Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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Bad Connection
by Melody Carlson

Reviewed by Darcie Gudger

"...leaves you screaming for the next book NOW!"

Most sixteen year old girls worry about catching the eye of a certain boy, or planning what to wear to the prom. Not Samantha McGregor. Samantha is worried about the disappearance of her friend Kayla Henderson, rumored to have eloped with an online lover, fearing there’s more to the story than locker room gossip lets on.

Samantha had a vision. Mountains. Heat. A horror-stricken face. Sam fears Kayla is not living happily ever after in Southern California. Having spent more than enough time on the couch with a shrink, Sam is reluctant to tell her mother about these intrusive revelations. Instead she turns to her best friend Olivia.

When a local news report confirms a prophetic dream about a car accident, Sam and Olivia know the visions are not to be ignored. After intense prayer, Sam decides to call Detective Ebony who once was her father’s partner and witness to his death, for help.

Throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas break, Samantha and Ebony work closely with a forensic artist who brings the visions to life. One by one, clues fall into place. Conflict arises between Sam’s mom and Ebony while one of the hottest boys in school is determined to find out if it’s true that Sam has sworn off dating.

Samantha McGregor reminds me of Chelsea Adams, the main character of Eyes of Elisha by Brandilyn Collins, who also receives visions from God which reveal clues to heinous crimes. Like Chelsea, Samantha is obedient despite the strain her “gift” puts on her family relationships. She always tests her visions against God’s Word.

Carlson handles the controversial gift of visions with great integrity and care. Scriptures are strategically sprinkled throughout the book in such a way they not only let readers know what’s in the Bible, but add to the story as well.

Samantha’s choices as a teen girl in the very liberal state of Oregon, show readers an alternative way to live that’s quite contrary to lifestyles celebrated by MTV and VH1. Currently, one of the most popular paperback series for teen girls is the “Gossip Girl” series. The morals of the characters in “Gossip Girl” are so appalling, even Oprah urged parents to steer their daughters away from those books. Sadly, no alternatives were offered. “The Secret life of Samantha McGregor” and other Carlson series books can now be presented to teens. Now if only the major book stores would put fiction written by Christian authors on the shelves next to their secular counterparts ...

The plot of Bad Connection is intriguing although long bouts of back-story tend to put the brakes on the pace at times. But when the end of the story hits, you’re already into the next plot, leaving you screaming for the next book NOW!

Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.