Wednesday, January 19, 2011

‘Fear No Evil’ by Robin Caroll – Book Review

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As noted in previous reviews, one of my favorite book genres is suspense. I had the opportunity to read another book in that genre by a really superior novelist – ‘Fear No Evil’ by the lovely Robin Caroll.

Here is the synopsis of this novel:

Lincoln Vailes is upside down and in over his head. After a haunting injury, this former Great Smoky Mountains park ranger becomes a police officer deep in Louisiana to be closer to his ailing father. The bayou town of Eternal Springs appears sleepy at first, but Vailes is soon dealing with hurricanes and an out-of-nowhere double homicide.
Eager social worker Jade Laurent has also been moved to Eternal Springs to try and right the wrongs of an abusive past. Her desire to help others doesn’t merit the sudden increase of guns being pointed in her direction and cars running her off the road.
Thrown together by circumstances far more dangerous than they could imagine, Lincoln and Jade must figure out what is behind these deadly deeds before a killer catches them in his crosshairs.

Here is the biography of this author:

Robin Caroll has authored nine previous books. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud Southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Little Rock, Arkansas.

And here is the book trailer for this intense read:

One of the main characters, Officer Lincoln Vailes, is struggling through some problems at the beginning of the book:

What he’d give for Brannon [his former co-worker/partner in Tennessee] to tease him right now. Or climb into the helicopter on a search and rescue. But she was back in Tennessee – moving on with a husband, a new partner, a new life.
Why couldn’t it be that easy for him? If only God hadn’t seen fit to allow his father, a man who’d served Him all his life, to be diagnosed with such a horrible disease… No, Lincoln wouldn’t go down that road. Not now. He turned his back on the window. (p. 2)

One of the earlier scenes between Jade and Lincoln includes Jade making an observation about his appearance:

Turning, she studied him. The rain had mussed his cropped black hair. He had to be close to six-foot tall, with broad shoulders. Despite being waterlogged, he looked like he’d stepped off the cover of GQ, beautiful and chiseled. But it was his eyes – dark in color but soft and gentle – that made her relax around him. (p. 19)

Lincoln is suffering a crisis of faith because of an earlier family loss and because of the condition of his father, who’d been a preacher all of his life:

He knew what Scripture said…had believed it, leaned on it being the truth for years. But now? God had turned His back on Lincoln’s prayers. For the umpteenth time in the past month, Lincoln glanced toward the heavens, a question on his lips. (p. 31)

One of the gang members depicted in the book is Eddie, whose time in prison was not wasted. Here is an encounter between him and the president of the Pantheras, one of the gangs depicted in the novel:

“The fighting will never end, you know.” Eddie sat in the living room across from Guerrero.
True. But Guerrero couldn’t stop the escalation, even if he wanted to. War between the Pantheras and their rival had escalated. Each gang searching out members of the others. Hunting. Tracking. Killing.
“I’m telling you all this because I know. Been there, done that.” Eddie stood and paced. “I lived by gang code all my life. Right up until I was sent to prison. That’s where Jesus found me. Gave me a new outlook. Assured me of eternal life.”
Guerrero studied the man in his house. Eddie had been a gang banger with the Bloods out in L.A., did a five-year stint in federal prison, then started going out and preaching. Didn’t make him popular. So many hits were out on him, but so far, he’d managed to dodge the bullet. The Pantheras would’ve already taken him out had Eddie not stepped in and saved Guerrero’s life two months ago. (pp. 43-44)

Lincoln’s mother was not angry at God, as his son was. She tries to get him to see their situation through her eyes:

“Dad dedicated his entire life to serving God. Why would God pay him back by letting this disease take him?”
“I don’t know, son.”
“And you can just accept it?”
She sighed. “I do. Whether I like it or not isn’t going to change anything. No more than families who are devastated by tornadoes or hurricanes.” She touched his arm again. “Nowhere in Scripture does it tell us that being a Christian is easy or living on this earth will be good. This is not our home, Lincoln. Heaven…eternity with God – that’s our home.”
He glanced toward the sky. Stars twinkled down on him, something he hadn’t seen in several days. Was there a message in that?
“You know all this, Lincoln.” The yearning for him to release filled her sweet face. A smile came, crooked and wavering. “You’re just being as stubborn as your father. Face it, honey, the world doesn’t make sense because sin infiltrated the earth. If you keep trying to figure it out logically, you’ll go crazy.” (p. 218)

I read the first book which featured the character of Lincoln Vailes, ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (you can read my review here). I have to admit that I liked that book better than this book. This book focuses on both the story of Lincoln and Jade, and gang members and their lifestyle and life choices. To be honest, I really would have enjoyed the book more if the gang element had been downplayed a bit.

Despite that, I love how Robin includes Scripture verses throughout the book, and the Good News of Jesus is elaborated upon by many of the characters. I do like her writing, and will be reading more of her work in the future.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by B&H Publishing Group, and provided by them for review purposes.

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