Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ollie Chandler Collection by Randy Alcorn Book Review

Deadline, by Randy Alcorn
I have never read a book quite like this one.  I chose to review the book because it would include a mystery to solve, and I have always loved mysteries.  The book starts out with a Sunday afternoon football game being watched by three best friends:  Doc, Finney, and Jake.  Before the afternoon was over, all three were in the hospital, two of them in critical condition.  Only one of them was ready to meet God, but two of them died.  The story is about the survivor trying to figure out why his friends died, and who did it.  Finney, who went to heaven when he died, continued to exert influence on his friend, Jake, through the memories of his life choices and a letter he had written Jake.  The author spent a lot of time telling what Finney was experiencing in heaven, and a chapter of the awfulness of hell which Doc experienced.  I found the heaven scenes very interesting, as I had never spent much time thinking about details of what heaven could be like. 
Jake is a newspaper opinion columnist who changes his mind about nearly everything he believes the longer he investigates his friends’ deaths.  The changes that come in his life are heartwarming.  Many people are incensed when his columns change to reflect his new understanding and he is no longer politically correct.  He is also in danger of being killed from ruthless people, so the book is very scary in places. 
Alcorn deals with issues confronting our society today, such as abortion, sexual perversions, educational controversies, medical ethics, and political correctness.  It is not a book I would allow my young children to read, but I think an important book for adults to read.
Dominion, by Randy Alcorn
This is the second book in this three volume book of detective stories.  Ollie Chandler, who is the detective in all three books, is more prominent in this book than in the first.  Jake and his family’s story continues, but is not the main thing.  Jake’s friend at the newspaper, a big black man named Clarence, is the primary character.  Clarence was raised in a Christian home, but he doubts God’s power, love, and justice when his sister and niece are killed in a drive by shooting.  Ollie allows Clarence to work with him to solve the crime.  Along the way, Clarence has many issues to deal with: racism (in himself and others), anger, unresolved guilt, wrong beliefs about God, danger, and his orphaned nephew’s involvement in a gang. 
The reader has the wonderful privilege of peeking into heaven and seeing what Dani, Clarence’s sister, is experiencing and learning there.  There also is a peek into hell after the gang leader commits suicide by playing Russian roulette.  After reading these books, I am more determined than ever to live for Jesus and make it to heaven!  I also am much more aware of racial issues, gang and drug cultures, and the effect of the breakdown of homes and absence of fathers in our nation today.
Reading about Clarence’s nephew’s induction into the gang reminded me of Alcorn’s Courageous book and the movie by the same title.  Alcorn has done his homework to deal with the many issues in this book.  Because of characters who were led astray by false religious teachings, the reader can be warned against error.  I think it is an excellent book for opening the eyes of those who have not understood the reasons for what is going on in the black culture.  Alcorn is a master at intricate plots and surprise ending twists.

Deception, by Randy Alcorn
Detective Ollie Chandler is the main character in this book.  Clarence and Jake are both involved, too, helping Ollie investigate murders, and trying desperately to lead him to faith in Christ before the murderer kills him!  I kept consoling myself, “This book is written in first person, by Ollie himself, so he must get out alive!”  The evidence points to someone in the detective pool as having done the murder.  Some of the evidence even points to Ollie, and he can’t convince himself he is innocent, since he blacks out from drinking too much since the loss of his wife, Sharon.  In this book, the reader gets to know Ollie very well.  Ollie has many intellectual roadblocks to believing in God, for example:  If God is a God of justice, why do people get by with murder?  If God is all-powerful, why do good people get cancer and die?
Things are not as they appear.  Follow where the evidence leads.  There is no justice; there is just us.  These are the mantras by which Ollie lives.  But he is unwilling to follow the evidence for Christ because he doesn’t want to know those answers.
This book gave me “whiplash” several times.  When I thought I had something figured out, I didn’t.  It is a mystery until the end.  
This is a great set of mysteries.  I enjoyed reading them.  Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers and Edelweiss provided me with a complimentary e-copy of this book for review purposes.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment:

Faith F. said...

I found your book review and said "Ah! a Reader who understands how GOOD these books are!" I am a blogger and book reviewer too... and we just reviewed these books. They are so good. They left me shocked and with a burden for evangelism. The characters were so real...and I wanted them to come to the Cross. The big themes in these books were what made them worth reading... they weren't just mysteries... they were pictures of life and its need for redemption.
Blessings, a fellow reviewer,