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Castle Reef 2: Bloodlines

Castle Reef 2 Bloodlines


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Book Review

A slightly crazy scientist and her frightening humanoid creation throw open the door to a global terror plot. And young Chief Julie Kerrig is one of the faithful few standing in the way.

Plot Summary

So much has happened in Chief Julie Kerrig’s life lately.

First came the out-of-character shark attacks swirling around her tiny coastal town of Castle Reef. But then she had to use her policing skills to unravel a deadly mystery tied to those attacks. That conundrum involved a local politician’s scientist daughter and some kind of shapeshifting humanoid robot.

As she investigated, Julie found links to political corruption and conspiracy. She uncovered big money, high-tech skullduggery. And she even found that a top-secret organization called the Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) was operating right there in Castle Reef.

How’s that for some mind-blowing stuff?

Oh, but that wasn’t the biggest event in Julie’s recent life. In addition to all of that, she also got married.

Yep, after all that craziness and nearly dying, Chief Julie Kerrig happily became Julie Kerrig-Green. And she and her husband, Trent, are the happiest couple you could ever toss hearts and flowers at. In fact, they kinda exude hearts and flowers wherever they go.

So now Julie gets to settle into a more normal life, right?

Well, not quite. After an attempted kidnapping near a local beach goes wrong, Julie begins to realize that there may be more layers than she thought to that abovementioned skullduggery. It looks like that missing scientist, Cortney Alexander, has made the next generation of shapeshifting automaton. And she has connections to a vile, global terrorist group.

Oh, and Julie’s beloved dad—the man everyone believed had died in a horrible accident at sea—wasn’t quite as dead as thought. In fact, he’s very much alive and a part of the CTTF, too.

Oh boy. Things are beginning to get crazy again.

It’s a good thing that, no matter what, Julie has her policing skills, the love of her family, and her faith in God to see her through.

Christian Beliefs

Julie and her family—grandmother, Shirley, dad, John, and husband, Trent—are all Christians. And each of them pray their way through stressful situations. They talk openly about faith and God’s hand in their lives. There’s even one moment when it’s implied that an angelic voice saves Julie’s life during a heated confrontation.

Ian, a teen lifeguard (introduced in the first book) begins thinking about God after talking to his mom, Janet. Janet had started going to church after her divorce, and she tells her son that God is constantly reaching out to those who need His grace and comforting love. She shares her story and expresses her thought that Ian’s efforts to save a drowning woman’s life with CPR is much like God breathing life into fallen man. Ian takes those words to heart, but sexual temptations threaten to lead him off course. Something stops him from meeting with a pair of teen girls, however, and Ian wonders if it was God’s hand that intervened.

There are numerous statements made throughout the book about faith and our daily connection to God. A teen has John 3:3 on her license plate, for instance, and explains why she chose that verse. Another woman talks about past abuse—but through prayer and faith, God ultimately used that horrible event to produce something very positive and transforming in her life.

Other Belief Systems

Some of the tech presented in this tale—ranging from super-robotic constructs to invisible suits—requires an almost sci-fi belief system.

Authority Roles

By the end of the previous book, Julie had discovered that a dear older woman in her life, Shirley, was actually her grandmother. And she also found out that her dad is still alive. Both of those parental figures are loving and supportive, while at the same time being agents involved with the super-secret CTTF. They both pull Julie deeper into the truth of what’s been happening in Castle Reef.

Julie’s husband, Trent, is earnest, loving and kind. We see the two strengthening and deepening their relationship at home.

In fact, nearly all of the residents of Castle Reef that Julie runs across are good, kind, and hardworking. But not all: A woman is kidnapped in a darker area of town, and bystanders simply laugh. And, of course, we meet the book’s villains: Cortney Alexander, two foreign thugs and an international terrorist named Zeleny. A corrupt police officer gives his services to the baddies.

Profanity & Violence

There’s no profanity. We hear of a “soccer mom” who’s a junkie and agrees to aid bad guys in exchange for drugs. Trent and Julie have wine with dinner.

There are some six or seven murders in the mix, perpetrated by a large, superhuman robot that can take on the likeness of its victims, and two human killers. We read of several instances in which the robot picks people up by the throat and snaps their necks. Julie is called in to a spot where two bodies were left behind: A female wrapped in a plastic tarp, along with a naked man. The exposed man was being eaten by vultures. (We’re not given detailed descriptions.)

A woman recounts a horrible day in her youth when she encountered three male teens tormenting a young girl. She stepped in to defend the girl but was beaten down herself and raped. (This rape resulted in a pregnancy that she saw through to birth.)

A Coast Guard boat is capsized by a huge explosion, leaving its crew unconscious and bleeding from the ears. There are other violent interactions ranging from a thumping kidnapping of a young woman to hand-to-hand battles.

Sexual Content

Ian receives “indecent” pics from some teen girls he used to hang with. Three teens are caught in the midst of forcing a girl to disrobe. Julie and Trent embrace and kiss. A conversation between Cortney and a police officer implies that there may have been some sexual quid-pro-quo offered or delivered at some point.

Discussion Topics


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Additional Comments

This second book in the Castle Reef series once again sets up a mysterious situation that must be peeled back, layer upon layer. And the central characters do so while continually praying for guidance and relying on God’s wisdom and strength. There’s also an individual who comes to faith through the course of the tale.

Parents should note, however, that there is murder, deception, and some lightly sensual elements in the story. (Described bloodiness is kept to a minimum.)

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