Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hell On Wheels

Hell on Wheels
By Julie Ann Walker

This book is the first of a three book series (Walker got the three book deal up front) about Black Knights Inc., a secret, secret arm of the government who goes in to do the jobs needed without being able to be traced back to the United States. It is a romance -- on the spicy side -- but at the same time very realistic in terms of describing the suffering of torture victims and the reality of seeing and hearing about violence.

There is some foul language, although, after my reading of The Rock Star in Seat 3A, I probably was more immune to it. It also took a long time for the motorcycles to make an appearance. And very little action actually happened on the motorcycle itself.

The main storyline is about Nate "Ghost" Weller, a sniper, who recently lost his partner and best buddy, Grigg Morgan in Syria. Grigg's sister, Ali, comes to Nate and Black Knights, Inc., to ask for help three months after her brother's death. What she doesn't realize is that Black Knights is no ordinary chop shop and Nate had more to do with her brother's death than he lets on. As their relationship heats up, danger gets closer and closer to Ali.

I liked the fact that Ali was tough but she would toss her cookies if things got gross or upsetting. I know that sounds weird, but at least here was a fictional character who really reacted to violence. I don't think normal people could remain as calm as do many fictional characters in these types of books.

What did this book has to do with my faith: where is God when you can't forgive yourself? Nate had to perform a mercy killing that he just can't seem to get over. He refuses to go seek professional counseling, he avoids talking about it (he isn't a big talker, anyway), he tries to protect others the best he can yet he cannot seem to live with himself. He has been through a horrible situation and done the best he could for himself and others. But he is constantly punishing himself for what he has done, judging himself harsher than anyone else does or would do if they knew his story. How many times have I lacked basic forgiveness for myself for an action or non action? How many times have a replayed a scene from my life over and over, judging, blaming and criticizing myself even though no one else has done so or even would do. God is certainly not as big of a judge as I am toward myself. What makes me think I am better at judging that God? Certainly, God is more forgiving!

I recommend Hell on Wheels with the caution that there are some details of torture and death that are not pleasant.

Happy reading!


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