The Invisible Cipher (A Neil Gatlin Thriller Book 1)

the-invisible-cipher
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Title: The Invisible Cipher
Author: Ida Smith
Series: Neil Gatlin
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publishing Date: November 12, 2016

About the Book:
IN A WORLD WHERE SECRETS HIDE IN CODES, A TERRIBLE FATE RESTS IN THE QUIET ECHOES OF THE NIGHT

After an impromptu assault sends him on the run, Neil Gatlin finds himself stranded in a small Illinois farm town where he learns to trustno one and fear all. With no friends and little money in his pockets, Neil is desperate to return to Indiana and his pregnant girlfriend, Sunshine. Worried for her safety, Neil’s journey home hits a roadblock when he is framed for murder. With little possibility of rescue and everyone in town believing him guilty, he’s reliant on one unlikely ally. As clues start to reveal the truth behind his unimaginable fate, he overhears schemes threatening to pull him into greater trouble. The only one with the skills to uncover a deadly plan by hardened criminals, Neil must take matters into his own hands and secretly decipher the messages. But as Neil comes closer to the truth he must choose between doing the right thing and risking all he loves. Will Neil unlock the truth and return to Sunshine? Or will he be pulled into the evil plans of others, a creature of the dark, without Sunshine forever? One thing is for sure, Neil will never be the same.

“Numerous twists made The Invisible Cipher an even more interesting and suspenseful story. The situation that Neil found himself in could happen to anyone, giving the story a realistic feel.”
—Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite

My Review:
The Invisible Cipher is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller that will hold you captive until you’ve read cover to cover. Coming in at just under 100 pages it’s a short read but with plenty activity to fill the pages. I admit that I am not generally a fan of novellas because I like a good, thick book, but I genuinely enjoyed this one. The plot drew me in and I was quickly trapped into the drama of the story.

My only complaint with this story is a small one, (and easily remedied), but I wasn’t sure about the time the story was taking place in until about halfway through the book. I knew the character’s truck was from the 1950’s, but he was also having difficulties with it to show it wasn’t new. Also, some of the money discussions didn’t reflect numbers that I would have expected in today’s times. About halfway through the book it all made more sense when a date in 1964 was given. It would have been helpful to know that from the beginning so I could place myself in the right setting.

What I really liked about this story was that I honestly didn’t know where it was going to go next. The review quoted on the cover really is accurate when it says it “could happen to anyone.” During the trial I could feel myself getting physically angry with the questioning and was frustrated that the truth wasn’t being heard. You ever watch a show or movie, and you know the person is innocent but they say all the wrong things? Well, this was a case when the person was actually saying the right things and still was ignored. It caused me to sympathize with him even more, and hope that he was protected from more harm.

While this story is listed as Christian Fiction, I wouldn’t consider the faith element to be very strong. It’s present in dire moments of pleaing for God’s help, and Neil and his girlfriend receive some unexpected help from a man you can tell is a Christian (and gives Neil a Bible), but it’s not a very strong force in the book either. Considering how the book ends,  I’m curious to see where Ida will take the faith element going forward into the second book. Ida stated to me directly that she’s a ” Christian fiction writer striving to write books that will draw non-believers into a relationship with Jesus and encourage believers in their walk.” I hope this is able to be the case for people.

I really enjoyed this story, and I’m curious to see where the second book in the series goes. It’s right beside me about to be read next, so check back soon for my review on that one as well! Happy reading! 🙂

*I received a free copy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Age Appropriateness/Content Warnings:
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain mild spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story.

The beginning of this book contains drinking of alcohol and gambling over a game of pool in a bar. There are some descriptions of a murder scene. While in jail there is a brawl that results in multiple injuries and a few attempts at murder. It’s not incredibly graphic, but I’d definitely consider it more than PG. I would recommend this to older teens and up.

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