Friday, May 21, 2010

Internet Predator

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

By Terri Blackstock

Internet predators are a hot topic these days. Predator is the second novel I’ve read about it in the last two months. In this book, the predator takes advantage of naïve young girls who broadcast personal information on a social networking site called GrapeVyne. The main character, Krista, is the sister of a victim. When her sister’s body is found, she storms the office of the CEO of the site to demand it be shut down. To her surprise, Ryan Adkins is young and compassionate, and uses his position to help her educate others of the dangers.

This is isn’t really a crime drama, but Krista and Ryan, along with her father, help find the predator. I suppose the book is really a psychological thriller. Blackstock uses multiple point of view changes to let the reader feel the pain of the victims and their families, the guilt of the site creators and even the motivation of the predator. It’s a distressing topic and the characters are driven by their pain. Their actions are impulsive and foolish, their faith is challenged and God seems absent. But there is a valid resolution, with hope for healing.

It took me half of the book to begin to care about the characters. Krista’s and her father’s pain was foreign to me and their response was extreme. Although they were active members of a church, no one in that community seemed to offer support of any kind, and they were alone in their grief and anger. The police also seemed ineffective in searching for the predator, so all three protagonists believed that they had to find him themselves. Neither of those situations rang true to me, although the anguish that drove them was authentic. Surprisingly, the character I liked the most was the CEO of GrapeVyne. He risked everything to help Krista and provided the emotional support she badly needed.

Because this book is a mix of character and mystery, it will appeal to all types of readers. If you like character driven books with strong emotions, you’ll find it compelling. If you like murder mysteries, there are plenty of clues and twists to lead you to the predator. But if you’re looking for a definitive answer to the question of where God is when bad things happen, you might be disappointed. In spite of the absence of Christian counsel, I actually found that to be one of the most authentic things in the book. There are no easy answers to that question, and Blackstock doesn’t try to give one. Instead, she leaves us with hope in the goodness of God.

Pros: Strong characters who face a horrendous problem with deep emotions. It has a good mystery with a satisfying conclusion. It also helps reveal the problems with social networking.

Cons: The emotions are strong and hard for people who have not experienced extreme pain to relate to.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Zondervan (May 25, 2010)


Terri Blackstock


Terri Blackstock’s books have sold six million copies worldwide. Her suspense novels often debut at number one on the Christian fiction best-seller lists, and True Light, published last year, was number one of all Christian books—fiction and non-fiction. Blackstock has had twenty-five years of success as a novelist.

In 1994 Blackstock was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, in addition to the thirty-two she had in the secular market. Her most recent books are the four in her acclaimed Restoration Series, which includes Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light. She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 and Cape Refuge Series.

In addition to her suspense novels, she has written a number of novels in the women’s fiction genre, including Covenant Child, which was chosen as one of the first Women of Faith novels, and her Seasons Series written with Beverly LaHaye, wife of Tim LaHaye.

Blackstock has won the Retailer’s Choice Award and has appeared on national television programs such as The 700 Club, Home Life, and At Home Live with Chuck and Jenny. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country and the subject of countless articles. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.


The murder of Krista Carmichael's fourteen-year-old sister by an online predator has shaken her faith and made her question God's justice and protection. Desperate to find the killer, she creates an online persona to bait the predator. But when the stalker turns his sights on her, will Krista be able to control the outcome?

Ryan Adkins started the social network GrapeVyne in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation. But he never expected it to become a stalking ground for online Predators. One of them lives in his town and has killed two girls and attacked a third. When Ryan meets Krista, the murders become more than a news story to him, and everything is on the line.

Joining forces, he and Krista set out to stop the killer. But when hunters pursue a hunter, the tables can easily turn. Only God can protect them now.

Enter the Terri Blackstock iPad CONTEST:

To read the first chapter of Predator, click HERE.

Watch the book trailer video!

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