Since 1996

     Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
     Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
About Us

Album Reviews
Movie Reviews
Concert Reviews
Book Reviews

Top 10
Contact Us


The Replacement
Authors: Susan Wales & Robin Shope
Publisher: Revell Books
Release: June 1st 2006
Length: 368 pages

The suspense novel The Replacement co-authored by Susan Wales and Robin Shope reads like a screenplay for a feature film. It seemingly has all the qualities you are looking for; it opens with a bang, the central characters are attractive female and male leads, there is enough subterfuge to last a lifetime and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing throughout. The prerequisite element of romance is front and centre.

It is purely conjecture on my part to say we may yet see The Replacement on the big screen since Susan Wales is married to Hollywood producer Ken Wales (The Revenge Of The Pink Panther, Amazing Grace, The Tamarind Seed, and Christy). If that is the eventual destiny for this literary work we need the Christian community to put their money where their mouth is. We are very good at decrying the lack of quality entertainment but often not as good at supporting the same. In recent years we have begun to see a turning of the tide and the American Christian entertainment industry is estimated to be in excess of one billion dollars (source: Today Show December 2005).

The central character of the novel is Jill Lewis a journalist with the Washington Gazette. In the opening scene Jill is dispatched to meet with Senator Brown who dies or is he murdered? The authors demonstrate a good understanding of the politics and inner workings of the pharmaceutical industry which become the key components in solving a mystery that involves murder, attempted murder and hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Lewis reports to a bombastic editor named Rubric and his wicked witch of the west boss Annabelle. A quirky young woman named Ally appears with an unbelievable story that only adds to the intrigue. Along the way, we encounter Senator Thomas Harrison whose reputation is as slimy as the snakes that dot this suspense filled landscape. 

The Replacement is definitely one novel to which you can apply the moniker "Who Done It?" The ending would have more impact if the authors had tightened it up a bit. It dragged out a little too long for my liking. 

The authors' attention to detail is a double edged sword as it helps the reader gain a clear picture of the scenes and action but it also slows down the novel. Wales and Shope often demonstrate a propensity to be verbose and in some cases redundant. Having said that I am the first to admit that I am not a visual person and not being a woman I may find it difficult to appreciate the description of Jill Lewis' wardrobe and jewelry. 

Wales and Shope demonstrate an ability to imbed Christian themes throughout the novel in a way that is natural and should keep non church goers from claiming they are being preached to. At the same time the scene in which Jill Lewis grabs her devotional book and sits down for a quiet time will be poignant. A simple blessing at a meal, the mention of a Bible study on a couple of occasions, the offering up of a prayer and the underlying themes of Christianity should provoke the non believer into more serious consideration of Jesus Christ. Wiithout revealing too much of the plot the novel also presents the reader with challenging questions concerning how well their faith holds up through dark days with long shadows.

I would give the book four stars out of five. It is a good novel but it will make for an even better movie. Remember you read it here first! 

By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.


 Copyright © 1996 - 2006 The Phantom Tollbooth