According to Their Deeds, A Must-Read!
May 8, 2009
This week, the
Bethany House (March 1, 2009)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and the author of The Heir. He is also a former Christian bookstore owner (for 15 years), who lives with his family in Blacksburg, Virginia.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Charles Beale lives outside the shadow of Washington, D.C. Politics and power matter only when a client crosses the Potomac to visit his Alexandria Rare Books shop.
But that all changes when a former client–a man deeply connected in the Justice Department–is found murdered after a break-in gone bad. When Charles reclaims at auction the books he’d once sold, he quickly discovers he’s bought more trouble than he could have ever imagined.
Inside one volume are secrets. A collection of sins that, if revealed, could destroy reputations, careers–even lives. Charles soon learns he isn’t the only who knows. Going to the police means ruining a multitude of lives. But staying silent puts a target on his shop, his wife–and himself. Charles must decide: Should one mistake really cost you everything?
Sally Says: When I read the back cover copy on this book, I wasn’t completely sure I wanted to read it. It sounded like it was a political novel — which I’m not fond of – but the idea of secrets in rare books (and did I mention secrets?) intrigued me. So I thought I’d give a new author a try.
Paul Robertson is now on my automatic read list.
First, this isn’t a political novel, even though some of the characters are politicians. Charles Beale runs a rare book bookstore, and he stumbles upon secret papers when he buys back rare books he sold a client who’s been murdered in what seems to be a home break-in. Charles is a really well done character with a wonderful dry sense of humor. Each time he leaves the store, he asks one of his employees if they’ve sold anything. She tells him the latest book they’ve sold, and the rest of the scene, sometimes the day, plays off that book.
My favorite example was when they sold the Tom Swift books.
“Have we sold anything?” he asked Alice.
“The whole set of Tom Swift books.”
Two feet of shelf was empty. “What a large space,” he said hollowly.
“It is,” she said, broadly.
“Have Morgan order a new set,” he said, commandingly.
“I did it right away,” she said, quickly.”
Gotta love writing humor.
According to Their Deeds is a unique book because while it is described as a murder mystery/suspense, it’s a light-hearted and fun murder mystery/suspense. I think this book will have a broad audience — fans of mysteries, suspense, general fiction, humor — and especially readers who love the English language and appreciate the beauty of thoughtful, well-written prose.
This book shouldn’t be limited to readers of Christian fiction. While Charles and his lovely wife are Christians, the story doesn’t have a strong spiritual message. It’s just a really, really good read. It’s a book you can recommend to anyone, regardless of whether they read secular or Christian fiction.
There’s some good techniques in this book for writers to study too. Robertson uses a more distant POV with Charles, but it works really well because the plot is so good and there’s always something happening. Also, he knows how to not give back story in order to intrigue the reader. Charles and his wife are dealing with a past tragedy throughout the book, and we don’t know the details of that until much later in the book. But we’re never lost or confused.
So there it is, my first must-read of 2009. I can’t wait to get my hands on Robertson’s first two books.