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Genre City Review: Vicious Cycle

Terri Blackstock's Vicious CycleTitle: Vicious Cycle (Intervention Book 2)
Author: Terri Blackstock
Publisher: Zondervan
Date: February 2011
ISBN: 978-0310250678
Genre: Suspense
Reviewed by: Holly Wolfe

Blackstock doesn’t just pen a mighty story to keep readers turning pages. In this world, beauty will come from the ashes.

Terri Blackstock has made a tough set of subjects bearable by putting them into a terrific story. Vicious Cycle is the second book in the Intervention series. Like the first, it centers on the Covington family: Barbara and her love-interest, Kent, from Atlanta; Barbara’s daughter Emily, who is just getting out of a teen drug rehab clinic; and the delightful son and brother, Lance. The backstory from book one adds depth to these characters, but it’s not necessary to have read the first to be gripped by the second.

Lance discovers that a pregnant classmate named Jordan has dropped out of rehab and visits her house to check on her. Unknown to Lance, Jordan slips her newborn baby into Lance’s backseat to hide it from her drug-addicted mother, who has sold the baby to human traffickers. Hit with a kidnapping charge, Lance lands in jail. Barbara, Emily, and Kent fight to get him out.

There’s a legal battle with the juvenile detention system and a quest to find the traffickers who’ve taken the baby, but the biggest battles are personal. Fighting to keep the family together, struggling against the realities and immense pain of addiction, and always working to do the right thing, Blackstock takes readers deep into the lives of addicts, showing the heartache and the incomprehensible choices they face. She takes you places you don’t want to go and never expect in a Christian novel, but her use of these difficult settings only intensifies the suspense.

Despite these foreign places, Vicious Cycle is not a dark read. There’s a love story and spots of humor to lighten the tone, and the characters are real and satisfying. Lance and Emily demonstrate conviction in the face of opposition and Blackstock’s use of third person POV puts you in the middle of their mindset, drawing you into the action. The writing is so believable readers will genuinely connect with the struggles, choices, and clashing emotions of each character. The plot is actively complicated with surprising twists that aresolid and plausible.

Blackstock doesn’t just pen a mighty story to keep readers turning pages. In this world, she helps readers rise above the pain of meth addiction and people who buy and sell children to find the dynamic Christian message of redemption. Beauty will come from the ashes.

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