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'Sky Zone, The Crittendon Files,' by Creston Mapes

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"...only start reading when you have spare hours ahead because you can't stop once you start."


Creston Mapes explores the influence of "political correctness," the power of faith and the reality of terrorism in Sky Zone the conclusion to the "Crittendon Files" trilogy. Whether read as part of the fiction series or as a standalone title, the fast-paced opening scenes give tension and suspense new meaning played out with characters readers have come to love.

Jack Crittendon, former ace reporter, now "Mr. Mom," can't find a fulltime job and he and his wife Pamela, pregnant with "Crittendon number three" are at their wits end. Jack conceals the angry telephone calls from creditors and hides the mounting piles of unpaid bills from Pamela. While Pamela doesn't tell Jack her back and feet hurt so much she can't sleep at night because she's on her feet eight hours a day. The frustration of caring for Pamela's dementia challenged mother Margaret only adds to their problems.

Brian Shakespeare, an eccentric survivalist and Jack's best friend works security for EventsPros. Unable to find writing related work Jack finds himself working a part-time minimum wage job with Brian at Columbus, Ohio's twelve-thousand seat arena.

The pair, assigned to controversial presidential candidate, Martin Sterling's security detail can't know the night of October 6 will forever change their lives when their EventsPros supervisor announces, "We've got a national security threat."

Mapes fuses fiction with reality in a story that could be torn from tomorrows headlines. His compelling portrayal of unemployment, marital stress and the uncertain times we live in is realistic. The terrorist takeover of a large event, their outrageous demands and treatment of terrified hostages is authentic.

Brian's explanations about why he's a survivalist and why he stores extra commodities in case of "food and gas shortages" is realistic, persuasive and a credible part of the story. The arguments concerning America's nonstop "printing of new money" that results in the devaluation of the global benchmark currency, the American dollar is real. As is the "economic collapse" of the United States if China calls in the trillion dollars debt owed by the United States. It's for these reasons Mapes's story resonates with reality.

The story's surprise ending is foreshadowed throughout the book and in some cases too much so, however, only start reading when you have spare hours ahead because you can't stop once you start.

'Sky Zone, The Crittendon Files,' by Creston Mapes, David C Cook, 2014, 448 Pages, 978-0781408172, $14.99

Midwest Book Reviews—"Gail's Bookshelf:" July 2014

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