“The DMZ: Suspense in the Jungles of Colombia” by Jeanette Windle

The DMZ: Suspense in the Jungles of Colombia:  A journalist finds strength in captivity–a novel by best-selling Jeanette Windle.

Book Blurb:
Best-selling author Jeanette Windle’s book, The DMZ (Kregel Publications, 12/21/2010, ISBN: 9780825441936), a suspense novel that takes place in the jungles of Colombia, weaves her knowledge from her own childhood in Colombia with her meticulous research that even the US government couldn’t ignore it. But Windle turned her government questioners into fast fans of her work with her attention to detail and skill at telling a compelling story.

In The DMZ, Windle explores the relationship between the Islamic fundamentalist groups and the guerrilla warfare in Colombia. More than a decade after the end of the cold war has chilled the Marxist rebel movements around the world, one hot spot remains–Colombia. The inexplicable loss of three major US assets draws the attention of the world to the Colombian demilitarized zone-the “DMZ.” Are the local Colombian rebels responsible? Or is a deadly Middle Eastern secret cloaked by the jungle canopy of the DMZ?

Among the contingent of politicians and media headed for the DMZ is reporter, Julie Baker, whose parents had been missionaries in Colombia. Old hurts and terrors surge as she revisits the place of her birth–and her parents’ deaths. When Julie’s own abduction by guerrillas triggers a time bomb that has been ticking under the feet of the US for a decade, she is left with more questions than answers.

With the fate of two countries resting in her hands, Julie must put aside her own terror to face just what God’s call to sacrifice will mean for her past and her increasingly uncertain future.

“Dozens of books could be written on what is happening in Latin America and around the world and its implications for our own nation and society,” says Windle. “But when I can weave God’s truth into the pages of a book, I can carry a reader into a world where he or she can experience it–feel along with our characters the pain of betrayal, the joy of friendship, the darkness of injustice, the despair of evil, and the hope of God’s righteousness and power emerging triumphant.

“In essence, readers can live the spiritual journey of the protagonists–and author–along with them instead of simply being told about it.”

The daughter of missionary parents in the outback jungle areas of Colombia, Windle researched the chaos and strife engulfing the beautiful country she once called home. As she watched guerrilla warfare overrun towns and villages that held childhood friends, wondered what has become of people she once knew, one theme has run repeatedly through her mind: does personal self-sacrifice still hold moral value in our 21st century? Does the Creator of the Universe have a right to demand or expect sacrifice of self or loved ones to save a hurting world? Exploring the answers to these questions in her own

Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Windle has lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty on five continents. She has fifteen books in print, including political/suspense best-seller CrossFire, The Parker Twins series and Tyndale House Publishers releases: Betrayed, Veiled Freedom, and Freedom’s Stand.

For more information on Jeanette and her books, go to http://www.jeanettewindle.com/.

Praise for Jeanette Windle’s books:

“Windle is skillful at capturing the setting and politics of South America, where she grew up . . . an exciting read.” -Joseph Bentz, CBA Marketplace,

“Windle is a top-notch storyteller.” -Publishers Weekly”

“A fast-paced, intensely political drama that succeeds in bringing a fascinating culture to life.” -Booklist

My Review:

More than ten years after the Gulf War, one specific hot spot of revenge remains open–Columbia.  “The ultimate weapon of revenge against the U.S.—‘the Great Satan’–lurks in the Colombian jungle.”

Three U.S. assets (people) have been killed in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), sparking a host of politicians and media to descend into Colombia seeking answers.  Included in this mix is a reporter from Our Earth, Julie Baker, a former MK (missionary kid) from Columbia, whose parents had died there when she was sixteen.

While Julie sneaks out to revisit her former home in Columbia, followed secretly by Tim McAdams, she and the women she meets there that she knew from her childhood, along with Tim, are abducted by the guerrillas.  The native women are released, but Julie and Tim are held hostage and she is eventually accused of being a spy.  This brings in the help of undercover agent Rick Martini, a member of the 7th Special Operations Group, aka, Green Beret, and the unseen eyes that have been following her and her abductors.

When Jeanette started her book with a list of news headlines, I thought I was going to be bogged down with heavy details of military maneuvers and boring technical information.  Was I ever wrong!

The DMZ is a gripping story of life in Columbia that alludes to Julie’s life as an MK, and emerges into the guerrilla and paramilitaries that take over.  It’s a time of danger, suspicions, espionage, and murder.  The tension of the times is deliberately described to pull you into the danger and the fears that abound with the kidnapping and mysterious deaths.  Jeanette does an excellent job of contrasting the metropolis area of Bogota’ and the jungle life and fears of the natives. Julie gives you first-hand descriptions of the massive landscape of the jungle and the ease of getting lost in such a grand area—the grandeur of the beauty and the dangers of death.

The plots and twists keep you intrigued throughout the book–at times fast-paced, and at others the day-by-day routines of the guerrilla tactics.  Both make for an excellent read to the end.

I found the conversations very realistic to the circumstances and countries involved. They resonate with fear, danger, hopelessness, prayer, and trust in God.  The romantic tensions are offset with the harshness and hardness of Rick’s tone and choice of words.

The ending seemed a little unnatural, but the suspense and surprise make up for it, the latter of which comes out of nowhere!

I was surprised with the idea of a woman writing such a book, but Jeanette personally lived some of what she writes about. She presents a book that you will be glad you picked up! It’s powerful, exciting and suspenseful!  It surely opened up my eyes to the work of missionaries, that sometimes seem futile, and the depths that the enemy will go  to destroy other countries.

This book was provided by Christy Anderson, Publicist, at Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for my honest review.

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