An Open Heart by Harry Kraus

Leah Courtney
I have had the opportunity to read a few of Harry Kraus's medical thrillers before, but I think this may be my favorite one yet.

Jace Rawlings is a successful heart surgeon in the US but grew up in Africa where his father was a medical missionary.  The faith of his parents never "took" with Jace, and he has resisted a relationship with God after the tragic death of his twin sister. Jace returns to Africa to operate a heart program for the poor. But no one- including Jace- is sure whether he is running from a secret affair at home or seeking to atone his guilt over his sister's death. Jace's return to Africa is overshadowed by political corruption and the struggle of good and evil in the supernatural world.

I was drawn into this story immediately. Besides the fact that it started off quickly with plenty of action, the setting was familiar to me. I have a good friend that grew up in Africa at Rift Valley Academy- the very Academy where Jace and his twin sister grew up!  It was so very interesting to read a fictional book set in this place I knew of!

The story starts off with action and intrigue. Jace and his wife Heather are interesting characters that I was instantly drawn to. There is a mystery from the beginning of the story because Jace has memory loss, and we are unsure about his motives for heading to Africa.

The information about African culture and the field of medicine there provides a compelling setting for the story. I'm a fan of medical fiction, so I especially liked this theme. There is also a supernatural component to the story that adds mystery and intrigue.

My only complaint about the story is that is seemed to end rather abruptly. I liked the ending, but things had moved slower up until the very end, and all of sudden things seemed to be resolved very abruptly.

I still can give this one a 5 star rating and a PG 13 for content (because of the supernatural component).

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
An Open Heart
David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
Harry Kraus


A Word from Harry:

I started writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife's urging: "Now doesn't seem the right time for this dream."

My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I'd written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn't until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the "rules" without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I'd have made faster progress if I'd have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.

I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you'll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels.


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 maeltsrom 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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Open Heart, go HERE.

Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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