If you are looking for thrillers with a conscience, which would be appreciated by an average Christian man, I recommend ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ and ‘All that Glitters’ by Les Cowan. I’ve just read them, and rattled through them, as has hubby.
They are thrillers, set in Spain and Edinburgh, in the present day. In ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ the protagonist is a mourning, weary pastor, David Hidalgo, whose faith has taken a brutal battering and has run away from Spain back to his home town of Edinburgh after tragedy and failure. Despite his doubts, he is trying to carry on God’s work, trudging on with sermon preparations and teaching Spanish. Then, just as he meets a woman who might restore some hope in life, a young girl disappears and the evil from David’s past re-emerges and has to be faced again.
It’s not an ‘all action adventure’: there is sufficient reflection and thoughtfulness, even romance, for someone who appreciates stories about relationships and theology and faith. But it does have a good serving of excitement, conflict and danger, with gun-shots, attempted murders and dramatic escapes thrown in as well. It has a great sense of place and settings; both Edinburgh and Spain; and strong, compelling characters. I loved the ‘Soup Dragon’ lady, as well as the formidable Scottish Mrs MacInnes. And, given that I am currently trying to learn Spanish, I appreciated the occasional Spanish phrases, with their subtly-inserted translations!
Recommended if you like the excitement of Frank Peretti but don’t like his theology or his certainty, and don’t care for obvious angels and demons. Read Les Cowan if you prefer your drama to be mixed with good-old-fashioned English doubtfulness and thoughtfulness, and you love the idea of plodding visionaries, soldiering on through it all despite all their doubts, fears and failures.
‘All that Glitters’ is a sequel. Equally good, but with dark themes: human slavery, trafficking and corruption.