My first disclaimer, this book is listed in the Christian Book Category. Unfortunately I have some definite frustration with the Christianity that is portrayed in the book. The main character, Justin, is unable to formulate a good argument for faith in Jesus without the aid of a pendant that appears to give him the edge in his preaching, that edge seems to be achieved by how the pendant seems to capture the listener and sway them. If the speaker is evil, then the pendant sways towards evil. If the speaker is good, then it sways towards good.
Also the book talks more about loving each other and living in peace than it does about Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Yes, there are parts in the novel where Jesus is shown in a good light and as the one who changes lives, but the main message appears more watered down than correct.
NOW FOR THE REVIEW OF THE BOOK -- without taking theology into account.
Justin Connelly disappeared and was presumed dead after the 9/11 attacks. He was in the North Tower along with his coworkers. They were stockbrokers. He and his employer, Candace, fled down the stairs and got out just as the tower started to collapse.
Justin took the opportunity to disappear from his former life. He was ashamed of his actions of deception in stock trading, and he was ashamed of his actions in regards to his marriage to Tori.
Now, two years later we catch up with Justin as he is sailing with friends and they run into a storm and are almost drowned. Justin rescues one of his friends but then ends up in a coma (for six hours? really a coma lasts longer than that). During the time of his coma he has a near death experience of visiting hell and eventually meeting Jesus. He is given a second chance and sent back to earth to finish a task.
The book has mystery, spiritual warfare, romance, history/archeology. There is an interesting story weaved here by Howard, but I couldn't get passed what I termed a poor theology.
So, the book gets 1 star for being Christian (it is a very poor reflection of Christianity) and 5 stars for intrigue and mystery. Thus I end up with three stars.
I'm not sure who to recommend this to. Yes it is fiction, but the theology is poor and should have been developed more carefully.