Sunday, June 26, 2011

Klavan's "The Final Hour"

I enjoy Andrew Klavan. I like his political videos, his columns, his adult thrillers, his sense of humor, his Christian convictions, and I have particularly enjoyed his first series of thrillers intended for younger readers, especially, I would think, boys. The books are best read in order. The first three books in his "Homelander" series are already in print: The Last Thing I Remember, The Long Way Home, and The Truth of the Matter. The fourth, and final, book in the series, The Final Hour is about to be published. I will read it, and then I will pass it along to someone else much older than the target audience, because adults can enjoy them, too. The books are a suspenseful fast read ["Action sequences that never let up...wrung for every possible drop of nervous sweat." Booklist], and affirm good values without being preachy - a combination not all that common in books for readers in the early teens [School Library Journal suggests grades 7-10].

Klavan, at his website provides The Final Hour, Chapter One:
Most people have to die to get to hell. I took a shortcut.

I was in Abingdon State Prison. Locked away for a murder I didn’t commit. Waiting for the men who were coming to kill me. With nowhere to run.

It was the worst thing that had ever happened to me.

I’d been there for two weeks. Two weeks of smothering boredom and strangling fear. When I was locked in my cell, the minutes seemed to lie like dead men, to decay like dead men—so slowly you could barely tell it was happening. When I was out in the exercise yard or in the cafeteria or in the showers, there was just the fear, the waiting. Waiting for the killers to make good their threat, the words one of them had whispered in my ear as I stood in the dinner line one night:

"You’re already dead, West. You just don’t know it yet."

Alone in my cell, I stared at the tan wall. I felt a black despair surrounding me, closing in on me. I did everything I could to fight it. I did push-ups. I read my Bible. I prayed. The prayer gave me some comfort, some relief.

But then the buzzer would sound, loud and startling. The cell door would slide open. A guard would shout from the end of the tier:

“Yard time!”

Then the waiting and the fear would begin again. .... [Chapter 1 of The Final Hour]
The Final Hour, Chapter One