by Terri Blackstock

Zondervan, $14.99, 324 pages

New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock’s newest novel, Vicious Cycle is a tale of addiction, love, and desperation that ultimately leads to redemption. As in any of her novels, Blackstock seeks to find Biblical order in the chaos of a sinful world; in Vicious Cycle she does not shy from some of the larger social issues at hand in an American culture that has shifted dramatically in recent decades. “I should have died,” Blackstock writes on the opening page, “Jordan lay on her bloody sheets, her newborn daughter in her arms, and longed for one more hit. She had never hated herself more.” Fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds the baby abandoned in the backseat of a car and knows immediately to whom she belongs: the meth addict he has befriended. But when Lance is arrested for kidnapping the baby, he finds himself immersed in a dark and painful world of addiction and human trafficking.

As the novel unfolds, Blackstock reveals to us the sorrow and anger inherent in the deceit necessary to enable such addiction. As Blackstock writes in her concluding author note, the pain of this cyclical despair can make us question everything: “In times like these, it’s easy to throw up our hands and declare that there must not be a God, that if there were, why would He allow people to suffer this way? Why would He allow children to be born into dysfunctional and dangerous homes? Why would He allow substances on earth that destroy us?” But, Blackstock concludes both in the author note and in the novel itself, when we are able to see beyond the turmoil to a greater eternal purpose, the darkness quickly begins to lift.

Jennie A. Camp