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Book Review

The Love Killer by Josh McDowell and bob Hostetler has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It in "The Poerlink Chronicles" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

This novel contains a plot about the lives of teens at Eisenhower High School, a subplot about demons trying to persuade teens to stop praying and a commentary on teen issues from the authors. In the main plot, Brad meets Krystal, a young woman with a worldly past who is now a Christian and part of a strong youth group called the Liberation Commandos. Brad and Krystal have feelings for each other and Brad tries to convince Krystal that safe sex is good if two people are in love. She challenges Brad to a debate on condoms. Her youth group helps her prepare for the debate. Meanwhile Krystal's seemingly perfect sister, Kathy, breaks her engagement and overdoses on drugs when unable to cope with her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Brad discovers he's HIV positive. He hears the message of salvation and considers becoming a Christian.

Christian Beliefs

The Liberation Commandos is a Christian group that plans events when they share the Gospel message. Throughout, the group gathers to pray and remains serious about their commitment to God. The youth pastor presents clear messages about topics of sex and love. Co-author Josh McDowell uses Scripture and offers commentary that expands on the youth pastor's talks.

Other Belief Systems

Brad uses humanistic arguments to explain that sex is OK for consenting couples and that people can choose to change partners as they make new choices about whom to love.

Authority Roles

Krystal is not living at home and does not view her parents as having authority over her. She left home when her father's drug habit made it difficult for her to stay away from drugs. She moved in with a friend and her friend's mom. During middle school years, Krystal had rebelled against her parents' curfews and demands that she not date. She tried to honor her mother and visited her when she knew her dad was away. Krystal respects her youth group leaders and her teacher Mr. Detweiler. The youth director uses Scripture to share wisdom as he counsels the teens. Mr. Detweiler remains neutral and gives advice on how to conduct a debate.




In the past, Krystal ran away from home to be with her boyfriend Jimmy. She eventually returned home but continued to have sex with other boys and sold drugs that she stole from her father. Jimmy later died of AIDS, while Krystal tested negative for HIV. Once Krystal became a Christian, she changed her life, chose to be sexually pure and stopped dealing drugs.

Krystal meets Brad, and they discuss their physical desires. And after Krystal's sister, Kathy, overdoses on pills, Kathy reveals that she is pregnant in spite of using protection. The debate over condoms includes statistics and facts about sexually transmitted infections, AIDS, pregnancies and condom failure rates. Brad argues that mature teens should be free to engage in sex, and that since some teens are already choosing to be sexually active, they should use what protection is available.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

15 and up


Josh McDowell, Bob Hostetler






Record Label



Word Publishing Group, Thomas Nelson Publishers


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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