Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Spiritual Truth Underscores New Detective Series

  • Kevin Lucia Infuze Magazine
  • 2007 11 Jan
Spiritual Truth Underscores New Detective Series

Title:  "Original Sin"
Author:  Brandt Dodson
Publisher:  Harvest House

"Original Sin," by Brandt Dodson, is a wonderfully gritty entry into the crime-mystery genre. Colton Parker – like Joe Box, mainstay detective created by John Laurence Robinson – is an excellent contemporary translation of the classic private investigator; he's portrayed in a realistic, believable fashion. Dodson's terminology and depiction of the detective life is spot on, and his ability to craft an intriguing, surprising mystery is top-notch.

After losing his job with the FBI and his wife to a tragic car accident all at once, Colton Parker is as far down as a man can drop. He's had to sell his nice house and car to finance his new P.I. business, he's lost respect, and his daughter Callie has retreated deep within, burdened with grief over her mother's death; weighed down by her belief that Colton is responsible. The fact that his wife Anna died in a fatal car accident after arguing with Colton over his dismissal from the FBI only rubs salt into the wound, as Colton truly wonders if indeed he did cause his wife's death.

However, he's got a new job – such as it is – and a new office right next to the Indianapolis Police Department – though the locale is not very pleasant – and he has bills to pay, a daughter to provide for. He can't wallow in self-pity or doubt; he needs to push ahead, scare up some cases, and rebuild the pieces of his shattered life.

Initially, his first case looks exactly as it is:  a simple murder case where either the defendant did it or didn't – and given a mile long rap sheet and a universally loved victim, it's more likely he did do it. After initially poking around the case, it appears to be what he initially thought:  open and shut, case closed.

However, as Colton digs a little deeper, a slight crack appears in the deceased's "good person that everyone loved" armor, and as he probes even further, the crack widens into an unbelievable chasm filled with deception, false lives, and hidden agendas. Suddenly, instead of an easy case, Colton finds himself holding onto the tail of an unexpected, roaring lion. He bumps heads with mobsters, challenges law enforcement authority, and takes the law into his hands in his dogged pursuit of the truth, and more importantly, justice ... but will that be enough?

Meanwhile, while Colton battles all too real, physical demons, his daughter Callie is slowly slipping away, succumbing to her internal ones. After a botched suicide attempt lands her in the hospital, Colton is forcibly confronted with the fact that there is something he can't give to his daughter, a peace that he can never hope to foster in her life through his own works. He's forced into a corner – does he continue to bull his way ahead, do it his own way – like he's always done – and risk losing Callie, who is all he has left, or does seek the help of a God that's distant, removed, and not at all interested in what a guy like him has to say?

"Original Sin" is the beginning of a slick, entertaining new detective series, underscored with matters of spiritual truth. Colton Parker's spiritual struggles are presented realistically; this is no sitcom where his and his daughter's problems are solved by the end of the book, in fact, they are left largely unresolved – with the hope that peace is around the corner – couched by the reality that it's a long road ahead. For some good, old fashioned pavement-pounding "gumshoe fiction" with a modern twist, pick up "Original Sin" today.

© 2006 Infuze Magazine
.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.