Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Danger in the Yukon

Two men are running from the law, from their pasts, from society, from themselves, and from God. The thing is, no one can hide from God. As is written in Psalm 130 (NKJV):
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Even in the wild and danger-laden northern frontiers of the Yukon, Alex and Gil must face themselves and the pursuing God who will not let them go. Their paths cross unexpectedly as "coincidences" lead them in ways they never wanted.

The story shifts back and forth from Alex Donnelly to Gil, focusing mostly on Alex's story. Just a few weeks afte Alex's twenty-first birthday, a lawyer from Seattle found him living the hermit's life in the Canadian wilderness. It seems that the orphaned man had a million dollar inheritance just waiting for him to pick it up. Alex is suspicious, certain there's been a mistake, but he warily agrees to go back to civilization with the lawyer. In Seattle, he meets the sweet young researcher who had worked for so long searching for him, and they form an odd connection. He spends the weekend with her and her parents (her father is a senior partner in the law firm), and comes face-to-face with a family model unknown to him. The close relationships they have with each other and with God beckon to an empty place within him, but in the same time they intensify his dark memories of his own past, a past full of dark secrets and abuse. In agony and fearful of the police, he leaves without getting his money. Back in the Yukon, with winter coming on, he takes a caretaker job in an empty mining camp for the season. n the isolated camp, his only companion is a husky. Oh, and the grizzly. Oh, and a mysterious "ghost" who barely leaves a trace of his existence.

Meanwhile, Kenni, the young researcher, is compelled by God to persevere in pursuit of the troubled Alex. And remember the grizzly and the winter coming on?  And that other guy, Gil? Everything comes together in tense adventurous ways.

The dark truths are eventually revealed as Mrs. Laycock skillfully laid them out piecemeal, drawing us in and making us care about a rough character like Alex Donnelly. When we see through the eyes of Kenni and her parents, we see how God loves even the most wretched and how His forgiveness, love and grace can work all things together.

This suspense and action-packed novel really held my attention  from the very beginning.Marcia Laycock doles out little parcels of information (some of which I've spoiled) so dexterously, kind of like the carrot-on-the-string ploy. It kept me guessing about all sorts of details, some extremely important, right up to the end. It was a very satisfying story, but not all pie-in-the-sky. One Smooth Stone is definitely an adult suspense, although I am sure many teens would enjoy it as well. Once again, the timing for this tour was interesting to me, coming between the Olympics in Canada and the Iditarod (started March 7). Those who enjoy adventure, suspense and mystery should be captivated by One Smooth Stone.

Marcia Lee Laycock is an award-winning Canadian author known for her devotional writings. She received the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for One Smooth Stone, her debut in fiction.

For more information, you can visit the author's website, vinemarc.com .

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1 comment:

Laura Davis said...

Excellent review Cathi.