THREE MURDER MYSTERIES under one umbrella. The first novel Deadline introduces the reader to the main characters, Jake Woods and Ollie Chandler as well as numerous supporting characters, especially Clarence Abernathy. Jake Woods and Clarence Abernathy didn’t start out as friends, but as work colleagues at the local newspaper, Jake being the editorial columnist and Clarence is the sports columnist.
YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY to witness the development of a friendship over the course of the three books. The connection to Ollie Chandler, the local homicide detective, is through Jake Woods who befriended him some years before. Each character plays a prominent role in the subsequent plots, with the other two playing important supporting roles, Jake Woods in Deadline, Clarence Abernathy in Dominion and Ollie Chandler in Deception.
THERE ARE SEVERAL obvious moral dilemmas interwoven throughout each book which test what each man is made of, his moral compass, the stereotypical depiction of heaven and hell, as well as the choices each man is faced with. For example, when people close to them die and all hope is gone how do they find the faith to trust again, lean on a power greater than themselves (a coming to Jesus moment). The decisions they choose to (or not to) make ultimately help define the person each man becomes. At some point all three ask themselves the question “Where is God in this situation?”
IN DEADLINE, Jake Woods is the survivor of a terrible, one car accident that claimed the lives of his two childhood best friends. He, along with Ollie Chandler, set out to uncover who is responsible for their murders. Along the way his own lack of faith is tested and he comes to accept that there is a power greater than his own understanding. “Second chances sometimes come on earth, but they are always limited in time and opportunity.”
IN DOMINION, Clarence Abernathy, grapples with the senseless killing of his younger sister in her home in front of her children. He begins to question his “Trust in the Lord.” He sets out to find the reason and the person responsible for her death. “Those who spend their lives trying to find themselves never do. But you have lost yourself in me. In doing so, you have found yourself.”
IN DECEPTION, Ollie Chandler, the local homicide detective, focuses on the trail of solving the murder of a university professor gets entangled in a mess of his own. This type of scandal helped define who Ollie Chandler is as a man, a detective, what are his principles and his beliefs. Det. Chandler is asked what he admires in people and he responds with a shrug. Jake Woods then says to him “Think about it. The virtues of good people inspire us. Would you ever have been able to see courage without danger? Or heroism without desperate situations? Compassion without suffering? Justice without injustice? Sacrifice without a need?”
ALTHOUGH RANDY ALCORN’S writing style is engagingly detailed, it takes a long time to finish reading each book (each one is well over 500 pages). This can become a distraction if you become focused on how many more pages you have left to read before the book ends. Mr. Alcorn also spent way too much time going off on mini tangents, for example, in Deadline he describes the gory details of an abortion being performed. TMI (too much information).
WITH THAT BEING SAID, if you should decide to read one or all of the books you will not be disappointed. Don’t take for granted the predictable Christian theme, but be present in the moment enough to experience the journey to the last page.
**If you would like to get a SNEAK PEEK and download the first chapter of the Ollie Chandler Collection, click this link http;//waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601424938 and scroll down to the NEWS & VIDEOS tab.
Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates THE OLLIE CHANDLER COLLECTION as LABORIOUSLY LENGTHY (500+ pgs.) . . . way too long. The author should have made it into three books . . . he did!
Disclaimer: This book was received for free from the WaterbrookMultnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.