'Undercover Saint' melds terrorists and singles wards

By Melissa DeMoux

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Dec. 8 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"UNDERCOVER SAINT," by Frank Holdaway, Covenant Communications, $17.99. 270 pages (f)

Frank Holdaway’s premier plunge into the pool of Mormon fiction is an entertaining one. “Undercover Saint” is a tale that merges life in a terrorist cell with life in a Salt Lake singles ward.

Matthew Knight is a brilliant undercover antiterrorist agent for the United States government. After narrowly escaping death on his previous assignment, Matt is less than thrilled when he is abruptly shipped to Utah to fill his newest role. As the scene of his mother’s death more than 20 years before, the Beehive state is not his favorite place to visit.

The outlook only gets worse when Matt, an estranged member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is assigned to an apartment in the middle of a Salt Lake City singles ward. His LDS bishop, who once served in the U.S. Marine Corps. and is also involved in the investigation, guides Matt in the search while striving to defend the innocent ward members he cares for.

However, this assignment turns out to be much more than Matt bargained for. Besides facing terrorists, Matt also comes face to face with a demon from his past that he just cannot ignore. He then wanders into a turbulent friendship with the beautiful Hope Winslow, which leaves him wondering if the two could someday become more than just friends.

Nestled in a clutch of diverse and unique characters, Matt must weed out the evil from the odd and work to save the lives of everyone involved.

Holdaway’s first novel is an easy read. The story has an engaging personality full of spunk and verbal snap, which draws readers into the charm of the tale. The characters are equal parts bizarre and engaging with unique dispositions and intense individuality.

The book takes some interesting and unexpected twists, but those turns also leave the tale feeling a bit scattered. There were so many threads of story headed in so many different directions that sections of the book seemed a bit shaken and disheveled.

However, this terrorist-search-turned-singles-ward-adventure-turned-love-story is still an amusing tale with witty characters that will leave readers ready for Holdaway’s next work of fiction.

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children who lives in West Valley City. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.

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