ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I started writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife's urging: "Now doesn't seem the right time for this dream."
My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I'd written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn't until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the "rules" without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I'd have made faster progress if I'd have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.
I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you'll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels.
ABOUT THE BOOK
They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him.
It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maeltsrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the forces working against him will do anything to stop him from uncovering a truth they will kill to hide. He’d come to Kenya to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor. But what he will find in that place where he grew up will put everything at risk–his marriage, his career . . . his life.
If you would like to read the first chapter of An Open Heart, go HERE.
Harry Kraus went on my favorite authors list several years ago after I read Could I Have This Dance?, the first book in his Claire McCall Series. I've come to appreciate his books for their fast-paced medical drama blended with complex characters who struggle with issues of life and faith.
For some reason I had a little trouble getting into this book, but I think that may have been me more than the book. Once I did get engaged with it I found it to be a good read. Kenya made a unique setting for a medical drama, and Kraus's exploration of the spiritual realities and warfare at work in our world made for compelling reading. Jace's struggle with faith and discovery that "Kenya can be a scary place without a Savior" were my favorite parts of the book.
The one negative for me was that I felt some parts of the plot--specifically the links between the antagonists in the U.S. and in Kenya.--were kind of like an action movie: it only makes sense if you don't look at it too closely I found it a little hard to believe power players in the U.S. couldn't find a less convoluted way of getting rid of someone they found inconvenient. It works in the book, but it's kind of like watching Tom Cruise dangle off the side of a building for no apparent reason. You walk out thinking--"wow, that was fun to watch, but they really could have found an easier way to do that." How this book brings it all together is a fun ride, but not something that I'd ever expect to see happen.
Overall this is a solid read that I think would make a good selection for a book club. Four stars.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own. I did not gurantee a positive review.