by Timothy McDougall
Plot Summary:Noel Anderson, war veteran, builder and Chicago businessman, has his life ripped apart when his family is brutally murdered. The three “suspects” are eventually “sentenced” for their crime prompting Noel to set out on a religious crusade of forgiveness where he appears on nationally syndicated TV programs, even going so far as to ritually wash the feet of one of the killers for a #1 rated talk show.
Noel finds many thirsting for his mesmerizing message of absolution. He fast becomes a media darling and discovers love again in the form of Jeannie who, like himself, is one of society’s walking wounded. Ultimately, though, it is a pair of Chicago detectives who begin to question the motives for Noel’s merciful proclamations when, one by one, the killers mysteriously meet with their own violent ends and Noel becomes the prime suspect.
Expectations:A mystery with a main character who possibly becomes a vigilante. Who could blame him? Or rather would I come to blame him by the end of the story?
Review:This was a very intriguing story. There was a lot of information - you could tell the author did a lot of research and had all of his characters clear in his mind. The first half of the book details the life and death of Noel's wife and daughter and the subsequent trial for the suspects. The trial is very detailed (perhaps a little laboriously) and the book overall is pretty cynical about the effectiveness of the law. This book certainly doesn't make one a fan of lawyers! Noel's character motivations is kept murky after the trial, as the men who were responsible for the death of his family eventually meet mysterious deaths. The second half of the book is much more interesting, because Noel becomes such a puzzle, and I wondered where the story was going. Although there were certain things I was pretty sure would happen. Certain people would die for instance!
I felt the resolution of the main conflict was a little ambiguous though - that is, I wasn't sure who actually did what and why. And the author sometimes gives out specific information about different characters at odd moments, and it made the story seem somewhat disjointed, but it has a strong overall plot, and well-fleshed out characters. The ending is not at all predictable and very suspenseful. A very good read for fans of crime thrillers!
review copy kindly provided by the author