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A Cross to Kill

(Shepherd Suspense #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  85 reviews
A gripping debut thriller pits a man of God against terrorists--and his own deadly past

John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God's calling. He's not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past.

But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf--an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to f
Paperback, 250 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Kregel Publications
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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Jes Drew
It's always great to see the Christian market publishing more than just Amish, literary, and romance, so I was already on board for this little something different. That this book is about a preacher with a dark past as a CIA officer made me not want to ever get off the ship.

This story is almost non-stop action, but the characters shine in this. There's John Cross, our preacher who thinks he can redeem his own past, poor confused soul; Heather, the reporter who he rescued and is trying to track
Peter  Younghusband
I saw this novel advertised in my Twitter feed and was drawn to the description. I joined the book tour to obtain a review copy but had issues with the website in downloading it, so bought my own copy. I am so glad I did. This novel lives up to its description and more!

I have read similar novels where the special ops operative is a Christian. However, this novel takes this to the next level. It is similar to another series I am reading, A Pastor Matt Hayden Mystery (K.P Gresham) where a police o
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
A CROSS TO KILL starts off action-packed as the heroine is rescued from execution by terrorists and then has a few moments of calm before the action continues all the way to the end of the story. Endearing characters, a strong faith element, a touch of romance, a a fast-paced plot make for a highly entertaining read. Also recommended to readers who enjoy military fiction or Bourne movies.

I pretty much couldn't turn the pages fast enough for much of this story. I really liked John and Christine,
Kaitlyn Krispense
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: intense
A Cross to Kill started out with a bang—Christine, reporter in Jordan about to get executed on-camera, is suddenly rescued by a mysterious man that disappears as soon as he ushers Christine to safety. Definitely a hooker scene.

John Cross is an enigma to most people—ex-CIA-turned-preacher. Quite a combination that made me dying to read the book once I read the synopsis. The writing style was hooking, yet there were instances where it almost seemed to pull me away from the story.

For instance, the
Jaime Jo Wright
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
A fun Jack Ryan style high action read!
Natalie Walters
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Buckle your seatbelt because the second you open this book you're in for a wild ride!

From the very first page, author Andrew Huff, takes readers a head-spinning adventure into the life of John Cross, former CIA assassin turned small-town pastor. With his past shadowing his every move and decision, John Cross is forced to confront the man he used to be and decide if someone really can change. It's a moral question that Mr. Huff handles well and with real authenticity. The pace does not quit on th
This story starts fast and doesn't really let up for the rest of it. John Cross is a 'retired' assassin who worked for the CIA and after giving his life to God determines to live the life of a small town pastor. However, his past won';t let go of him.

It's a good story especially as it's not the usual thing we get to read in Christian fiction. Here is a man, grappling with being obedient to God, to his new calling while all the habits and thoughts so ingrained in his heart and mind seek to keep h
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
He's called back...for one more mission...

OK, so totally new author to me, I see that this is Andrew Huff's debut novel, but I've come to like some of the publisher's other books so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I've found Kregel's suspense/mystery books to be a bit edgier which can be a good thing. When I read the blurb for A Cross To Kill I was intrigued, I mean, a CIA assassin turned preacher?

So, this book is non-stop action from the prologue to the last page. If this were a movie I'd call
Kara Linaburg
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
When I chose to review this book, I didn't know what to expect. I'd never heard of Andrew Huff but an assassin turned pastor? Terrorists? Suspense? All in one?!
The story line is a complete thumbs up. I loved the idea behind it all -- especially because pastors are normally left in the back burner of exciting stories (ok ALWAYS left in the back burner). Plus when you depict pastor's it's normally in the stuffy, normal fashion and y'all my dad is a pastor and he is not stuffy. He pr
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This novel is almost nonstop action. Heart pounding, nail biting action. You may think you've read an exciting auto chase scene but wait until you read this book. You may think you've read the most exciting hostage rescue ever. Guess again.

The character development is great. Imagine an assassin for the US government getting saved, leaving the agency and becoming a small town preacher. Imagine the turmoil in his soul, knowing God has forgiven him but never forgetting what he has done. Imagin
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The idea of a CIA operative turned minister seems a wee bit far-fetched, but it is indeed the main emphasis of the brand new book A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff. This suspense novel filled with terrorists, fight scenes, and high-speed chases is beyond my normal reading diet, but the premise of a highly skilled hitman, becoming a Christian, walking away from his highly lucrative career, and then becoming a minister seemed to good to pass up. Add in the rescue of a high-profile female journalist a ...more
Vera Godley
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll admit the cover wasn't necessarily a "come on" to me with its stark red, black, and white graphic and the title was a bit of a put off as well. But after reading the book's premise or back cover matter and knowing the publisher, Kregel, was tops, I committed to reviewing the book.

This isn't your typical Christian fiction that appeals to ladies. This one is so action-packed, and mind-bending that it will soon be a favorite of men who enjoy a fast paced read with the element of faith an integ
Cara Putman
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is an adrenaline rush -- starting with a desperate attempt to save a journalist before she is beheaded and racing to the end with an attempt to subvert a terrorist plot. It's all interconnectected in a web of the hero's past colliding with his future. This book reminded me of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series or Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. A hero who is trying to reconcile his past with the man he wants to be now with a thin overlay of possible romance. ...more
Meagan Myhren-bennett
A Cross to Kill
A Shepherd Suspense Novel #1
By Andrew Huff

John Cross has a secret past and he wants to keep it that way, but occasionally the CIA needs his help. But he is determined to not take a life if he can help it. His past as an assassin for the CIA is at odds with his current call - that of a small-town pastor.

When he is again called to rescue Christine Lewis, a news journalist captured by AIM (Alliance of Islamic Military) he has to act fast and keep his shots sure so as to not take a l
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book sounded really good, but no offense intended....the publisher isn't known for great suspense authors or books. Those come from Nelson, Zondervan, Revell, etc. But it sounded really I requested it to review.

This has to be the best book Kregel ever published. Seriously. Talk about non stop action and an adrenaline rush from reading a book. It starts out with a televised execution being filmed live, and doesn't slow down until the last page, which is when I finally took a bre
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Debut authors are a hit or miss with me and sadly this one was a miss. I thought the idea of a former CIA operative vowing not to kill again was a great idea. I found the characters flat and more telling of the story than showing. The bad thing for me is that when there is more telling vs showing it’s like my brain gets whiplash.
For me the best part of the book was time spent in the community of the church.
I did like John and thought his code name Shepherd was cool given his occupation change.
The Forgiven Former Feminist
I review a LOT of books on my blog. Few of the books I review are excellent, many of the books I review are good, and every so often a book comes along that I just don't like. Unfortunately today's review is one of those.

A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff is a cringe inducing hodgepodge-like mashup of every action movie you can imagine, just with a Christian as the lead man. I wanted to like this book, especially because it was billed as a Christian suspense novel. Unfortunately nothing about this
“Truth. What truth? The truth that before Christ, he was nothing. And since his decision, Cross had discovered true meaning, true purpose. It was true. All of it. His wrong...the world’s wrong, none of it meant truth couldn’t be found. It could. But only in one place. In one person.”

“Mission. It was all that mattered now. Just as it had so many times before. Only this time he wasn’t in the business of taking lives. This time he would save them.”

“A reporter, a CIA officer, an ex-CIA officer turne
Amy Bradsher
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! A Cross to Kill is a hard-hitting, roller-coaster ride of action from the first page to the last! I opened this book late one night intending to read a few chapters before going to bed – and found myself up waaayyyyy too late, turning the last page. There wasn’t a single spot that could be called a ‘stopping point’ anywhere in the story!

I love mystery books, and I love suspense stories. A Cross to Kill is a blend of both in the best kind of way; you don’t know exactly who or why the problem
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
My expectations for unknown authors are always up in the air, so I had a fresh state of mind when I stared reading A Cross to Kill, and, unfortunately, I ended up having mixed feelings by the time I read the last page. It’s not that it’s written poorly (because it isn’t) but I’ve read other thrillers with similar generic plots.

The protagonist, John Cross, is an interesting character with many flaws. While he attempts to live his life by the word of God, he’s still haunted by his past sins. He ha
Abigail Harris
Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Review of A Cross To Kill by Andrew Huff: I may or may not have stayed up way past bedtime, like 2 in the morning reading this, oops? NOT!!! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, there was romance, secrets, danger, a beating which wasn't great (who wants to see their pastor beaten up?), there were attacks, and more secrets, not a surprise, right? But there was a uniqueness to the story that completely set this apart from most suspense in a good way. I was somewhat surprised that the book mentioned so ...more
Diane Higgins
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had non-stop action throughout the whole thing! I have to admit, it wasn't my typical style of book that I usually read. The action was good, and it kept my attention through most of the book. However, there was a little more description in the book than what I prefer. There were Christian elements throughout which I liked. It wasn't preachy or pushy. Therefore, I have mixed feelings about this book. However, for anyone who enjoys a clean, non-stop action read (which are kind of hard t ...more
Doug Yonce
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent beginning of a series I hope to continue reading. Former CIA officer John Cross has left the Agency and is pastoring a small congregation, but his past keeps chasing him. The non-stop action begins with the rescue of a reporter and follows him back to Virginia. The spiritual aspects of the story are very well done, and I would have liked to have more of those scenes instead of chase scenes, which play better on the screen than in the book.I received an advanced digital copy of this ...more
Barbara Tsipouras
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Christian books with real suspense and believable internal struggle. This is one of this rare species.

It is as action-packed as a good James bond movie and the action is just as unbelievable: A hero and his female friend fighting off terrorist (nearly) without any help and without killing anybody. But it's pure suspense.

Woven into this suspense are questions of living a life of faith. What about our sinful nature? Does Jesus really change us? What about forgiveness? Are we really forgiven
Esther Filbrun
This book sucked me in instantly, from the first sentence. I loved that! Most books take me several chapters until I really get into them, but this didn’t have that—the action (and hook) were on the first page, which was excellent for this reader, and the genre, too. Somehow, I don’t think I ever put down the book until I got to 30% and the tension got a little easier for a bit. It wasn’t long until I was back for more, though, and I ended up finishing this book in record time!

There were many el
Deb Haggerty
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Deb’s Dozen: Small town pastor or Black Ops Specialist? Either can get you killed.

Andrew Huff started his Shepherd Suspense series with a great action/adventure yarn titled A Cross to Kill. John Cross serves as a small town pastor with a backstory–he “retired” from being in CIA black ops— until they call him back for a special extraction.

Christine Lewis, a journalist captured by terrorists, faces beheading. She’s the package John must extract. But everything goes wrong, and they race for their l
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: action-suspense
Wow, this was a thrilling book! Ironically, it didn't have my heart pounding as much as some others, but it certainly kept me engaged and turning the page, to the tune of staying up late and reading in the pew before church service started :)

John's struggle to reconcile his past with his gift of the present was very humanizing. With his talents, he could come off as sort of a super-man, like say Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt. Giving him that internal struggle, his goal of atoning somehow for what h
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest the cover and the title are what drew me in. This design is way cool. I don't think I've ever seen art quite like this.
To my idea, the cover gives you a hint as to what the story would be about. Minus the blurb of course.
I think James Bond has met his match through John Cross. Yes, I'm definitely sure.
Cross ( or the good Shepherd)s life never has a dull moment to be sure! Everytime he turned around he was in danger.
I guess I have to admit I am fascinated by what he does and at h
Deana Dick
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book grabs your attention right away. . We have a front row seat to an execution of a news reporter that plays out on TV. Christine sits in a chair surrounded by people who want to send a message to the United Stated. I could feel the terror as she waited to die. At the minutes tick away , her heart starts to pump faster. Can she be saved in time?

John Cross is an experienced undercover agent for the U.S. He is no stranger to danger and he is determined to save Christine’s life. What happens
MaryAnn Bell
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
About the Book: A gripping debut thriller pits a man of God against terrorists--and his own deadly past

John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God's calling. He's not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past.

But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf--an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to do penance for all the lives he took. He vowed never
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I spent 10 years in local church ministry before pursuing God's calling into creative storytelling and media production as the Product Director at Igniter Media, a church media company ( I am a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014 & 2017) and also won the Best Screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival i ...more

Other books in the series

Shepherd Suspense (3 books)
  • Cross Shadow (Shepherd Suspense #2)
  • Right Cross (Shepherd Suspense #3)

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