In The Lightning File, Josh Radley, a feature writer for the Toronto Times, stumbles on a terrorist plot. He identifies a network of companies laundering drug money to finance an attack on US interests from Canadian soil. But just when Josh needs to concentrate on breaking the mysterious file that holds the key to the terrorists’ targets, his life crumbles around him. He wife demands a separation and he falls under the spell of a beautiful Pakistani psychiatrist.
Is The Lightning File a Christian book? No, well, yes. You might ask; if you are so ambivalent, why did you write it then?
I wrote it as a pre-evangelistic novel. It does not present the gospel, per se. Instead, I sought to present a realistic, very human protagonist, who struggles with marriage problems, sexual temptation, questions about his childhood faith, stress at work and cynicism about church practice. My hope was that in describing a couple of evangelicals as flawed, but likeable characters, non-Christian readers might become more open to their message. After all, the gospel throws a lifeline to seriously flawed people—like me.
Besides, the media bias against serious Christians is so pervasive that something should be done. On every hand we read of Christians being portrayed as greedy hypocrites, narrow legalists, child abusers or simplistic sheep. In this area, popular fiction rarely rises above stereotypes. Witness Barbara Kingsolver’s very well-written novels; The Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer. Many others examples could be cited. The reality is so vastly different that honest reporting requires the injection of some balance.
I wrote it as a suspense novel because I enjoy a plot-driven story. And yet the unrealistic characters and ponderous detail about US government agencies and military hardware contained in most of the stories by Clancy and Cussler, et al, drive me a bit crazy. I wanted a contemporary story set in Canada dealing with real dangers, including our country’s naiveté and the erosion of press freedoms.
I included several other loves as well: my enchantment with the Ontario countryside and my love for foreign locales. Since my years in Pakistan left their stamp on my character, I included a Pakistani sub-character and a code written in Urdu and Arabic.
After struggling for a year and a half or more to find an agent or a publisher, I’ve decided to self-publish. If you feel led, I would appreciate your prayers that it might have some modest success. Check my web site www.countrywindow.
Eric E. Wright