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    Review of BLOOD LINES by Mel Odom (see his website)

    NCIS #3

    Tyndale House, December 2008

    Marine Gunnery Sergeant Shel McHenry becomes a target when he's forced to kill the man he is sent to arrest--a gang member who hijacked another marine's car and left him permanently disabled. The dead man's father, Victor Gant, a Viet Nam veteran who now runs a drug dealing operation, might not have been the best father in the world, but he certainly doesn't intend to keep breathing the same air as the man who killed his son.

    Shel's danger expands when Victor threatens his family--and tells him that Shel's father, also a Viet Nam veteran, murdered another solider in Viet Nam. Shel is forced to confront the one thing he's been running from his whole life--the harsh relationship he has with his own father.

    The conflict between Shel and Victor escalates, eventually bringing in Shel's entire NCIS team and Victor's Viet Nam drug contacts as well.

    While Shel wrestled with survival, he also wrestles with his lack of faith. Although his brother is a preacher, Shel has never had much time for faith. As for their father, he knows he's committed a crime that will cause God to turn away from him forever.

    Author Mel Odom (see more reviews of novels by Odom) weaves the theme of fatherhood through the story. Beginning on Father's Day, then bringing in Shel's issues with his father, Victor's own perverse fatherly love, NCIS Commander Will's estranged relationship with his own children, and the issue of God's fatherly love for humans, BLOOD LINES lets us see fatherhood from a variety of angles.

    BLOOD LINES is published by Tyndale House, a Christian publisher, and the issue of God is never far removed from the story. Odom does a great job blending faith with action, making the story appeal both to religious and non-religious readers. Faith plays its role, but doesn't overwhelm the story. Odom's strong characterizations drive the story forward. Although Victor is clearly evil, Odom makes even him sympathetic and understandable. Perhaps preacher Don is a bit too perfect, but he's a minor character. All of the major characters are flawed but doing their best to cope--or to control--their situation.

    If you're looking for an exciting action story with a strong element of faith, you won't go wrong with BLOOD LINES.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/05/09

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