Of all the books I’m reading this year, here is the complete list of authors I’m covering who write “Christian thrillers,” or “Christian military,” novels. Ready? Here we go, here’s the entire list: Joel C. Rosenberg.
Some list, eh? But look, there’s a reason for that. I happen to know that a fair amount of thriller authors are religious people. Others, most definitely, are not. Both groups are full of really great, awesome people. To each their own.
The lack of Christian thriller novels mostly has to do with money and the marketing size. Anyone with writing talent can make way more cash writing and selling to a secular crowd. Rosenberg, one of my favorite authors, began his career with a secular publisher before switching (after two books) to Tyndale House Publishing – a Christian publishing house.
Rosenberg’s books are not “preachy,” but at the same time the reader knows where he stands when it comes to his faith and religion. He’s found a perfect balance, really, and is an annual New York Times bestselling novelist.
Religion is a turnoff to some readers, I get it. So, too, are authors who write too much of their political beliefs into their novels. Conservative authors, especially those who write political thrillers, are often criticized for this. Personally, none of it bothers me one bit.
However, I write all that to say this: Dony Jay makes it very clear where he stands on the issue of religion but, like Rosenberg, has found a wonderful balance in his writing. If his stance on Christianity is the sole reason you chose not to read this book, I challenge you to be a tad bit more open-minded and give The Warrior Spy a chance.
No, his book is not preachy (though it wouldn’t matter to me if it was), nor is his character lame or weak because of his trust in God. On the contrary, Dony Jay has developed a fantastic character with layers of realism that readers can connect with. His writing is similar to the way Alex Berenson’s series protagonist John Wells relies on his deep faith in Islam, except in Jay’s novel Christianity is the focus.
Reagan Rainey is known for two things: his Christian faith, and his status as a Delta Force operator. Rainey is called upon to help the CIA when several of their operatives end up dead. Additionally, a scientist working with the Defense Department, who specializes in laser-based weaponry, has gone missing. Evidence suggests the two events are related, which is where Reagan comes into play. He’s the guy brought in to get answers when they’re needed right away.
Reagan is not all that different from other stars in the genre–like Joshua Hood’s Mason Kane or Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan. They’re all elite soldiers who specialize in different things, and each has their own unique style and tendencies.
What sets Reagan apart is his faith, which is what he calls upon for strength when he needs it most. Again, the subject matter isn’t preachy, it’s just a part of who the character is–and Reagan really is a fascinating character.
The story has enough twists and turns to keep you off-balance and guessing, and enough action to keep your heart rate elevated (in a good way!) until the very end. I found the ending to be a very satisfying conclusion, but it’s left opened-ended enough that a sequel could be in the works.
A strong, unique character combined with a page-turning story makes The Warrior Spy a fun and entertaining debut novel from a promising new author.
I think Dony Jay has written a solid foundation should he chose to make The Warrior Spy into a series. Some people are naturally turned off the second they hear the words “indie author” or “self-published,” which is why I often remind them that many famous, bestselling authors were originally overlooked by publishers at the start of their career.
All of that said, Jay has room for improvement. That’s more of an observation than a knock on him, as most authors would admit it takes time to perfect the craft of writing a novel. For my money, though, I’d purchase The Warrior Spy over several other books I’ve read and reviewed already this year from authors who are published and signed to some big book deals.
Dony Jay has a background in law enforcement and knows his stuff. His ideas are creative and intriguing, and he’s a natural at developing characters–especially his protagonist. Rainey is a patriot, no doubt a trait he shares with his creator, and is very easy to root for. His abilities aren’t over-the-top, nor does the reader have to suspend their disbelief (any more than they would with another thriller) to enjoy the story.
The Warrior Spy is a solid debut book and is definitely worth the $1.99 asking price for the Kindle version, though it’s also available in paperback. Jay is the perfect mix of Joel Rosenberg and Alex Berenson, and with a little polishing I think he could become a real player in the thriller genre–I expect he’ll catch the eye of agents and publishers in no time.