David C. Cook: 2/1/2014
Trade Paperback, 368 pages
The Crittendon Files Series #2
There’s More Than One Kind of Poison in This Town
People are sick and dying. Rumors are swirling. Some claim chemicals leaking from a manufacturing plant are causing the cancer that’s crippling people on the poor side of Trenton City, Ohio. Yet nothing at the plant appears amiss. The problem remains a mystery until reporter Jack Crittendon’s long-time mechanic falls ill and he investigates. Soon Jack becomes engulfed in a smokescreen of lies, setups, greed, and scandal. The deeper he digs, the more toxic the corruption he uncovers. As he faces off with the big-time players behind the scenes and tries to beat the clock before more people die, he realizes the chillingly unthinkable—he knows too much.
Poison Town by Creston Mapes is a highly recommended thriller.
Set in Trenton City, Ohio, Poison Town by Creston Mapes follows reporter Jack Crittendon. Jack is married to Pam and they have two young daughters. Jack and Pam are both still recovering from Pam's kidnapping in the first book in this series, Fear Has a Name. While Pam is able to forgive her kidnapper, Granger Meade, and is slowly recovering, Jack is unable to forgive him and is sinking into anger and bitterness. Jack has also bought a gun and is hiding that fact from Pam.
During this same time Jack learns from their mechanics and friends that local fiberglass manufacturer, Demler-Vargus, is likely emitting hazardous pollutants that are slowly killing those who live near the plant. It appears that no one is holding them responsible, perhaps because they employ half the town and may be buying their way out of complaints. As a features editor at the local paper, Jack plans to enlist the help of his co-worker Derrick and with his help start researching what is really happening at Demler-Vargus.
Then things start to get dangerous and lives are threatened in several different ways. More is going on than it appears on the surface, which leaves more than one character scrambling.
In Poison Town, Mapes has written a Christian thriller that follows two different storylines that eventually merge at the end. Since this is a faith-based thriller that characters also learn some important life lessons of forgiveness, trust, and faith. While some things seem to be settled too easily or the reform of the character is too quick and too pat, I appreciated the sentiment behind the actions and the message. (For example, if Pam's mom has been drinking every day since college it's hard to believe that she would just suddenly want to stop after Pam has a rather lightweight talk with her.) Working for a print newspaper actually makes it feel a little dated today, but it could easily be set in the recent past.
Even though I hadn't read the first novel in the series, enough background information was written into the narrative for me to understand what happened in the past while the story continues in the present. All in all, this was a very engaging, suspenseful, and enjoyable novel without the swearing that might be found in other novels. I enjoyed it quite a bit and would look for another book in this series.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of David C. Cook via Netgalley for review purposes.