>Book Review: Betrayed by J. M. Windle
Tyndale, paperback; 365 pages; © 2008
Reviewed by Glenda Mathes
Jeanette Windle is one of the authors who has left traditional “safe” Christian fiction in her wake to sail into the relatively uncharted waters of contemporary suspense, and she cruises the genre extremely well.
Windle is a master storyteller whose imaginative and investigative skills create suspenseful plots of unparalleled authenticity. Part of her authenticity in writing about the politics and places of third world countries is rooted in her missionary childhood and adult experiences. But she also takes time to thoroughly research her subjects.
Her subjects in Betrayed are corruption, murder, and mystery in Guatemala City and the cloud forests of the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere. Although Windle’s writing is nail-bitingly suspenseful (and therefore, not for everyone), it is not gratuitously graphic (which makes it more appropriate than many murder mysteries). Windle leads the reader through a riveting story that demonstrates plot progression and character development.
When Vicki Anderson arrives in Guatemala City to research a ministry for street children on behalf of an American charitable foundation, she immediately becomes entwined in a tangled web of international intrigue and personal tragedy.
As Vicki comes to a better understanding of the people and events swirling around her, she also comes to a more personal understanding of the Christian faith.
The light of the gospel shines through Windle’s accurate portrayal of dark places and dark hearts. And occasional humor relieves the strain of suspense.
When Vicki asks a local man about his church, he responds by saying that they “sing and praise God….read the Bible, which is God’s Word” and “pray to our heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who is our Savior from sins.” When she persists by asking what denomination and explaining that there are many church groups in her country, his face lights up and he says, “Ah yes. We are Christian, of course.”
Although some plot developments seem almost too coincidental, it’s impossible to fault the author for this since she clearly points to God’s providence in all the twists and turns of this well-told story.