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An Open Heart

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Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him. It thrusts Jace into a fire Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him. It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maelstrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the forces working against him will do anything to stop him from uncovering a truth they will kill to hide. He’d come to Kenya to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor. But what he will find in that place where he grew up will put everything at risk–his marriage, his career . . . his life.

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Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him. It thrusts Jace into a fire Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him. It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maelstrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the forces working against him will do anything to stop him from uncovering a truth they will kill to hide. He’d come to Kenya to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor. But what he will find in that place where he grew up will put everything at risk–his marriage, his career . . . his life.

30 review for An Open Heart

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

    Another winner from Dr. Harry Kraus. This one makes great usage of not only the medical theme, but also its African setting.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Iola

    Moving from comfortable Virginia to Kenya to begin the nation’s first heart surgery programme sounds like a noble objective, but Dr Jace Rawlings is running away. He’s running away from a broken marriage, a possible affair and memory loss, and returning to the town where he grew up as a missionary kid, working at the hospital where his Dad was a doctor, and where he lost his faith and his twin sister. But this is Africa, and there are challenges in getting the programme started, not least in get Moving from comfortable Virginia to Kenya to begin the nation’s first heart surgery programme sounds like a noble objective, but Dr Jace Rawlings is running away. He’s running away from a broken marriage, a possible affair and memory loss, and returning to the town where he grew up as a missionary kid, working at the hospital where his Dad was a doctor, and where he lost his faith and his twin sister. But this is Africa, and there are challenges in getting the programme started, not least in getting the equipment through customs. And once Jace undertakes the first operation, he finds a strange after-effect: his patient is giving him messages from beyond this dimension. And that’s not his only problem. Someone is out to end the heart surgery programme, and it looks as though he might be implicated in a death back in the US. I’ve read and enjoyed novels set in Africa and other exotic locations (particularly those by JM Windle). I’ve read and enjoyed medical dramas (by authors such as Candace Calvert and Hannah Alexander). I’ve read and enjoyed novels with a supernatural element (like The Widow of Saunders Creek or Illusion). And I’ve read and enjoyed several of Kraus’s previous books (including Perfect and the Claire McCall series), so I thought I would enjoy this. I did, but not as much as I expected. The opening of Open Heart was excellent, as Jace found himself thrown in jail, then refusing to pay the bribes to release his medical equipment. But as I progressed, it felt as though the novel was trying to be a supernatural thriller (with supernatural messages and a witch doctor), a medical thriller (the surgery) and a suspense novel (who wants to end the heart programme and why, the US element and the back story about Jace’s twin sister) all at the same time. It was too much, and I’m not sure it worked. But my big problem was Jace’s faith. While I could understand why he turned away from Christianity as a child, I didn’t see why he essentially faked faith throughout his adult life. He married another missionary kid, a strong Christian woman; he went to church, then he goes back to Africa to serve in a missionary hospital, yet he has no personal faith. (SPOILER: He then has a major change of heart at the end of the story, yet it came out of nowhere. It seemed convenient rather than heartfelt). And there were times when Open Heart was let down by the writing. I found that the technical dialogue that comes across quickly in a TV medical drama doesn’t work so well on the page. It sounded authentic, but it read like a foreign language. There were too many points of view, odd changes of tense, and some of the scenes had a repetitious sentence structure (like starting consecutive paragraphs with adverbs). And there’s a spelling mistake in the Amazon blurb (it’s maelstrom, not maeltsrom), which isn’t good. Overall, it could have been great, but it wasn’t. Thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Jace Rawlings, a missionary kid in Africa, couldn't wait to graduate and leave "the bubble" as students called it. Just after graduation he taunted his twin sister to jump off a cliff and swim with the other kids, but Janice was leery, and he only meant to hold her shoulders and push her forward then yank her back into his arms.............. Years, later, Dr. Jace Rawlings saved the life of an overweight Virginia governor, ended up in an accident with the governor's wife who was hit by a drunk dr Jace Rawlings, a missionary kid in Africa, couldn't wait to graduate and leave "the bubble" as students called it. Just after graduation he taunted his twin sister to jump off a cliff and swim with the other kids, but Janice was leery, and he only meant to hold her shoulders and push her forward then yank her back into his arms.............. Years, later, Dr. Jace Rawlings saved the life of an overweight Virginia governor, ended up in an accident with the governor's wife who was hit by a drunk driver as she knelt on the side of the road aiding him and calling 911. He ended up with a hole drilled in his head to release pressure building up and couldn't remember the accident. The press had a field day and implied he and Anita had been lovers. His wife, Heather, had been a missionary kid too, but she had unwavering faith unlike him. The day after their heated argument, Jace quit his job and flew to Africa to start a heart program for the poor, but he ended up smack dab in black magic and running for his life as someone wanted him dead!! WOW, You must read this book as it as nonstop action, double crossing, intrigue from this author who's new to me and I must get his books and I just know he will entertain me!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Johnson

    Title: An Open Heart Author: Harry Kraus Pages: 442 Year: 2013 Publisher: David C. Cook I am a big fan of Harry Kraus’ books and this latest one, An Open Heart, doesn’t disappoint! The majority of the book takes place in Africa. The author uses flashback to fill in the main character’s background and history in order to flesh-out his personality. This is a riveting story and definitely will go on my “keeper” bookshelf. Jace Rawlings is a successful heart surgeon in Virginia. However, once he success Title: An Open Heart Author: Harry Kraus Pages: 442 Year: 2013 Publisher: David C. Cook I am a big fan of Harry Kraus’ books and this latest one, An Open Heart, doesn’t disappoint! The majority of the book takes place in Africa. The author uses flashback to fill in the main character’s background and history in order to flesh-out his personality. This is a riveting story and definitely will go on my “keeper” bookshelf. Jace Rawlings is a successful heart surgeon in Virginia. However, once he successfully saves the governor of Virginia by operating on him, his life changes. The governor’s young wife develops an attachment to Jace and he begins spending more time with her in the guise of “checking on his patient, the governor”. Jace’s wife, Heather, refuses to put up with this behavior any longer and asks him to move out. Then, Jace has a car accident, ending up in the hospital. He thinks his dead twin sister has spoken him and called him to return to Africa where they both grew up as the children of missionaries. Also, the governor’s wife is killed while phoning 911 to report Jace’s car accident. Her autopsy report has some interesting findings. Is there a plot to frame Jace for her killing? Jace heads to Africa after recovering from his car accident, thinking if he does enough good deeds he will rid himself of the guilt he feels over his sister’s death and the death of others he has experienced in his life. His good deed will be opening a heart surgery facility in African and operating on the poor, who have no way to pay and can’t get surgery elsewhere. After his first heart surgery, his patient wakes up with a message for him from the “other side”. Is this just postoperative paranoia? Jace hasn’t been a believer for a long time. He wants to believe, but just feels empty inside when others talk about their faith. Jace will encounter strange happenings in Africa that can’t be explained by his scientific mind. He also will experience the frustration and fear that is part of African politics. Is there really a supernatural battle being fought? Is there really a target on his back, making him a threat to differing African factions so that they are trying to kill him? Can Jace discover the faith his twin sister so adamantly wished for him to believe in? Will he be able to repair his marriage? The writing is stellar and the plot keeps moving along at a brisk pace. I read this book in a day because I couldn’t put it down. The chapters are brief so as to keep the reader flipping page after page in excitement to see what will be revealed next. This is another outstanding medical suspense story that shouldn’t be missed! I highly recommend it to one and all! You will not regret the time spent reading this novel. It will whet your appetite for more of this author’s fantastic books. My rating is 5 stars. Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspo... . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen (Kat) Smith

    "Always trying to save the world, aren't you Jace? Well, look where it's gotten you now." If-onlys crowded out hope. If only he'd upgraded to first class, maybe he wouldn't have arrived so sleep deprived, and his reactions would have been quicker. If only he'd let someone else pick him up at the airport instead of agreeing to drive a friend's Land Rover. If only that last goat hadn't tried to cross the road. He slipped his hand into his suit pocket and closed it around a small wad of shillings, t "Always trying to save the world, aren't you Jace? Well, look where it's gotten you now." If-onlys crowded out hope. If only he'd upgraded to first class, maybe he wouldn't have arrived so sleep deprived, and his reactions would have been quicker. If only he'd let someone else pick him up at the airport instead of agreeing to drive a friend's Land Rover. If only that last goat hadn't tried to cross the road. He slipped his hand into his suit pocket and closed it around a small wad of shillings, the local currency in Kenya. If only he'd been willing to pay the bribe, he could have avoided the whole mess. He should have known that the crowd that gathered around his Land Rover would have sided with the locals. "He was speeding," they had all agreed. Kikuyu mamas with colorful clashing sweaters and headscarves. Barefoot children pushing roasted corn beneath his nose, hoping for a sale. An old man on a donkey cart had rubbed his gray-chin stubble and nodded with apparent wisdom. "Shouldn't race on our roads." Everyone claimed it was Jace's fault. If he had only paid the bribe. If only. In the latest novel from author Harry Kraus, An Open Heart takes the readers into the heart of Africa, right into the Great Rift Valley that separates Africa in two for his suspense thriller. The book opens with Jace Rawlings, a US heart surgeon who is sitting in a Kenyan jail awaiting the outcome of his crime, one that in most eyes would be ruled an accident but only if you were in the US. Only Jace wasn't in the US and now he could only begin to think of a way out of this mess. Only the prime minister of parliament in Nairobi is taking matters into his own hands to free Jake. He has consulted with Mzee Simeon Okayo, a town elder of Kisii who practices traditional witchcraft to assist with this most urgent matter and one that needs to be managed with discretion. Only now it seems that Jace Rawlings has powers that even the local villagers have begun to take notice of beginning with the victim who died at the scene of his accident. Now it seems that what was once dead has now returned to life and now Jace it seems is the new magic man! Just when Jace arrived in Africa to escape his troubles in the US it seems like new ones have found their way to Africa and Jace's running is about to end. I received An Open Heart by Harry Krauss compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and David C Cook Publishers for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. This is an interesting look at just what missionaries have to deal with in Africa. Not only the differences in cultures but also in religion. While the character of Jace Rawlings exemplifies the Christian doctor, he has to deal with the local people who still believe in the traditional witchdoctors to deal with virtually everything that happens to them from the crops to the weather. Is there more at work here than meets the eye? You'll have to pick this one up to see what the dead who are brought back to life have to say! I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I've read quite a few of Harry Kraus novels and the experience of being a board-certified surgeon and medical missionary bring a sense of realism to this novel in unremarkable ways.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christian Fiction Addiction

    Set in the beautiful but corrupt landscape of Kenya, Harry's Kraus latest book offers up medical drama, suspense, and spiritual warfare in a fast-paced read. I greatly enjoyed that the book largely takes place in Africa, and the fact that the author himself resides in Kenya shows in the authentic feel to the descriptions of people and places and cultural nuances. I was particularly fascinated by the witch doctor who plays a prominent role in the story, and the way that the people of Africa are s Set in the beautiful but corrupt landscape of Kenya, Harry's Kraus latest book offers up medical drama, suspense, and spiritual warfare in a fast-paced read. I greatly enjoyed that the book largely takes place in Africa, and the fact that the author himself resides in Kenya shows in the authentic feel to the descriptions of people and places and cultural nuances. I was particularly fascinated by the witch doctor who plays a prominent role in the story, and the way that the people of Africa are so much more open to acknowledge the spiritual forces that are at work behind the scene. I have found this to be true myself in the missions trips I've taken, such as my recent trip to Thailand. Kraus' inclusion of this aspect of Kenyan culture made for a unique twist to the plot and one that I hope to see in future novels from him as well. In terms of the controversy surrounding Dr. Jace Rawlings, I must admit that the actions of the villain did not always make sense to me (and I can't say more without ruining the plot). Nevertheless, the cross-cultural element of the threat over Jace's life made for some extra-intense scenes indeed! As with all of Harry Kraus' books, I most appreciate the way in which he can so seamlessly weave the power of what Jesus has done on the cross into his novels. "An Open Heart" not only provides an entertaining ride, but points to the grace of Jesus at the same time. I award this book a solid rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Plan on picking up a copy of this book for yourself. You'll be glad you did! Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cheyenne

    I got this book for Kindle from NetGalley and would actually like to stop and tip my hat to Harry Kraus. This was an EXCELLENT read and was beautifully written. When I started this book, I didn't expect a lot, because I'd never actually read a medical suspense novel before, but had absolutely no trouble getting through it! Finished it in a day. It's so much more than medical suspense and does have spiritual aspects to it. I definitely recommend to anyone, even people unfamiliar with the genre.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Corrie

    I really enjoyed this book and was planning to give it four stars until the last few chapters, which I had several problems with. I felt like this book ended very abruptly, leaving too many unanswered questions. Several of the most pivotal, dramatic scenes, instead of being captivating and tense, just read flat.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Caryl

    WOW! I was drawn into the story from the beginning. The danger and suspense kept me turning the pages. I so appreciated the faith element woven throughout this story. After reading this story, I now have a greater admiration for those who are called to the mission field. I highly recommend this book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    Unfinished. I'm sure the writing is good, but I'm just not interested in reading it. I'm not into thrillers, especially angsty, depressing ones.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I didn't finish this one. Just couldn't get into the plot. Too much detail weighted the story down.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    Loved this book until it started to become overly Christian. I guess that is what can happen when I get an ebook without doing some research

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan Hamsher

    An Open Heart by Harry Kraus is a little bit of everything. Dr Jace Rawlings worked hard to become a renowned heart surgeon. But when he is in a serious accident and the governor's wife is killed... the questions rise. But more than the media's speculation, as it turned out, is haunting him. Will returning to his missionary home in Kenya to start a heart program reveal answers... and will he survive? Heather Rawlings thought she knew her husband.... but will the separation reveal that there's mor An Open Heart by Harry Kraus is a little bit of everything. Dr Jace Rawlings worked hard to become a renowned heart surgeon. But when he is in a serious accident and the governor's wife is killed... the questions rise. But more than the media's speculation, as it turned out, is haunting him. Will returning to his missionary home in Kenya to start a heart program reveal answers... and will he survive? Heather Rawlings thought she knew her husband.... but will the separation reveal that there's more to the story? News reporters can be a pain... but they come in handy when snooping around ... can she find the truth of what happened that night? Doctors and nurses fight to save patients from death.... odd how sometimes the safest place seems to be in a room full of equipment, beeping noises, and co-workers.... Follow your gut ... you will probably figure out the actual trouble-maker long before you reach the end. "I will NEVER serve You ...." God, however, uses strange ways to get our attention. Jace's bitter attitude towards faith is constantly challenged.... "Africa can be a scary place if you don't know Christ." "Someone must be praying ... Christians got to you, didn't they?" Simeon noted. Among other things, I learned what a prison cell was like in Kenya, a couple phrases used in Kenya, a little bit about dress customs of the tribes, and reminded that sometimes science just can't explain things. This was the first book I've read by Dr Harry Kraus ... and I'm happy to say that it won't be my last!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Unlike Harry Kraus' other books, this one got off to a very slow start. After a few chapters, it did pick up and had a reasonable storyline. Sadly, it didn't seem to have the easy flow of his other books and about 3/4th of the way into the book it all seemed less and less credible. This may have been partly due to my Western European background and the Kenyan setting of the book, but I still finished this book feeling disappointed that this book was not up to the author's normal standard.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Although raised by a missionary family serving in Kenya, Jace Rawlings did not share the faith of his parents and his twin sister. Many years later, as a famous heart surgeon, he returned to Kenya hoping to help the underprivileged natives of that country with his skills. Little did Jace know that he was taking the first step from skepticism to a transforming Faith ...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Ann

    I love this author and this book was no exception. A heart surgeon has a crisis in the U.S. and flees to Africa, and his problems get worse. This book does deal with spiritual warfare, but it is well done and not over the top like some. I couldn't put this one down until I finished it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Scott

    I enjoyed this book very much. It was a good read with some excitement and adventure. Kept me interested until the end. It’s also nice to read a book about people who still have morals and believe in God.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ml Herman

    I have always had a heart for mission work in Africa. This story reminded me of the struggles and joys that are unique to this type of mission. There was suspense that sometimes took my breath away. I look forward to reading more of Harry Kraus's books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sara Jane

    I enjoyed this story, but the ending was terrible. It needed far more wrap up.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alison Dehaan

    Intriguing....may have you questioning some of your former assumptions on religion.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Dr. Jace Rawlings, son of a missionary, is a renowned heart surgeon who saved the life of Virginia’s governor. Shortly after he receives admiration from the public, he quickly finds himself in the spotlight of suspicion when he is found injured at the scene of the accident where the governor’s wife, Anita Franks, was killed. Even after healing from serious head injuries, he can’t remember why he was with her that night. When Jace’s wife, and even himself, begins to question what Jace’s relations Dr. Jace Rawlings, son of a missionary, is a renowned heart surgeon who saved the life of Virginia’s governor. Shortly after he receives admiration from the public, he quickly finds himself in the spotlight of suspicion when he is found injured at the scene of the accident where the governor’s wife, Anita Franks, was killed. Even after healing from serious head injuries, he can’t remember why he was with her that night. When Jace’s wife, and even himself, begins to question what Jace’s relationship was with Anita, he makes the sudden decision to return to the country where he was raised, Kenya, to start a program from his specialty. However, Jace soon discovers that the troubles he’s running away from are strengthened tenfold when he arrives. Even though Jace turned his back on God many years ago, strange coincidences are making him begin to question even the science of medicine. It becomes clear that in Kenya, spirituality and unseen beings are at work. But what Jace needs to determine is whether these forces are good or evil and what business they have with him. I have never had the opportunity to go on a mission trip, and the furthest I’ve been out of the United States was a vacation to Niagara Falls with my family when I was 11. Because of this, I love when novels are enriched with cultures from other countries. An Open Heart has African culture weaved through it. I was able to understand the culture shock the children of missionaries experience when they come into the Unites States and how they view materialism. The author is able to integrate his life experiences into the novel so that they naturally become Jace’s. There is exposure of the medical epidemics in Africa, including HIV and the ramifications of untreated diseases that are easily and readily cured in the Western world. Corruption of the government and police are also a huge factor to the suspense. Characters who seem to be allies contradict themselves through conversations and actions. Government officials and the law can be easily bought with a bribe in Kenya, and you can never be sure who to trust. The spirituality also brings in elements of the Kenyan culture. The African religion believes the witch doctors can cure ailments. However, the Western attitude of the witchcraft is that it’s harmless and ineffective. In An Open Heart, the witchcraft is initiation of a spiritual war. There are many supernatural events in the novel, including visions and spiritual intervention. The mystery surrounding Anita’s death and Jace’s relationship with her is believable. Jace’s uncertainty of his own actions keeps the reader constantly guessing his character. When some evidence is surfaced from the crime scene, the stakes are raised. Was Anita’s death an accident or was it murder? Was Jace involved in anyway? Is he capable of having an affair? The multiple layers to the mystery make it complex and engrossing. Whether they are fans of medical mysteries or international missions, An Open Heart has many elements that will interest and engage a variety of readers. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I did not, nor have I ever received compensation for a review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him. It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maelstrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the for Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him. It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maelstrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the forces working against him will do anything to stop him from uncovering a truth they will kill to hide. He’d come to Kenya to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor. But what he will find in that place where he grew up will put everything at risk–his marriage, his career . . . his life. My Review: This novel was my introduction to the genre of medical dramas in print. As missionary kids, Jace and Heather have a lot in common, and marriage seems like it will be a happy, forever road. But even the sun hides behind clouds, and when Jace finds himself operating on the governor, the governor's wife makes her play for the cardiothoracic surgeon. In the night that follows, even Jace doesn't know what happened. But Heather knows all too well that the man that promised to be faithful may not have kept his vows. In the tempest that follows, Jace returns to Africa to perform heart surgery for the less fortunate. Rumors follow his wake in another continent, and when patients begin giving him messages that come true, he can no longer ignore the obvious; these messages are not wild guesses anyone could have come up with. As time runs out for both Heather and Jace, the question isn't whether they can find their way back to each other - but whether they will both survive long enough to see each other again. This was a pulse racing novel in every sense of the word. It was so many things at once, I don't think I can fit it in a genre all by itself! There are so many things explored in this novel - so many themes and topics that my head was spinning with all the pieces of the puzzle. The highlight if this novel for me was the supernatural elements. I can't agree with the outcome of the patients that came back with messages for Jace, but the writing contained herein is some of the best suspense/mystery I've read in a while. This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    This was an enjoyable book. The plot was intriguing and fairly well-paced, but what was most interesting for me was the realistic description of its Kenyan setting. As a missionary in Africa, I found a lot to relate to and that's what made it primarily enjoyable for me. I have many missionary colleagues who've spent time in and around Kijabe (the hospital and RVA), both of which feature prominently in this book. I appreciated the author's balanced handling of its primary characters, including th This was an enjoyable book. The plot was intriguing and fairly well-paced, but what was most interesting for me was the realistic description of its Kenyan setting. As a missionary in Africa, I found a lot to relate to and that's what made it primarily enjoyable for me. I have many missionary colleagues who've spent time in and around Kijabe (the hospital and RVA), both of which feature prominently in this book. I appreciated the author's balanced handling of its primary characters, including their struggles to accept or to appropriately live out their faith - something which I believe most Christian authors don't achieve as well as this author does. The plot also included a surprising mix of elements that wouldn't commonly be found in most Christian books. While those various elements helped keep the book interesting, it did sometimes create an uneven or unconvincing combination. There were also several elements to the characters' dialogues or personal motivations which I found to be a bit too "Christianese" and which might make the book less accessible to a non-Christian audience. (For example, the lead character's wife's multiple conversations about needing a husband who can "lead her well" but not describing why, which reveals the underlying assumption, common in American evangelical circles, that any woman needs a man to lead her. Also, multiple references to the way "prayer" works as a sort of abstract/concrete force in its own right, in reference to the primary tensions in the plot. This understanding would likely not be common outside Western Evangelicalism, though an understanding of it is assumed as natural in the narrative/dialogue of the book.) Overall though, it was an enjoyable book, well-paced, an interesting primary plot point/tension, and with fairly realistic portrayals of its primary characters. These things can be rare in Christian books, especially with modern self-publishing being so common, so it was refreshing to find them here. If you're a Christian missionary anywhere in Africa, you might enjoy the perspectives and setting of this well-paced novel.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Harry Kraus' books were the first medical suspense novels I read, and I loved everything he has written. He has moved to write for David C Cook, and it seems to be a good move for him. His first book for them, A Heartbeat Away, was awesome. This book, An Open Heart, was totally different, but I enjoyed it just as much. Most of the book is set in Kenya, and Harry does a great job of painting a picture of what life is like there, and what it is like to be a doctor there, something he knows person Harry Kraus' books were the first medical suspense novels I read, and I loved everything he has written. He has moved to write for David C Cook, and it seems to be a good move for him. His first book for them, A Heartbeat Away, was awesome. This book, An Open Heart, was totally different, but I enjoyed it just as much. Most of the book is set in Kenya, and Harry does a great job of painting a picture of what life is like there, and what it is like to be a doctor there, something he knows personally since he is there himself as a doctor. I found myself relating to the main character, Jace, quite a bit. Although he is a fictional character, his struggles with God mirror mine so much, it was like reading about my own. And even though he is a fictional character, it was a great message to me that not everyone gets it as easily, not everyone who grows up in a Christian home just naturally has all the faith in God to make it, but instead struggles to find that faith. It was a great message that maybe won't resonate with a lot of readers, but it did with me, and I won't give any spoilers, but Jace's struggles with God did have a happy ending in the book. There was a lot of suspense, and the book helped remind me that there is a very real evil in this world. We may never face an outright attack brought on by witch doctors, but evil is there, and the devil is fighting us all. This is a book that I would read in one sitting, but I started it too late last night to finish it, as I had to be in bed earlier than normal, but it was good enough that I had a hard time putting it down. I highly recommend it, and am giving it 5 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brent Soderstrum

    I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book. It has a great story with a Christian undertone. Jace Rawlings is a heart surgeon whose marriage is falling apart as a result of rumors spread by the media about his relationship with the Governor's wife. Jace got involved with the Governor as a result of saving his life through heart surgery. This also got the attention of the Governor's wife who wanted to spend a lot of time with Jace. Jac I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book. It has a great story with a Christian undertone. Jace Rawlings is a heart surgeon whose marriage is falling apart as a result of rumors spread by the media about his relationship with the Governor's wife. Jace got involved with the Governor as a result of saving his life through heart surgery. This also got the attention of the Governor's wife who wanted to spend a lot of time with Jace. Jace is then involved in a car accident in which the Governor's wife was with him. She was killed and Jace badly injured. Just before the accident they had been seen leaving a hotel. The autopsy on the Governor's wife showed that she had had sex right before the accident and that she had a date rape drug in her system. Jace remembers nothing about the accident or the time directly before the accident. Jace's wife Heather is obviously skeptical about her husband. Jace decides to head back to Kenya where he grew up as a missionary kid. His twin sister Janice had died in Kenya right before he left. He feels Janice wants him to go back to Kenya. Lots of medical terms that are explained fairly well. Kraus is a surgeon in Kenya. I found it ironic that just when I started to read the book my step-daughter was off to Kenya with a friend of the family who is originally from Kenya. It was fun to talk with her about some of the things the author points out about Kenya and some of the words and phrases used by the people of Kenya. I plan on recommending this to two of my friends who are Christian doctors.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Corder

    In An Open Heart, author Harry Kraus takes the readers into Kenya, a beautiful third-world country in the heart of Africa. The story opens with Dr. Jace Rawlings, a cardiac surgeon from America, imprisoned in a Kenyan jail awaiting the outcome of a crime which would not even be considered a crime in most countries. Jace has come to the country ostensibly to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor, but in reality he is there because he believes his dead twin sister has called him to return In An Open Heart, author Harry Kraus takes the readers into Kenya, a beautiful third-world country in the heart of Africa. The story opens with Dr. Jace Rawlings, a cardiac surgeon from America, imprisoned in a Kenyan jail awaiting the outcome of a crime which would not even be considered a crime in most countries. Jace has come to the country ostensibly to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor, but in reality he is there because he believes his dead twin sister has called him to return to the land where they grew up as TCKs (Third Culture Kids). His marriage and reputation are at risk and perhaps the trip to Kenya is also an attempt to figure out what has gone wrong, as well as get in touch with his African roots and the faith of his parents and sister. Having spent most of my life in Africa, I understand the emphasis the author puts on the witch doctor and the way the indigenous people of Kenya are so much more open to spiritual forces than evidenced in much of the civilized countries of our world. Readers need to keep this in mind as they read about the mystical and strange effects of the supernatural. Harry Kraus is one of my favorite authors, and I enjoyed the combination of medical drama and thrilling suspense, together with the insight into the spiritual warfare that drove the story. However I did wonder at times if he was trying to pack too much into one book. All round, a good read with a hefty dose of suspense. If you enjoy tension coupled with a look at life in a foreign land, you will delight in this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Silvestrini

    An Open Heart is masterfully written and intensely suspenseful. Kraus did an amazing job of transporting me to his world in Africa and making me feel right at home there. I could almost hear the monkeys in the trees, feel the hot sun and taste that coffee he kept raving about. Dr. Jace Rawlings basically flees to Africa, running away from the reality of his life. He is haunted by his twin sisters ghost and has never gotten over the tragedy that claimed her life years before. He feels she is calli An Open Heart is masterfully written and intensely suspenseful. Kraus did an amazing job of transporting me to his world in Africa and making me feel right at home there. I could almost hear the monkeys in the trees, feel the hot sun and taste that coffee he kept raving about. Dr. Jace Rawlings basically flees to Africa, running away from the reality of his life. He is haunted by his twin sisters ghost and has never gotten over the tragedy that claimed her life years before. He feels she is calling him to return to their childhood home of Africa but he doesn’t know why. As a heart surgeon, Jace is in a unique position to help the poor of Africa and has thus found an escape plan with a legitimate appearance. But as the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are.” He can not escape the past and his unresolved issues with the wife he left behind haunt him even more than his dead sister. This is a classic story of good versus evil and while Jace is battling his inner demons, he seems to be fighting some literal ones as well. Danger has found his hideaway and he may not be able to escape it. There is a spiritual aspect to the story that runs deep and tests Jace almost beyond what he can handle. Kraus writes with the knowledge and authority only a true surgeon could. It add such an element of reality because it is based on his reality. I love medical stories so I really enjoyed that aspect and the intricate detail that he included. An Open Heart was a thrilling read that kept me guessing and rooting for good to conquer all.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Jace is living the prime of his life as a cardiothoracic surgeon. His beautiful wife, Heather, is a missionary kid like him. A serious of unfortunate events has Jace operating on the Governor. Meanwhile, the Governor's wife is making her move on Heather's husband. What happened on that fateful night? Was Jace unfaithful? Can Heather's heart be mended? After the incident, Jace decides to return to Africa to carry out his medical mission of love...performing heart surgery. He has an eventful retur Jace is living the prime of his life as a cardiothoracic surgeon. His beautiful wife, Heather, is a missionary kid like him. A serious of unfortunate events has Jace operating on the Governor. Meanwhile, the Governor's wife is making her move on Heather's husband. What happened on that fateful night? Was Jace unfaithful? Can Heather's heart be mended? After the incident, Jace decides to return to Africa to carry out his medical mission of love...performing heart surgery. He has an eventful return and welcome back to his "homeland". Is this a sign of what is to come? Will Jace find a way to mend his heart as well as those of his patients? This is a riveting story that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time you are reading it! I love how Dr. Kraus gives such vivid details that you actually feel you are right there in the book. He also addresses a controversial issue in this book, one in which I am still intrigued by. As a nurse who has worked in both pediatric and adult cardiology, I've heard some very similar stories (though not in the same format or details as the characters in this book) of those who have undergone surgery or those who are near death. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read a great suspense story!! It does include medical terminology, which is explained in layman's terms and is written from a Christian perspective. Many thanks to the publisher, David C. Cook, and the author, Dr. Kraus, for a complimentary copy of this book. This is my fair and honest review with no enticements by the publisher or author.

  29. 5 out of 5

    My Book Addiction and More MBA

    This is an excellent book for medical suspense enthusiasts, or those who enjoy Christian suspense, in general. Although Dr. Jace Rawlings comes from a family of missionaries, as does his wife, he has struggled with idea of faith and Christianity since before his sister’s death when they were teenagers. After some unexplained events mar his professional and family reputation here in the US, he basically runs back “home” to Africa where he grew up. Although he uses the excuse of wanting to build a This is an excellent book for medical suspense enthusiasts, or those who enjoy Christian suspense, in general. Although Dr. Jace Rawlings comes from a family of missionaries, as does his wife, he has struggled with idea of faith and Christianity since before his sister’s death when they were teenagers. After some unexplained events mar his professional and family reputation here in the US, he basically runs back “home” to Africa where he grew up. Although he uses the excuse of wanting to build a heart surgery program at his dad’s former hospital, he is really following a request he received from his sister during a near-death experience. The story follows his struggles with initiating the heart program despite multiple local and government obstacles, coming to terms with unexplained phenomena as a result of the program, and working things out with his wife. It also follows his internal struggle with his faith. The author does an excellent job of plot development and intermixing conflicts at different levels throughout the story. He also does a good job explaining the medical jargon in simple terms, for those unfamiliar with it. This was a thrilling story, and maintained a good pace throughout to keep the reader interested. I will definitely be looking for more works by this author in the future. Rating: 4 HEAT Rating: none Reviewed By: Daysie W. Review Courtesy of: My Book Addictions and More

  30. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    Go into the heart of Africa and travel into the mind of a tormented hero who just wants to do good in this latest novel, “An Open Heart.” Much emotionally is taking place within this novel. Everything from medical trauma to physical harm to mystery and intrigue to corruptness. This book runs the gamut of human emotions. Conflict is always present upon the page. It doesn’t necessarily make the hair on your arms curl, but it moves the reader on the conviction that something has to go right for our m Go into the heart of Africa and travel into the mind of a tormented hero who just wants to do good in this latest novel, “An Open Heart.” Much emotionally is taking place within this novel. Everything from medical trauma to physical harm to mystery and intrigue to corruptness. This book runs the gamut of human emotions. Conflict is always present upon the page. It doesn’t necessarily make the hair on your arms curl, but it moves the reader on the conviction that something has to go right for our main character. The spiritual elements are powerful and can in no way be overlooked. They drive the story and give it a supernatural overtone that you don’t see written really well very often in the CBA. Jace is a tormented character. I wasn’t sure at times how much I liked him, but I think that in being so tormented, you come to see the man he wants to become and yet is fighting to reconcile with. His relationship with his wife-or lack thereof-is difficult at times to watch unfold, because I so wanted them to talk and figure it out! I thought the ending came a bit abruptly for the length of the book. It felt as though…that was it and I personally wanted a stronger sense of closure. Emotionally powerful with a faith message that is as deep as it is wide, a good new addition to the field of medical fiction. This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through the CFBA for my copy to review.

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