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The Next Target: A Novel

The Next Target: A Novel

4.2 18
by Nikki Arana

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It only took one bullet. Austia's friend and student fell dead. And with a glimpse of a newspaper headline, the young and recently widowed Austia knows more about what happened than the police. From that fatal night, Austia’s secret outreach to the U.S. Muslim community—in the guise of English language classes—becomes a target. Local Muslim

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The Next Target: A Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
smittenword More than 1 year ago
Nikki Arana’s, Next Target, is a gripping suspense novel filled with complex characters, faith - defined and tested, and a thrill ride of a plot you’ll definitely want to tuck into your beach bag this summer. Ever since 9/11 Islam is a touchy subject. Bring up Muslims, even in a Christian environment, and hackles are raised. All Muslims blow things up, right? I mean, whenever you see a burqa-clad woman on the street doesn’t your heart rate goes up just a bit? Kudos to Nikki Arana and her latest book, Next Target, for challenging my thinking on all things Muslim with a high action, thought-provoking novel that challenged that broad brush I’ve been painting with. Meet American Austia Donatelli a widow whose husband was killed witnessing to Muslims in Kuwait. Struggling to find God’s way in her grief, she finds herself heading up a career center in the midst of an Arab neighbor on the south side of Los Angeles. But her heart felt mission is more than finding jobs for recent immigrants; it’s sharing the love of Christ to the Muslim women in her English As A Second Language class. But it’s dangerous work. Accepting Jesus as Savior is an affront to Allah and is worthy of a death sentence to both the convert and to the person sharing Christ. Extremist Muslim families don’t take this lightly, and Austia finds herself in the middle of an Islamic plot, which could lead to the biggest terrorist act on US soil since the towers came down. Yes, sir, it’s a page turner that makes you stop and think. Arana approaches her characters, both Muslim and Christian, with great compassion and understanding. As Austia grapples with forgiveness for those who killed her husband, she finds that Christ’s love for her and for the Muslim people is sufficient not only to give her the courage to face opposition and danger at the hands of extremists, but to be truly family to Muslims she has come to respect and care for without looking down on them for not accepting the Savior she has devoted her life to. Through her characters she shows that our perspective of Muslims and Christians may not be as clear as it could be. There are Muslims filled with hate toward America, and Muslims who love this country – and are willing to die for it. There are Christians who are heavy handed and clumsy in their approach, and there are Christians who love as Jesus would love. If I were teaching a class on witnessing to Muslims, I would make Next Target required reading. Arana’s knowledge of Muslim culture permeates the pages of Next Target giving it an authenticity that makes the novel impactful. More than just a thriller, it is a testimony.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Book heavy reading but captivating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book holds your attention! The ending was abrupt but a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found this story to be an easy read. Did not expect what happened at the climax of the story, so that was surprising. Looking for a book that flows quickly and easily to pass the time, this is a good choice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informational about the muslam culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even if you're not a Christian, this book has a lot to offer. Disturbing, sad, depressing but it sure makes me glad I have religious freedom and freedom as a woman too! I think in particular young people should read this book, no matter what your faith, culture or sex, as it addresses prejudice, the rights of women, the right to worship...which we as Westerners, so often take for granted. The author doesn't soften any of the horrors of so called "honor" killings either. This book reminded me how grateful I am to live in a culture that honors women and how easily that could be taken away from me if I'm not careful. It also made me grateful I can worship (or not worship) as I choose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book for many reasons...too many to list but, Nikki does an awesome job of educating the reader about Muslim culture and ministering to them. Great book!
Sparkyj More than 1 year ago
Arana does a superb job of writing about an extremely controversial subject. What I appreciated most was how she was able to get us to understand what motivates people on all sides of these issues, and why they then believe and act as they do. Her compassion for people shines throughout the book, and her passion becomes that of her readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
confdir More than 1 year ago
If you like a strong plot and real characters, you will like this book. This is a great story - one you will remember. Nikki takes an honest no-holes-barred approach to a difficult topic, while clearly answering the conflict of faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hated finishing it.
VirginiaRipple More than 1 year ago
The Good... The Next Target is a well written suspense that brought to mind Frank Peretti's Piercing the Darkness, minus the demons and angels. The author's use of dark and light imagery and the feeling that Hussein is able to know things without being told gave the distinct feeling that this was a story of spiritual warfare. Wonderfully frustrating cases of "just missing" the one who could make everything work out and misunderstandings regarding a person's real intentions made me want to continue reading just to see if/when things would be cleared up. The author did a great job showing how what may seem like a bad thing was actually God making things work out the way they needed to. The Not-so-good... In general, prologues are not necessary and this one is no exception. It's beautifully written, but does nothing to move the story along. Also, this fantastic story is marred by repetitive back story info dumps. It was almost as if the author didn't trust that the reader would either remember important details or would miss the point of a scene. The Overall... The Next Target by Nikki Arana is an inspiring suspense that keeps readers up all night wondering if it's true that Love Never Fails.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CathyGohlke More than 1 year ago
Austia Donatelli resumed her maiden name and changed her phone number after receiving threats from Muslim extremists. She knows they're not kidding--they murdered her husband. Still, Austia's deep-seated fear doesn't keep her from teaching English language and life skills classes to Muslim women at a California Career Center, all in hope of quietly sharing the love of Christ--the dream she and her husband, Dave, shared and nurtured. But, when one of her students is found dead from an honor killing for her newfound faith, Austia discovers that her life and the lives of other Muslim women in the class are also at risk. Knowing that she may well be the next target, Austia determines to find a way to help Muslims in desperate need--especially the abused wife of the local leader. As the web tightens, Austia wishes more than ever for the strength of her husband--a "weakness" the extremists on her trail detect all too easily and use against her. The only thing more heartbreaking for Austia than the loss of the love of her life is her loss of confidence, her inability to trust her instincts, and betrayal by someone she trusted, perhaps dared to love. Arrana portrays an introduction to Isl'mic culture through story. Showing clearly the differences between radical and moderate Muslims, she also brings to light what Christians and Muslims fear from building a community together, and how we can reach beyond our fears to dialogue. "The Next Target" is not a light-hearted read, but I learned so much and am grateful for Arrana's explanations of Muslim customs and beliefs. I gained more understanding of sharia law, honor killings, etc., and better understand that burying my head in the sand is not an option. "The Next Target" reminded me what amazing freedoms we possess in America, how easily we can lose those freedoms through "sleeping at the helm," and how very much we who know Christ have to share with others. I won't forget this book. In fact, I'm going to read another of Arrana's books, "Through the Eyes of Christ: How to Lead Muslims into the Kingdom of God."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sheer prejudice disguised as a novel.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Austia Donatelli has a mission in life. That mission is to keep her husband's ministry alive now that he is no longer alive even if it means taking a risk at losing her own life in the process. She works at a Career Center. Besides dealing with the usual demands of running her employment agency, she is now interviewing a number of Arabic-speaking men to act as interpreters for the job applicants. It would be challenging, as it always was. She was a single Christian woman living in a Muslim neighborhood on the south side of Los Angeles, running a business that required her to deal almost exclusively with men whose culture frowned upon men and women mixing in public. A job that flew in the face of the Islamic traditions that taught men a woman's place was in the home tending to the family's needs. However when she learns that a close friend of hers and also a student was murdered, Austia realizes that the risks she has been taking may lead them to find her. When a young man who reminds her of her late husband David, applies for the job as interpreter, it seems like he is too good to be true. All his references check out flawlessly and he seems to have an answer for every question she poses to him. It isn't until she offers him the job, that she realizes she may in fact have hired the enemy to work for her and the people she's been trying to help may in fact just lead these killers directly to them and become the next target! In this chilling new Christian novel by Nikki Arana, The Next Target brings the readers face to face with just how difficult it is for Muslims to convert to Christianity and just what risks they are taking on their own lives and the lives of those that help them learn about Christ. That according to the Qur'an, it teaches that it's all right to lie if it furthers Islam and that you don't have to keep any agreements made with Infidels. It urges Muslims to do whatever possible to inflict terror and destroy the enemy for the cause of Allah and Islam. Extremists use this to justify any immoral act, from lying to the killing of innocents. I found the most interesting part of this novel related to why Muslims don't speak out against the acts of radicals and extremists of Islam, if this type of behavior is so wrong. It's simply this, you aren't hearing from them because they are afraid too. Moderate Muslims everywhere are suffering the consequences of the actions of their radical brothers. What an eye-opener that one simple sentence made in my own heart. In this fiction novel, the actions of one woman, Austia will be put to the ultimate test of her own personal faith in Christ when these men will stop at nothing to make sure she is silenced for leading their people astray in their opinion. Will she be able to stand firm in her faith or will she ultimately become their next target? I received The Next Target by Nikki Arana compliments of David C. Cook Publishers for my honest review and have to say I really enjoyed this action packed novel. It literally has to wondering just what could possibly happen next and who the next victim will be. When Austia hires a man she had hoped she could trust, he turns out to be the enemy in disguise and no matter what she tries to do to get rid of him, he has an excuse for everything. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and would really appeal to people who loved that action-packed suspense novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat til the end.