Item description for Angel, The: A Novel by James Pence...
Overview Dr. Lori Westlake has been invited to join the Circle of Peace, a clandestine euthanasia society at Sentinel Health Systems, a state-of-the-art HMO in Dallas. What she doesn't know is that lurking among the members is a serial mercy killer! A fast-paced thriller about quality of life---and who has the right to end it. 288 pages, softcover from Kregel.
Dr. Lori Westlake has been invited to join the Circle of Peace, a clandestine euthanasia society operating at Sentinel Health Systems (SHS), a state-of-the-art HMO in Dallas, Texas. What she doesn't know is that lurking among the members of the society is a serial mercy killer who calls himself the Angel of Mercy. Suspense and mystery unite in this fast-paced novel that mirrors our culture's real-life debate about quality of life and who has the right to end it.
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Bil Cornelius is the founder and lead pastor of Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi, Texas, which has in just twelve years grown to a membership of over 8,000 people between nine campuses, making it one "of Outreach Magazine"'s Top 100 Fastest-Growing Churches. In 2008, he launched Bil Cornelius Ministries, a TV ministry that brings his message of hope to South Texas. He can be seen hosting the "Praise The Lord" broadcast throughout the world on TBN. Bil is also a sought-after speaker and church health and growth consultant and lives in Texas with his wife, Jessica, and their three children.
Reviews - What do customers think about Angel, The: A Novel?
A Thought Provoking Book Jul 20, 2006
The book, "The Angel," by James H. Pence, is a thought-provoking and chilling story on the subject of euthanasia. The story begins in a hospital in Dallas Texas, called Sentinel Health Systems (or SHS). It all begins when a woman who has had a massive stroke and is in a perpetual coma is admitted into the hospital for treatment. One of the young workers there sees how it has impacted the woman's husband, and notices how that, as long as she stays alive yet incapacitated, he remains in a stupor, and can't seem to function well as a father. The worker then decides to help end that indecision. Sneaking into the patients room at night, he empties into the woman's IV tubing a large dose of insulin, killing her by morning. He then attends her funeral, and observes that, though deeply sad, the woman's husband is no longer struck with indecision, and can resume his role as a father. The worker is encouraged by what he sees, and decides to devote his life to setting people free of suffering. He takes the name "The Angel" as an alias and begins his new career. He starts an organization in the SHS facility known as "The Circle of Peace," which is devoted to help euthanize any patients in the hospital if they request it, or if they are unable to express their own wishes (such as in a vegetative state), their family members can request it for them. Unbeknownst to the other members though, the Angel gradually reaches a level of action far greater than the "death if wanted" policy held by the group. It isn't long before he sets about "mercifully killing" disadvantaged people such as the homeless... whether they wish it or not.
At first, the opinion that is conveyed in the novel seems to be that euthanasia, or mercy killing, can be the wise choice, especially for incidents like the one in the preface of the book. But as the plot goes on, euthanasia seems to become less tame and more of a self-gratifying game of playing God with other peoples lives. I hope you will read the book and decide for yourself what might be right or wrong about the controversial subject of euthanasia.
Martin Age 15 Richardson, Texas
Excellent. I highly recommend it. Jul 2, 2006
I stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning to finish this book. I could not put it down! Well-written and suspenseful, this book will keep you turning the pages. Once finished, you will want to read more of James Pence's work. Excellent read, I highly recommend it.
A Fantastic Book Jun 20, 2006
I had a hard time putting this book down--trite phrase, but very true. The plotting was tight, the characters well-drawn, and the story line gripping, with a great ending. As a physician, I was pleased to see all the medical details accurately depicted. Although published as "Christian fiction," this one doesn't hit you over the head with its message--but you do get it. I want to read more by James Pence.
Just as good as Blind Sight--a taut, compelling thriller Jun 5, 2006
A serial killer is roaming the halls of Sentinel Health Systems. Is he a doctor faithfully making his rounds? Is he a grief counselor comforting a weeping family member? Or could he be an unassuming nurse prepping someone for surgery? The Angel, as he's dubbed himself, could be anyone. And he's dedicated his life to setting people free--with or without their permission.
Dr. Lori Westlake is a general practitioner at SHS whose euthanasia sympathies have already landed her in hot water. So when she's secretly invited to become a member of the Circle of Peace, a clandestine euthanasia society operating within SHS, she sees it as venue for her convictions. But Lori's sister, Dr. Katharine Bainbridge who also works at SHS, suspects something's amiss in the facility. She believes people are dying who shouldn't be dying, and she's determined to find out why.
Caught between her core beliefs and Kate's suspicions, Lori struggles with whether to join the Circle. To do so means breaking the law, and she's not sure she wants to risk her reputation. How far is she willing to go? Before she has the chance to find out, one of her own patients dies for no apparent reason, and Lori is accused of murder. Her only hope of finding the truth comes from an unlikely source: a retired police detective who's dying of Lou Gehrig's disease.
Anyone who's read James Pence's previous novel Blind Sight already knows he's a capable thriller writer. The Angel continues in the Pence tradition of character-driven suspense, but takes it to an even higher level. The scenes are short and punchy, which keeps things moving at a comfortable thriller pace, and there are enough clues for savvy readers to possibly guess the Angel's true identity (always a fun game), but not enough to be completely certain until the tense climax.
And even though the story is predominantly Lori's, Pence also gives numerous scenes to his detective character, Charles Hamisch. Through Charles's eyes, we catch a glimpse of just how devastating and unpredictable Lou Gehrig's disease can be as sufferers become trapped inside their own bodies, mental faculties fully intact. "That's what drove him [Charles] crazy. Each day was different. Some mornings he woke up feeling strong and on top of the world. Other days, just climbing out of bed required Herculean effort."
The Angel tactfully explores both sides of the euthanasia debate. Only toward the end of the story are we led gently to the Biblical perspective of the sanctity of all life, no matter the challenges. Lori's transformation from skeptic to believer might seem slightly abrupt, but it's still a nice moment of hope amidst her dire circumstances.
Part mystery, part thriller, and part issue novel, The Angel will have you pondering even as it leaves you breathless.
--Reviewed by C.J. Darlington for Infuze magazine
If you like suspence, this is the book for you. May 31, 2006
"The Angel" is a wonderful book. I had a hard time putting it down. If you are a reader that loves suspense, this is the book for you.