When I was asked by David C. Cook Publishing to do a review for Nikki Arana’s new book, The Next Target, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I don’t mean that in a bad sense either. This book is filled with action and suspense. Although it’s fiction, it has a remarkable resemblance to reality.
Austia Donatelli is a widow who strives to keep her husband’s ministry alive but comes to a crossroads when her friend is killed, and she knows her death was related to the ministry. Her work of teaching English classes in a Muslim community is really a cover-up for her underground ministry of leading Muslims to God. The leaders in the Muslim community catch wind of what’s going on and begin plotting to end the underground ministry. Austia is torn between her mission and the people around her as she watches many lives be taken by the Muslim leaders.
Even as she toys with the idea of falling in love with someone new, Austia must be careful of who she trusts and who she lets in to her life.
The Next Target is a great book with an amazing message. What would you do? Would you give up on your faith and a ministry you know God has called you to do if you saw those around you being murdered because of it? Would you continue your ministry even with the knowledge that you’re probably the next target?
This book hits close to home for my own family, which kept me turning the pages. While it is full of page-turning action, I found myself getting stuck in a few places. There were times I had to go back and re-read because I was lost at what was going on, and the characters take a while to become developed. Sometimes I had to look back at character descriptions to figure out which person she was talking about. Chapter 6 had me reading and re-reading trying to figure out whether Zaki and Hussein were two different people or the same person and who was the leader. Something about it confused me, so it took me longer to get through that chapter, and I still found myself confused on the two as I read.
Overall it was a great book with few challenges. I would recommend it to friends because I believe it has a great message and forces the reader to ask what he or she would do in Austia’s situation. For the most part, we are passionate about our beliefs and faith, but is there a breaking point where you throw it all away to save the lives of those around you?
You can find out more about the book at TheNextTarget.com
Follow on Twitter @nikkiarana and @David_C_Cook with Twitter Hashtag #nexttarget