At just over 200 pages, Masquerade is fast-paced and packed with action, though that’s not all that’s on Hiemstra’s mind. Phil, the lead character for the majority of the book, often reflects on Christian values, and the narration and dialogue are often distinguished with Christian themes, including occasional quotes from scripture; readers who enjoy reading about the faith will likely enjoy this respectful treatment of a pastor who doubles as a CIA agent. The plotting offers strong echoes of Cold War spy craft, with double identities, a switcheroo funeral, and Phil’s physical transformation, and the prose, while often driven by dialogue, carries a lot of energy.
Some of that dialogue is, at times, stilted, and readers might face some confusion at the narrative choice to refer to the undercover Phil as “Luke.” Perhaps intended to suggest the delicate complexity of switching identities, that decision has the effect of distancing readers from the protagonist’s emotions and motivations. Lei Han makes an effective heavy, and the exciting adventure eventually involves the vice president, Air Force Two, a trip to China, and a jolt of an ending, likely to be picked up in future books. Christian readers of thrillers will find much that’s engaging here.
Takeaway: This short, fast-paced Christian spy thriller sends a pastor undercover–as his own son.
Great for fans of: Diane and David Munson, Joel Rosenberg.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-