The Academy Book CoverIf you like messy endings, this is the Christian fiction novel for you.

The Academy
J. T. Payne and Ryan Mix
Rossling Publishers
261 pg

The Academy in this Christian suspense novel is a K -12 Christian academy, a prestigious institution associated with the largest Baptist church in a small, southern town, which guarantees lifelong success for those willing to tow the line, and not ask too many questions.

This mature young adult novel tells the tale of one student, budding photojournalist Sylas Ernst, that strays far from the line when his pictures uncover unsettling connections among the powerful movers and shakers surrounding the academy while his religious studies class forces him to doubt the foundations of his entire life.

With the support of a richly described array of friends, girlfriends, parents, employers, faculty and co-workers, Sylas' senior year unfolds along with his search for answers to all that troubles him. Much of the suspense stems from whether or not he'll find satisfactory answers to any of this. The book's conclusion is almost as messy as the life its readers experience, resulting in a superior reading experience. 

Although a first novel for this writing team, it avoids the pitfalls that frequently trip up novice authors. It is well edited, copy-proofed and beautifully presented. The rich tapestry of events builds to a satisfying conclusion. The characters' circumstances are more realistic, their doubts much deeper than usually permitted in Christian fiction, which may keep it off the reading list of many Christian private schools, which would be too bad as the central issues of the story are something every believer should consider.

The Academy tale is ripe to become a great movie. Hopefully, these authors are working on more tales to entertain fans and continue to elevate the all too often sub-par Christian fiction market.

5 tocks