On the surface, From the Ashes should have been a winner for me. And it started out with a bang: Super-secret agent has to kill a seven-year-old boy. He’s never hesitated on a hit before, but this one does him in. He gets the job done, leaves a few loose ends and promptly commits suicide. There are references to a “Division” and a dire secret that needs to be kept from the public at all costs. There might even have been talk of Communists. I’m all ears! Or eyes.
Unfortunately, the rest of the book just doesn’t deliver for me. The plot continues to be interesting, but it’s bogged down by too much inaction. I’m all for ramping up the emotion in a story, but in a thriller, you just can’t take the reader out of the story very long. In this case, there were passages of a page or more that were just plain boring. Even though the protagonists were grieving a terrible loss while undertaking their scary quest, the long talks and the “feelings” were just too long and repetitive. I found myself paging ahead to get back to the action.
The prose tended to the hyperbolic as well. Maybe it wasn’t quite purple (which I don’t mind, in the right context), but it was definitely lavender. It might also have been Christian, but it was kind of hard to tell. There was too much Oh my God! and Good Lord! to really qualify. Hey, I’ve read the guidelines for Christian fiction- you can’t even say shoot or dang it. On top of that, it wasn’t altogether consistent, so I couldn’t tell if the religion was just from the protagonist’s point of view, or if the author was trying to make a point.
I powered through to the end, but nearly gave up every 20 pages or so. Not how I want my thrillers to roll.