Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Last Exchange by Charles Martin ~ Book Review

MacThomas Pockets is part of the Scottish Special Forces and has been hired by a film director he met on a plane to help get some of the action scenes right.  Through this he meets Joe Sue, a recent Hollywood legend and her actor husband.  And from this he is hired to become Joe Sue's bodyguard.  As he gets to know Joe Sue, Pockets starts to see that the Joe Sue the public sees and the private Joe Sue are two very different people.  Discovered as a young woman, Joe Sue has come from a hard, traumatic childhood that didn't necessarily change when she became a star.  But her dream to have a child of her own is dwindling as she cannot carry a pregnancy to term. Trying to hide the past and present hurt she turns to pills to get her through the day.  After several stints in various rehabs, Joe Sue is still struggling with her hidden addiction.  As her husband's career is taking off, Joe Sue is left to deal with her present problems on her own.  But she isn't really alone.  Even after Pockets was no longer working for her, he kept up with what was going on with her and watched from afar.

This book asks the question "how far will you go in selfless acts to help someone you love?" and "are you willing to give up your own life to save that loved one?"    The story goes back and forth between Joe Sue's voice and Pockets' voice and between past and present.  At times I did have to reread a small portion when I wasn't paying attention.  It was a heart wrenching, tough story that presented a lot of moral implications in actions that were taken.  It definitely makes you think and there is a background thread of Christ sacrificing Himself for us woven into the story without it actually stating it outright but if you know, you know.  It's a story of deep friendship, of commitment even when one party no longer wants the relationship.  There is twists and turns that keep the story moving along.   Charles Martin is a favorite author and I rated this a 4/5 on Goodreads with their 5 star rating system but an 9/10 on my own.  What kept it from a 10 star read for me, was just the believability of some of the things that happened and a small, but still something that kept it from being that 10 star for me, was the odd names.  It took me a long time into the story to get used to all the odd names and that kept it from being enjoyable for me as I'd had to pause and think about who the character was again.  That's my own issue but it still detracted from the total enjoyment of the book for me.  But still a powerful story that, as is the norm for Charles Martin books, made it so I couldn't pick up another book for a few days as I pondered this one.

Rating 9/10


nikkipolani said...

Thanks for the review, Susanne. Odd or ambiguous names can make a story more difficult to follow. Sometimes it's easier in audiobook format (like all the Russian names in Gentleman in Moscow). I'll keep an eye out for this one.

Deb J. in Utah said...

Hi Susanne. This sounds like a good book. I will have to see if our library has it. I am trying to read through books I own as well. Thanks for this excellent review!

Faith said...

I just reviewed this too!! It's so funny but I enjoyed it except for the far fetched parts......It's a good theme but definitely my fave one by him continues to be When Crickets Cry. I'll have to check out the ones you said you read earlier.

I'm currently reading number 6 in the Miss Marple mystery series by Agatha Christie. My oldest challenged me to read all 12 by the end of the summer (I startedd last summer).

I'm also reading Savannah Guthrie's book (non fiction)

I JUST finished Fervent by Priscilla Shirer as my small group has now ended until Sept. I plan on finding Lysa Terkeurts's book about boundaries and goodbyes to preview as a possible choice for Sept group.

And i'm studying some Scriptures on Healing and Anxiety. On my TBR list is the 5th book in the Paul Doiron Maine series and another mystery which I can't remember the title of but they're on my nightstand.