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Predator

by Terri Blackstock
327 pages, Suspense
Reviewed by Ariel_of_Narnia

Non-explicit, but not for the sensitive reader.

Plot

Krista Carmichael's fourteen-year-old sister has been attacked and killed by an online predator. The tragedy shakes Krista and her dad David to the core as they cope with hard questions, their hatred for the predator, and trying to prevent him from victimizing more girls. Krista's mission reaches one Ryan Adkins, creator of the social media site that was Ella's downfall.

Morality

Krista and David do their best to stay together and make sure Ella's death is not in vain. However, instead of leaving it to the police, they take matters into their own hands; a couple of their methods are questionable at best and should not be repeated. These actions are seen as ill-advised and/or risky. One such involves Krista trying to lure the killer out through a false account.

Ryan also tries to do something about how his brainchild has been used so horribly. This includes a case in which his buddy hacks to download a program for the sake of justice; Ryan is uneasy, but doesn't stop him. This is seen as something of a grey area, though ill-advised. Other than such cases, the good is good and the bad is bad.

Spiritual Content

Most of the characters in the story are Christians. One is a "returning" Christian. Krista, in an attempt to remain strong, puts on a front for others to see even though she's really crumbling behind her mask (said facade is clearly indicated as wrong). Verses are quoted, Biblically-based encouragement is given, questions about God and the problem of evil are raised.

The predator says that he targets Christian girls.

Violence

The predator beats his victims horribly (not described beyond listing the injuries of one girl who's beaten half to death). One of the victims is partially buried alive and another nearly is. One girl receives multiple death threats.

Krista and David have a murderous vendetta to make the predator suffer. Krista buys a gun for that purpose; David has a tussle with a man he suspects.

A car is run off the road and later fireballs, but its occupants make it out in time. A house is bombed. One character has suicidal thoughts. Shots and blows are exchanged. Dogs viciously attack a man.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Ryan at one point takes something for a headache. David is prescribed sleeping pills (but he doesn't take them). Passive mentions of drug use in bad neighbourhoods. A teen smokes a cigarette.

Sexual Content

The predator rapes his victims (never described). Some of the girls Krista ministers to at a mission are prostitutes and/or pregnant teens. There's mention of some fathers raping their own daughters.

There's a little bit of attraction between Krista and Ryan that goes no further than a little comforting hand-holding and hugging and a single kiss. David, with his misgivings about Ryan in general, does not approve of their increasing interaction while working on the case.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

A couple mentions of unrecorded curses.

Conclusion

A good read with lots of raw emotion, questions and answers about God, and lessons concerning revenge and peace. Nothing in the story is explicit, but it's not a happy read either - keep out of reach of children and sensitive teens and adults. At the same time, this book dishes out heavy warnings concerning predators: take them to heart and share them.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: adult

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