Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Once You Find It, There’s No Escaping the Truth


Once You Find It,
There’s No Escaping the Truth
Small-town pastor John Cross can’t seem to keep himself out of danger

All journalist Christine Lewis wants is the truth. There’s always more to the story, and she can’t rest until she uncovers it. All pastor John Cross wants is to avoid the truth. Given his prior life, he thinks hiding the truth can protect those he cares about. A journalist out for the truth and a pastor avoiding it sounds somewhat backward, but that’s where Christine and John find themselves in Andrew Huff’s Cross Shadow (Kregel Publications/May 26, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446450/$15.99), the second installment of the Shepherd Suspense series.

John and Christine met in the pages of A Cross to Kill when John, a former CIA agent turned evangelical pastor, was called back in on a mission to rescue Christine, who had been captured and was set for execution in Jordan. After John disappeared as quickly as he appeared, she never expected to find her rescuer caring for the small community of believers he ministers to in Virginia.

After a series of events brings them closer, they decide to give a long-distance relationship a try. However, as new believers, Christine and John find it more challenging than they expected, in more ways than one. Christine is busy with the demand for her talents from top news agencies in New York City, and John has his responsibilities in Virginia.  Neither has any time left for each other.

“While both are struggling to separate their identity from each other, the biggest challenge in their relationship comes from the lack of communication, both in the sense of the distance between them and also a lack of trust,” Huff shares. “John struggles to reveal more of who he really is for fear of driving Christine away while Christine struggles with planning her life around John for fear his plans might not align with hers. The tension in their relationship stems from their hesitancy to be truthful with one another when simply sharing their feelings would bring many of these struggles to light.”

When Christine hears that her stepbrother has been arrested for murder in Texas, she vows to get to the bottom of the crime and prove his innocence. Christine wants to investigate on her own, but when John arrives, they team up again to discover the truth about the crime. Untangling a web of intrigue, the couple finds themselves in the center of another dangerous situation and in trouble far deeper than they expected. A chain of events reveals a bigger conspiracy than either could have imagined involving a robotics defense contractor, a private military company, and an assassination plot.


With an assassin on the loose, a trusted colleague acting as a double agent, and unreliable artificial intelligence connected to mercenaries who have Cross on their hit list, these two may not get out of the Lone Star State alive. In the face of danger, will John’s former instincts kick in? Will he turn back to his old ways?

“The truth about the Central Intelligence Agency is that you never truly leave the Central Intelligence Agency,” Huff adds. “So, John keeps getting pulled back in, even when he says he does not want to. The only problem is that he was really good at what he did. And not just the assassination part. Which begs the question: Should he go back? Was he only running from guilt when he decided to leave? The battle waging in John from the beginning is the tension between who he is now and who he was trained to be. His focus has been singularly placed on the act of killing. But what he’s suddenly faced with as he pursues a relationship with Christine and continues to serve as the pastor of his church is that the instincts drilled into him carry other moral prices as well. The more the situation in Dallas unravels, the more out of control John begins to feel with his own mental and spiritual status.”

In Cross Shadow, readers also examine John’s choice to accept the pastorate at his church despite being young in his faith and untrained for the ministry. From the outside looking in, he does not seem like the best candidate to truly lead the church toward growth. Those were real questions that not only were present when Huff started writing the series but have also come up from readers after reading A Cross to Kill. The author cannot wait for readers to see how the story continues for John Cross in Cross Shadow. Following Cross Shadow, the Shepherd Suspense trilogy will come to a close with the release of Right Cross in 2021.

Advance Praise

“In the tradition of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, Cross Shadow is a strong, taut thriller that retains a Christian sense of optimism and hope while acknowledging the existence of great evil in the world. Huff raises the stakes on every page all the way through the white-knuckle finale—like watching an action movie through the written word.”

~ Kyle Mann, editor in chief of The Babylon Bee and author of How to Be a Perfect Christian

“Andrew Huff’s writing is as fast-paced and tight as his enticing story lines. Masterfully balancing a well-developed plot with a cast of characters you feel like you’ve known forever, Huff creates one page-turner after another in his Shepherd Suspense trilogy. He may be a new author, but his talented word-spinning is anything but novice and will linger long in the reader’s subconscious.”

~ Betsy St. Amant Haddox, author of All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes



About the Author

Andrew Huff spent ten years in local church ministry as a youth pastor and creative arts pastor before pursuing God’s calling into creative storytelling and media production as the product director at Igniter Media, a church media company (ignitermedia.com).

He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014, 2017) and also won the best screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia. A Cross to Kill and Cross Shadow in the Shepherd Suspense series are his first releases.

Huff holds a bachelor of science in religion degree from Liberty University and a master of arts in Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary. He resides in Plano, Texas, with his beautiful wife, Jae, and their two boys.

Learn more about Andrew Huff and the Shepherd Suspense novels at www.andrewhuffbooks.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@huffwrites), Twitter (@andrewjohnhuff) and Instagram (@andyhuff)


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