Book Review: The Network by L.C. Shaw (ARC)

The Network

Author: L.C. Shaw

Publication Date: 17 December 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Espionage Thriller/Christian Fiction

Pages: 416

Publisher: Harper Books

A pulse-pounding, page-turning thriller involving corruption, secrets, and lies at the very deepest levels of government and media.

Late one night, investigative journalist Jack Logan receives a surprise visit from U.S. Senator Malcolm Phillips at his New York apartment. Disheveled and in a panic, the senator swears that he’s about to be murdered and pleads with Jack to protect his wife Taylor, who happens to be the only woman Jack has ever truly loved.

Days later, Phillips is found dead in a hotel room in Micronesia, the apparent victim of an allergy attack. While the nation mourns, Jack and Taylor race to find the one man who knows the truth. As they’re pursued by unknown assailants, their desperate hunt leads them to the Institute, an immense facility shrouded in mystery that has indoctrinated a generation of America’s political and media power players. Led by the enigmatic Damon Crosse, the Institute has its tentacles everywhere—but Taylor unknowingly holds the secret to the one thing that Crosse needs to carry out his plan.  

Taking readers on a thrill ride from the back halls of Congress to the high-rise offices of Madison Avenue and a remote Greek island, The Network is a provocative, pulse-pounding novel that dares to ask the question: who’s really in charge?

Before I even get into this review, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no ill will with the author and I will definitely read her future books. That being said, I feel like a bait and switch was pulled on me with The Network, and I’m still reeling from what I just read. 

This book opened as a heart palpitating, espionage thriller that I couldn’t get enough of. In less than 24 hours, Senator Malcolm Phillips is murdered but everything is being covered up as a tragic accident. His widow Taylor is 8 weeks pregnant and is high risk. She now must trust Jack Logan, the man who betrayed her years ago. Who could want to hurt her husband and why are people trying to kill her?

As we shift throughout the plot, we learn of Damon Crosse, a manipulative and sadistic man who controls everyone and everything around him. He is on the hunt for a set of coins that have been passed down since the beginning of time (biblically speaking that is) and are rumored to possess certain abilities. Now at this point, the book starts to touch into Dan Brown’s territory but with less finesse. I love Dan Brown, so I didn’t mind this interesting turn into the plot. 

However, half way throw the story, we take a nose dive into faith, more specifically, Christian faith and the consequences associated with being a nonbeliever. All of a sudden, we find ourselves in a scenario where those who are morally good/sound in the shorty are those who trust in God and have faith. Those that are rapists, sadists, and make morally reprehensible decisions are atheist. 

I don’t normally says these things in reviews because I assume it’s common knowledge and unnecessary. However, this book made me realize that it’s not, so here we go. Faith in a higher being does not equate to morality. Not ever. One of the one of the characters in the book was selected for impregnation because she was a Ph.D. scientist and an atheist therefore making her moral compass flexible. It was further revealed that it wasn’t until she reinstated her faith in God that she was capable of redemption and making sacrifices. 

I found the second half of the book to not only be insulting but completely inaccurate. Just because someone is atheist doesn’t mean that they lack a moral compass. As a Ph.D. scientist myself, I am an atheist and faithless, but my moral compass is in tact. I don’t have any dark and insidious desires that need to be fulfilled because I lack faith in a higher being. 

Overall, this book had so much potential in the beginning, but now I’m left insulted and wishing that I could erase the events that transpired in the last half. 

Thank you to Harper Books for my review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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