Christian Book Previews Home
Christian Book Previews
Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
Aug 2007
Multnomah Fiction

Playing with Fire

by Melody Carlson

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Life seems to be slowly coming together for seventeen-year-old Samantha McGregor in Melody Carlson’s novel, Playing with Fire. This exciting new story from Carlson’s series The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor will continuously keep readers in suspense as they explore the seemingly quiet city of Brighton, Washington.

Samantha McGregor has an amazing gift from God: she often has prophetic visions. Dreams visit her, serving as a warning for something that could happen to someone she knows. With her brother Zach coming home from a ninety-day rehab for a meth addiction, she figures everything will be fine. Unfortunately for her, things do not go smoothly once her brother returns. Samantha also begins to receive certain visions of drug-related dangers. Soon, life seems to unravel for Samantha as she begins losing trust in her brother, and she starts hearing about people using drugs around her very own school. How can she know whom to trust?

From the first chapter, readers will find themselves captivated by this enthralling novel. The story is very well written and seems to go by quickly once you are drawn into the core of the plot. The main character, Samantha, is clearly a devout Christian. This is portrayed by the way she treats her friends and even those people she doesn’t know all that well. It is easy to see that she loves most everyone around her, just as God does. An unforgettable scene in this book is when Samantha has a vision of a cabin caught on fire and someone, whom she believes to be her brother, shot and killed. It will keep readers wondering until the end about what truly happened.

Samantha “Sam” McGregor is a teenage girl living her life for God. When all the drug-related confusion begins occurring, she needs to rely on Him for guidance. As her family seemingly falls apart, she tries her best to keep it connected even as her brother and mom continuously get into fights. On top of everything, Samantha helps the local police as a member of their new drug task force, trying to find leads on who is manufacturing and selling drugs to the people of Brighton. She continuously dreams about drug-related danger and turns to Ebony Hamilton, her friend working in the police department, telling her about it. It is clear that Sam has her life set straight for the Lord, and she also has a best friend, Olivia, who also encourages her spiritually. For the most part, Sam is in a city full of non-believers, but she doesn’t let this stop her from telling folks about the amazing God she serves.

In the end, Samantha must confront her fears of her brother being involved in the trafficking of drugs and possibly the death of a man. Once you finish reading Playing with Fire, you will be amazed at the outcome of the story and how the mystery is finally resolved. My only negative comment on this novel would be how the author seems to overuse the word “Okay” in her dialog. Overall, this novel is easy to immerse yourself into, whether you are a boy or girl. I would honestly recommend Playing with Fire to any Christian teenager who likes a great suspenseful story with a bit of a mystery added to it. – Michael Moore, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

If your vision led you straight into the fire, would you follow it anyway?

Samantha’s brother, Zach, is finally home after a ninety-day rehab for his meth addiction, and life seems to be getting back to normal. That is, until Sam starts having dreams about dangerous situations involving drugs. But her visions are so vague that she doesn’t know who needs help. Of course she’s worried about Zach staying clean, especially since he’s hanging with the wrong crowd. But the whole school seems to be buzzing about drugs, and Sam doesn’t know who’s using and who’s not. What is wrong with these people anyway?

Then Sam has a vision of a burning cabin, and this time someone has been shot. Convinced that Zach is involved somehow, Sam chooses to leave Detective Ebony Hamilton out of the loop. If Zach really is involved, this will land him in jail for sure! But her own investigation is getting too hot to handle, and Sam must decide whether to risk getting Zach in trouble with the law– or ultimately risk his life.