Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Review: The Final Hour (Book 4 of The Homelanders Series)

Author: Andrew Klavan
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 19, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1595547150
ISBN-13: 978-1595547156


Charlie West's memory is finally returning---and he realizes that he somehow knows when the terrorists are going to strike next. Whatever it takes, he can't give in or give up until they're stopped. But the clock is ticking! Does he have enough time?


The Final Hour is the last installment in the Homelanders Series. The story opens with young hero, Charlie West, in the slammer for a murder he didn’t commit. He only agreed to take momentary blame so he could infiltrate a terrorist ring, and the terrorists have mostly been rounded up, yet days, weeks, months go by, without a peep that tells him why he’s still locked up.

His cop contact Rose finally visits but delivers the bad news, that Washington wants to brush events under the rug, as the controversy could hurt their global interests, so getting him out isn't going to be as easy as Rose had thought. He promises to continue to fight for Charlie but doesn’t make any promises as to when he’ll be released, but says it will, at minimum, take weeks.

The missing year of Charlie’s life from taking a drug to erase his memory while captured by the anti-Americans is still trickling back in bits and pieces, and he begins to remember a terrorist plot that’s planned for New Year’s Eve. But with sketchy info to go on, no proof, no one to call, more than a million lives on the line, and the prison guards not only against him but abusing him too, he has no one to turn to and no way to out to stop it. Charlie doesn’t have weeks! Only days!

The Final Hour offers a gritty glimpse into prison life and contains some violence, but it never veers into the obscene. It’s in line with other thrillers of similar vein. This beginning unfolds more slowly than the previous because he's locked up, but Klavan does a good job of building suspense and keeping it taut throughout.

Even though there’s no hammering Christian message in this book, which I prefer in fiction, it still managed to feel, to me, a little preachy at times, even though it’s not talk but rather a string of moral dilemmas Charlie must wrestle through. And the current rhetoric that insists “terrorists hate America because we’re free” felt very heavy-handed as well and was clung to so mightily, it nearly topples the story. Terrorists have a blend of motivations and reasons for committing acts of terror, but with Klavan picking just this one and having the Homelanders be so blatant with their hate and anti-American speech, it made the recruitment of random, everyday Americans implausible. Even if this is the main drive of such radicals, one would think, to recruit, you'd exploit the susceptible where their hate can bloom into a desire to commit violence. You wouldn't really care if they believed the same as long as there was a willingness to act.

There were parts in the end, showing Charlie in action, which were almost laughable, but still, it does provide great escapism and this is the perfect series for teens, boys especially, who love thrillers. It’s hard to find good “boy books” and this is a wild, morally sound, action-packed ride. You don't need to be a Christian to enjoy this, just a YA thriller lover. If you enjoy books by Robinson Wells or Patrick Carman, you will love the Homelander Series.

* I received this book free through Booksneeze, but that in no way compromised or affected my review.


~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

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