Secrets…some secrets can end a friendship, some secrets can begin a friendship and some secrets can have deadly consequences. In Deadline, the first novel in the Ollie Chandler three book murder mystery series by Randy Alcorn, the lives of three best friends are forever changed by such secrets.
Three boys who grew up together, experienced puberty, as well as the ravages of the Vietnam war together….men who shared everything together…or so they thought! Jake Woods, journalist for the Oregon Tribune newspaper; Dr. Greg “Doc” Lowell, chief of surgery at the local hospital; and Finnegan “Finney” Keels, owner of a very successful computer software business.
Chronologically they were older, but times like this on a football-watching Sunday afternoon the three friends would pile into a SUV (sports utility vehicle) for their usual pizza and beer run. This “was a grown up version of the all-male friendship [they’d] enjoyed since childhood. The childhood variety was replete with bold dares and great adventures and less exciting times, tossing rocks in the creek and sitting around the tree house making references to bodily secretions, excretions, odors, and sound effects.”
Within an instant their lives would change forever and untold secrets exposed. After waking up in the hospital only one of the friends would survive the one car accident. The “survivor” vows to find who killed his friends and more importantly, why they were targeted. The “survivor” teams up with a quick-witted, local homicide detective he had befriended many years ago, and together they partner to solve the murder mystery.
During the investigation the “survivor” wonders why he alone survived? “To the questions that ultimately mattered, he had no answers.” But he knew one thing for sure, he was going to find the answers whether he liked them or not, “risking everything to get revenge or enact justice.” His faith was tested (although he had long stopped believing in God) and at a time like this he wished he was more like his late friends – definitive in their beliefs. “One was an atheist and humanist; while the other was a devout Christian, they both had the sense of power, peace, resolve and discipline he would need to persevere.” What he wanted was somebody else to take the lead, but he was all that was left and if the tables were turned they would do the same for him. “He knew all about loyalty. In Nam you had to trust guys with your life.”
THOUGHTS for your SOUL:
- “They bring what they have learned, and what they have learned is determined by the choices they have made, by how they have invested their time, how they have lived.”
- “We are defined by the choices we make.”
- “Rule number one in an investigation. Don’t blind yourself to other possibilities just because your first assumption is more likely.”
Deadline has all the elements of a good murder mystery – suspense, trafficking human body parts, the FBI, the Mob, dirty doctors, stolen guns, forgiveness, just to name a few. For the “survivor” it’s all about self-examination, self-realization and self-acceptance. “Second chances sometimes come on earth, but they are always limited in time and opportunity.” For the surviving family members of the deceased men the acceptance and belief that “Death is life’s defining moment. It is the point where the final touch is put on each person’s life portrait. The masterpiece is signed and the paint dries, never to be changed again. It is finished.” Knowing this gives them the strength needed to move on.
Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates Deadline as LABORIOUSLY LENGTHY (500+ pages). That being said, worth reading.
Disclaimer: This book was received for free from the WaterbrookMultnomah Publishing Group for this review.