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In this promising if sometimes grisly debut of inspirational suspense, Hines introduces Jude Allman, a man who has been declared clinically dead several times, but who always comes back to life. Allman becomes a paranoid recluse in Red Lodge, Mont., where he works under an assumed name as a school janitor; His son, Nathan, lives with his mother elsewhere in town. As a string of child abductions begin, Jude finds he possesses supernatural powers that allow him to see into the lives of others. When Nathan is kidnapped, Jude finds his purpose and his faith. Hines handles the numerous flashbacks and switches in point of view well, and has a deft touch in knowing just how much information to give and how much to withhold. There are a few trouble spots: Allman’s battle with paranoia is wrapped up too easily, and Nathan’s mother is unnaturally calm about her son’s abduction. The descriptions of children hung in burlap bags, chained to beds or caged are not for the faint of heart. Hines does an excellent job of laying false trails to keep doubts alive as to the identity of the serial killer. Readers who consider most faith thrillers too tame should find this satisfactorily chilling.
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