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UNDERCOVER TARGET,” by Frank Holdaway, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 257 pages (f)

Not often do the worlds of secret agents and church-going families collide, but that is exactly the situation in Frank Holdaway’s newest novel titled “Undercover Target.”

A follow-up to his first book, “Undercover Saint,” this latest work delves into the lives of Matt and Hope Knight, and brings them face to face with dangers they believed were behind them.

Unable to have children, Matt and Hope seek to adopt a child from China, but events at the orphanage do not go as planned. Following a troubling encounter, the couple brings three children home with them, not just the one they had planned.

Years later, Matt, a former undercover agent, and his adopted son Peng are struggling. Peng is sullen and withdrawn, rarely engaging with the family. His late-night escapes to the city streets are even more concerning. When Matt and Peng leave home for a hiking trip with the ward Scout group, Matt is unsure their relationship can be salvaged.

The campout turns out to be more than they planned on as an unknown band of mercenaries accosts the Scouts and takes them hostage while Matt is away. At the same time, an enemy from Matt’s past kidnaps Hope and her daughter. Plans to abduct Matt’s family and then turn them over to a wealthy buyer with malicious intentions lead Matt to lean on his closest friends to save the people he loves most.

This story charges straight into thrills and keeps the drama flowing throughout. While the plot does get a bit messy near the end, the bulk of the book is engaging and exhilarating. The characters are dynamic and compelling, leading readers to care about their welfare.

Many of the characters in the book are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they rely heavily on prayer and the guidance of the Holy Ghost to help them maneuver the troubles they encounter.

While the book is free of profanity or explicit sexual content, and there are vague hints that some characters have participated in the rape and torture of women.

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six children and lives in West Jordan, Utah. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com, and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.



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