like to sample The Long Way Home for yourself? Check out the first few chapters for free at TheHomelanders.com/banners/SampleChapters.pdf … leave me a comment and let me know what you think.