Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dee Henderson's *Undetected*


Undetected grabbed me from the first scene. 

Commander Mark Bishop was overseeing his crew at 450 feet deep as they guided the submarine back towards the base. At the end of a 90 day patrol, the USS Nevada just wanted to follow the whales and head home. 

I had never thought I would find submarine life/warfare at all interesting, but I did when I was seeing it through the eyes of Mark Bishop. You can feel his weariness that comes with 90 days on alert, you understand his desire to see the sky and the surface of the ocean again after living underwater, and the responsibility that comes with this work weighs on your mind as you read. 

Same with Gina Gray. Gina's oceanography and sonar research give her a tangible way to help keep her brother safe. Jeff Gray is stationed somewhere out there on the USS Seawolf, and his sister can best help him by applying her intellect to his field. Gina appreciates science because it challenges her. What she's coming to realize is that her discoveries soon challenge everyone. That's why the Navy has kept close track of her since she was a college student. In this case, her sonar research is shaking up Mark Bishop's world.

I love that Dee Henderson develops three things about her characters: their work, their relationships, and their theology. 

Dee's character's always have something they're passionate about. They've got big dreams and grand goals. Whether it's Marcus O'Malley working in the Witness Security program or Mark Bishop commanding a nuclear armed submarine, we are treated to a few details of their chosen career. Dee's books are like a praise hymn to work at it's best and most fulfilling. 
Whether it's a paragraph about the acoustical lab where Gina does her sonar comparison or a dialogue between Bishop and his XO, it expanded my mind a little bit. There are a lot of cool careers out there. 

It's the same with the relationships. For these men and women, people come first. If Gina needs to pack up her Colorado apartment and doesn't want to go back there ever again, Jeff goes for her. If Mark see's one of his men having family trouble when they get back to shore, he assists in any way he can. Life is better when I know there's somebody I can call on, and somebody can call on me. I need that reminder. 

And their theology... wrestling is the objective word here. Mark and Gina are both applying the knowledge of God to their chosen work and personal dilemmas, and it leads to a lot of good conversations. 
How does a Christian who follows the Prince of Peace stand ready to deploy nuclear weapons? 
How should Gina proceed with her science, when a new discovery could be used for evil purposes?

So... dive in to Undetected. I think you'll enjoy it. I did. So did a teenage friend I read it aloud with. 
Thank you Bethany House for my review copy! 

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