The Last Sanctuary – Craig Holden

I had read a couple reviews of this book before I decided to pick it up myself.  And honestly, they weren’t great.  There were a lot of “B Author trying to break the mold.”, but I really don’t see why.  I really enjoyed this book.  I thought it was well-written with plenty of twists, and I had no idea where this  book was going to end.  My main complaint would be that it started kind of slow.


We start out on a road trip from Detroit to Seattle, as Joe Curtis travels to bring his brother back home.  We learn that for years Joe has had to follow his brother Terry around to wherever the drugs lead him, and try to drag him home to get clean.  Along the way to Seattle Joe’s car breaks down, and Joe is forced to begin hitch hiking.  That’s when Rick and Kari pull over and offer Joe much more than a ride, a chance to make a couple hundred dollars.


The job that was supposed to be easy, stand behind Rick while he had a simple conversation, turns Joe into a wanted fugitive with everyone from the ATF to the FBI to the Army out on a nation-wide manhunt looking for him.  As they run Joe learns Kari is an avid following of a man named Father Amon, and that he has set this whole plan in motion.  He is thrust into a world of guns and gold, where he has to rely on his survival instincts to try to clear his name.


We don’t only follow Joe throughout this, the author switches points of view between ATF agents, Father Amon himself, and Army personnel.  The difference in points of view kept this novel from becoming too dry.  There were a few times I’d started to think the author was starting to drone on, or I caught myself losing interest a little bit.  But each time he would switch up which character is narrating and it would catch my attention again.


There were also a lot of really great character developments in The Last Sanctuary.  Characters that I hadn’t really placed much thought in at the beginning of the novel, completely turned around so I was cheering them on by the end.  I think the biggest character development is in Kari, who helped frame Joe in the beginning of the novel. Throughout her journey with Joe, we learn why she began following Father Amon, and why she never left.


Overall, I would definitely recommend this book.  It did take me a little longer to get through than I had expected, it isn’t particularly long or anything.  But when it was over, I wished there were more to read.  I’ll probably look up some more books by Craig Holden sometime soon.

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