Review: “Heaven’s Hunter” by Marie Keiser

Heaven’s Hunter by Marie Keiser. Independently Published. 233 pages.

Heaven’s Hunter continues the series of books I am reading and reviewing from the thread on Goodreads written by fellow Christian speculative fiction authors. I’m pleased to say that for the most part, they have been well written and thought provoking. Marie Keiser’s book is not an exception to that. Here is the Amazon summary:

Randall Yung, born into one of the galaxy’s elite families, could have had anything he wanted, but he decided to become a detective for the Galactic Fleet. And he’s good at his job–so good at it that he’s getting bored.

Everything suddenly changes when Randall is assigned to track down the perpetrator of a daring attack on a Fleet warship. This case is dangerously personal.

The closer he comes to his target the more he finds himself trapped by old grudges, an outlawed organization, and a war his grandparents fought. Can he escape from his enemies without betraying everything he cares about?

Heaven’s Hunter is written in first person, which at first bothered me, as it usually does, but the advantage to using that perspective is getting into the head of the main character. And the entire story is told from that perspective, which works very well. This also becomes a lot more important later on in the story as internal conflict cranks up to a high pitch.

In fact, characterization, which I felt was missing in some of the earlier stories that I reviewed here, was done well, which I appreciated. In addition, the story featured both internal and external conflict. Without giving too much away, the main character gets into a situation where he has to choose what he believes, even at the risk of his own life. It’s a quandary that hasn’t been done enough in recent books and is done well here.

The biggest quibbles I have with the book are more philosophical than literary, and I hesitate to even bring them up, because I know my colleagues will argue the point with me when we discuss these. First, the “enemies” the main character goes against as being subversives are Catholics. Supposedly they are being sought out by the government because they are in opposition to government policies. There is no reference to any other Christian denominations, to Protestants, to Jews, or any other faiths. It’s as if Catholics are the only people who believe in God left in the Galaxy. In this story, that may be so, but it needs a paragraph of explaining at least. Many of the references of faith that the author makes could be carried over to other beliefs, but Catholics are singled out, and we need to know why.

Second, this is a Christian book, and much of the internal conflict has to do with whether the characters will choose to believe in God or not. Once again, this is a personal quibble, but I strongly believe that God takes personal interest and involvement in our lives. In this story, I saw no references to “God showed me this,” or “God led me here,” or anything that would make me feel those believing in God were praying to a caring, active God. It was as if the story were written so that those who didn’t believe in God would accept it as “well, God’s not really there, but that’s their right to believe whatever they want.”

Again, those are philosophical quibbles, and probably won’t affect anyone else’s ability to enjoy the story. It’s inspiring, and I recommend it to those who want a good Christian sci-fi story.

Four of five stars.