Noted author and journalist Lee Strobel makes his fiction debut with The Ambition. The lives of investigative journalist Garry Strider and pastor-turned-politician Eric Snow collide when a plot involving judicial corruption and the Chicago Mafia begins to unfold. Only together can they discover the full truth and find justice.
The Ambition is written in the third person from the views of an ensemble cast. Eric Snow is the senior pastor of a megachurch in downtown Chicago. However, he steps down as a pastor to pursue his political aims of becoming a senator. He doubts that he can still influence people for God’s glory outside of political office. Garry Strider is a journalist for the Chicago Examiner, chasing after stories in pursuit of that ever-elusive Pulitzer Prize. He is skeptical that miracles and God Himself even exist. Tom O’Sullivan is a gambling addict, looking for a way to escape the trouble he has gotten himself into with the Mafia.
The most memorable part in the story is the characterization Strobel gives of Eric Snow at the beginning of chapter 4. There, readers can see Strobel’s journalistic flair come to light, giving a look at his unique writing style as the role of a pastor and the ambition of a politician are at odds.
Eric Snow wants to move from being a pastor in Chicago to becoming a politician in Washington. Garry Strider wants to find a story worthy of keeping his job at the Examiner. When Strider’s girlfriend begins to attend Snow’s megachurch, Strider begins to investigate, hoping to uncover something newsworthy enough to earn the Pulitzer. Unbeknownst to Snow and Strider are Tom O’Sullivan’s interests. After becoming indebted to a mob boss, Tom is forced to be a courier between the Mafia and a crooked judge. After this, Tom seeks counseling and help from Snow’s church in order to deal with his gambling addiction. But this is only the beginning as God uses these three men to unravel a tangled web of deceit and manipulation while bringing justice to the wicked.
Snow is ambitious, as the title suggests. However, his ambition slowly begins to alienate the people he loves most. Eventually, he starts to wonder if his ambition is worth the personal price he is starting to pay. Strider is a skeptic in pursuit of a good story; however, in trying to uncover something scandalous in Snow’s church, his unwitting girlfriend discovers she is a pawn in his plan and turns on him. Snow and Strider’s relationship is filled with suspicion, until they are forced to work together after Strider’s girlfriend is almost murdered and a parishioner in Snow’s church dies mysteriously. Tom O’Sullivan never meets Snow or Strider, but his guilty conscience and confession inadvertently help them start to bring justice to a corrupt city official.
The Ambition was extremely well written. Strobel’s journalistic style gives the book a fast-paced momentum, and his knowledge of the inner workings of both the newsroom and the offices of a mega-church lend credence to the plot. I enjoyed his characterization, finding the people he portrayed very realistic and believable. The end of the book made me think of Psalm 37: 14-17, which discusses the fall of the wicked. I would highly recommend the book to those who like political thrillers. – Nathan Sturgis, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
A corrupt judge in a mob murder case. A disillusioned pastor, hungry for power. A cynical reporter, sniffing for a scandal. A gambling addict whose secret tape threatens the lives of everyone who hears it.
New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel weaves these edgy characters into an intricate thriller set in a gleaming, suburban megachurch, a big-city newspaper struggling for survival, and the shadowy corridors of political intrigue. The unexpected climax is as gripping as the contract killing that punctuates the opening scene.