From the Publisher:
Caught in a Cult
People associated with him have been killed, but Dr. Walter Simmons is a successful man. His books and tapes incorporate psychological principles with New Age, feel-good spiritualism and are a hit on college campuses. But when his top students join him for an intensive "training" program, they are actually joining a dangerous cult. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Tim Porter's daughter, Ruby, is lured in like the rest, the heights of a dream plummeting her to the depths of a living nightmare. Tim and his ex-wife are driven to their knees for their daughter. But what about Ruby? To what lengths can they go to rescue her from Dr. Simmons's clutches? Complicating matters is an FBI investigation, a corrupt chief of police, and a mounting spiritual battle. How much time do they really have?
This is one of those books that I wish hadn't been lost in my stack. It was edge-of-your-seat fabulous! I love stories about people sucked into cults and the great lengths that have to occur to pull people out. That Dr. Simmons was a real nut case, but the author did a terrific job putting you in his head so you could see how twisted he was in the way he saw himself and the world. I loved it! Also, the close bond between the detectives and their camaraderie was endearing. I enjoyed reading about how they'd put their careers and even their very lives on the line to help a friend whose daughter was trapped in a cult. The father--for obvious reasons--was driven to get Ruby out before it was too late.
This story was fast paced and very, very interesting. The plot was well done and the scenery so vivid I felt like I was part of the group. Scary. Also, the spiritual warfare and truths that were brought into the light within the context of this story were compelling. Not preachy at all. And the way the people who were angry with God came to realize that they needed His help to succeed was done in a very convincing manner and did not feel contrived. I love fiction with such a realistic feel to it. Plus, this author used a variety of points of view, but it was done so seamlessly that I'm impressed with his technique. It wasn't at all obvious that there were multiple points of view. Every one of them seemed necessary to move the story along. Well done!
Also, one unique aspect of this riveting novel was the close relations and interdependency between people from different ethnic backgrounds. Byron and Ruby were so close in their relationship that I forgot he was white. In fact, I had to look back and double check because he was so easily accepted into the family once he helped Ruby. But that also made sense because Ruby mentioned growing up in all white schools most of her life, so it wouldn't seem like a big deal to her. At any rate, I was enthralled with this story and the romance between Ruby and Byron as well. I hope they get married someday. Maybe in the next book (if there is one?) Highly recommended!
From the Belly of the Dragon was published by Multnomah and released in May 2006.