There is something very comfortable and familiar about reading sequels. "Dangerous Illusions" is a novel that picks up where "Castles in the Sand" leaves off. Having read 'Castles' a few years ago, it took a while for me to become familiar with the characters and story line once again, but there are enough references to the past that soon it fits like a pair of comfortable shoes.
It is several years later and Tess returns to her home town, from a missions trip, where she finds things not quite the way she had left them. Her adoptive parents are out of sorts, her church is struggling out of a slump, and there are strange and unexplained things happening to her, quite randomly, or so it would seem.
There are two themes running through the novel, one of which admits it to the genre of 'Christian fiction', and one which fits it quite nicely into the mystery/intrigue/suspense genre. As new characters are introduced and developed, you just know they are going to be connected somehow, but the reader must be patient.
The questions buzz through the reader's mind as he wonders what the ice-cream truck is all about, is Tess going to fall for the slick new preacher, just who is that nun, what is that greasy biker doing in the story, will the church board ever get their act together, and what is up with Ezekiel the hobo?
The pace to the writing is good, and I found it difficult to put down at times. It was evident that there were two authors, a male and a female and both perspectives were apparent at different times in the story. The loose ends were neatly tied up at the end and all things were explained in a very satisfying way, making the reader feel very happy for the main characters of the story.
There is one thing though, apart from a few plot gaps. I recently reviewed another book in the 'Longbow' series and stated how difficult it was to wait for the next book to continue the saga. There is one little detail in "Dangerous Illusions" that left the reader hanging .... or not. Do I have to wait with bated breath to see if this little detail is significant? It certainly smells that way.
I enjoyed the journey that this book took me on so I give it an above average rating of 4 stars.