Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Alcorn Crafts a Strong Detective Mystery in "Deception"

  • 2007 12 Apr
Alcorn Crafts a Strong Detective Mystery in "Deception"

Author:  Randy Alcorn
Title:  "Deception"
Publisher:  Multnomah

In a truly stunning addition to his previous novels "Deadline" and "Dominion," Randy Alcorn continues his saga of crime, violence, and justice in Portland with his recent mystery "Deception." After writing about journalists Jake Woods and Clarence Abernathy in the aforementioned novels, this time finds Alcorn focusing on detective Oliver Justice Chandler, with the Daily Tribune's columnists playing strong supporting character roles in this twisting, turning whodunit.

In Ollie Chandler, Alcorn has nailed the hard-bitten, cynical gumshoe perfectly, joining fellow detectives Joe Box ("Until the Last Dog Dies", "How to Skin a Cat", "When Skylarks Fall by John Laurence Robinson) and Colton Parker ("Original Sin", "Seventy-Times Seven", "Root of All Evil" by Brandt Dodson) in a new wave of detectives who aren't perfect, have problems with their temper, question their faith, and like their firearms, but are also on spiritual quests to find a sense of being. Chandler is immediately likeable as the sarcastic, witty, clever and oftentimes bull-headed detective, and Alcorn does a wonderful job teetering him between a hurting soul that's searching for peace and a man who's seen far too many horrible things to accept faith too quickly.

Chandler's moral and spiritual dilemmas are real and authentic, and Alcorn pulls a daring move more and more CBA authors are willing to risk these days:  though convinced of his need to "follow the evidence, no matter where it leads" when it comes to investigating the claims of Christianity, Ollie remains unsaved at the end, leaving the reader itching for more of the lovable yet sometimes irritating detective, just to see where he ends up.

As a mystery, "Deception" is top-notch, ending miles away from its starting point, and this is one of those delightful mysteries that flips and flops every time you figure you've gotten the suspect pegged and the crime solved. Alcorn parades a host of likely suspects throughout the novel, and the reader will literally be turning every single page until the end to get to the bottom of this engrossing and absorbing mystery.

The feel of the novel is just right too, right down to the "shady informant standing under a lone streetlight on a darkly lit street" vibes of classic crime and detective novels - only without the collateral smut you'd risk exposing yourself to in some secular mysteries. You're never far from spiritual truth in "Deception," but Alcorn is able to weave these truths into the narrative without making it feel like a sermon or Sunday School lesson.

For a clean, engaging, yet honest look into a world of crime, betrayal, hurt - and forgiveness and redemption, add "Deception" to your mystery collection today.


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.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.