July CSFF Blog Tour Day 2: The Enclave, by Karen Hancock

The investigation into my neighborhood Enclave continues…using my mad hacker skillz, I was able to crack the tight security around its front-company network and learn more about this suspicious facility. I even got a picture:
facility

I think there will be a major breakthrough in this case tomorrow. For now, let’s get back to my review of The Enclave.

Bottom Line, at the Top: I enjoyed this story. I thought it was engaging, suspenseful, and well-written. Some jaded old guys like myself might quibble that we’ve seen a lot of these ideas before, elsewhere, and it doesn’t take much detective work to figure out exactly what’s going on at Kendall-Jakes. Bah, humbug. The Enclave is a fun read that should appeal to anyone with a taste for biotech or spy thrillers.

The People in Your Neighborhood: This story was all about the characters and the battle for their hearts and minds. Cameron Reinhardt was an appealing character with all his quirks and flaws, and a sympathetic hero, but I had trouble buying his whole Child Prodigy to Army Ranger to Genetic Engineer arc. Also, I’ve known a few Rangers, and even with PTSD issues, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find one you could label an absent-minded professor.

Lacey McHenry was cute and spunky, but I thought she spent way too much time squealing like a giddy schoolgirl, although I suppose some people enjoy that, and I won’t even get into her thoughts about Reinhardt’s “sheen” while exercising (oh, wait…I just did). A little more gravitas would have made her seem less like the Designated Victim, though I found her courage in agreeing to cooperate with Reinhardt’s operation, and dealing with the harrowing events thereafter, admirable.

The New Edeners were pretty much earnest, confused teenagers, ala Logan’s Run or The Island. Likeable kids. There’s some interesting discussion fodder here about the psychology of cults and the reluctance of people to leave them, even when they know the truth.

Reinhardt’s old Army buddy, Rudy, was an interesting character, and I would have enjoyed seeing more of him and knowing more about his friendship with Reinhardt.

Parker Swain was deliciously slimy as the evil mastermind, but I kept thinking I’d met him somewhere before–then it hit me: The Stand (TV version). If you ever encounter a character who looks like Jamey Sheridan, Run. For. Your. Life. The other villains were mostly anonymous but Gen Viascola had some nice (N.I.C.E.?) moments as Swain’s barracuda second-in-command.

Keeping the Faith: Lots of strong Christian themes, overt and covert, running through this story–standing up for Christ in a hostile work environment, trusting in God’s strength, the struggle between faith and doubt in a fallen world, the virtue of honesty, the evil of using people as tools (or as lab rats), and the call to confront and oppose evil, not just avoid it. Ms. Hancock highlights Christian values and virtues and presents the Gospel in a manner consistent with her characters and story. There are a few punches thrown at evolution theory and Eastern-style meditation.

Today’s Proof Text is Genesis 6:1-4: Some people may argue that the Biblical connection in the background story that explains how this all started is tenuous at best and misleading at worst, therefore we should discard this book as inappropriate for Christian reading. I disagree. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again…this is a work of fiction, not doctrine. It pulls an *idea* from a verse of Scripture that is notoriously ambiguous and provocative, and such gray areas, I believe, are eminently fair game for Christian science fiction and fantasy writers, if we are to have any at all.

Tomorrow, I’ll delve into the mountain of evidence unearthed by my fellow CSFF bloggers, solve the mystery of the secret facility down the road and…hey, why are all those guys in SWAT gear surrounding my house?

While I’m sorting this out, you’d best peruse some of the other fine sites on the CSFF Blog Tour:

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Canadianladybug
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Heather R. Hunt
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Mike Lynch
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Eve Nielsen
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Stephanie
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Elizabeth Williams

Karen Hancock’s Web site – http://www.kmhancock.com/index.htm
Karen Hancock’s blog http://karenhancock.wordpress.com/

>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<

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10 thoughts on “July CSFF Blog Tour Day 2: The Enclave, by Karen Hancock

  1. I’m with you on almost all counts. I could buy the scope of Cameron’s life because some people are just gifted like that; I had a harder time with the idea that he could go from secret agent to truly absent-minded — but that was a pretty small quibble. Overall I really enjoyed this one :).

  2. Yeah, that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story, either. It was within the realm of possibility and Cameron’s humanity and vulnerability trumped any issues with his resume. The guy was just so doggone likable. 🙂

    1. The characters were all fun, despite my nit-pickety comments about a few issues (gotta make it clear I’m not on the Bethany House payroll, I suppose). I was even hoping a couple of the bad guys might get converted.

  3. Fred, I agree with the others. Your reviewing style is a hoot. I’m on tenterhooks waiting to find out about the facility at the end of your street but drat! It appears the SWAT team is going to interfere before you can get to the bottom of things!

    1. (texting from the bathroom) Thanks for stopping by, Karen, and thanks also for being so involved in this tour!

      The black-ops team is still poking around my piling…er…filing cabinet, but I think I’ve managed to convince them I don’t know anything. I’m not sure why they found that so easy to believe.

  4. Hoo-boy. These tours are dangerous. From mine getting hijacked by pirates a couple months ago to the black-ops hitting your house…

    I hope to read more from you tomorrow. Or ever…

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