My husband and I love to watch NCIS each week. There's humor mixed in with a mystery and usually the solving of a murder. It doesn't feel especially dark to me the way many crime shows on TV do. Still, I don't think it would be good if crime shows were the only thing I watched. Watching so much about the darkness of the worst of man would be depressing and unhealthy for me.
I feel the same way about the book I just read. It was very good. Surprisingly good, actually. But, if I only read books of this type all the time, I think my demeanor and thoughts would struggle to stay hopeful and positive.
The book I just finished reading is a new book called Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason. Though the author doesn't work in the field that her book is about, she did do a lot of research according to her acknowledgements and have it proofread and edited by several cops and FBI agents. I always look at the acknowledgements first, because I want to know if an author did her homework and what kind of homework she did to understand the lives she has given the characters in her book. There is one disclaimer that I want to mention before you read the rest of this review. If you read this book, please don't read the Epilogue. I wish I had read it before reading the second book in this series (this one is the first book), rather than right now. It just gave me the creeps without any resolution. After writing this review, I actually tore it out.
This book is a Romantic Suspense/Crime Thriller. The main characters are Connor, a detective who has a teenage daughter, and Samantha, an FBI agent on loan to his unit to help with the case Connor is working on. The story centers on solving the case of several missing teen girls who have been turning up dead in their community.
So here are my thoughts...
So here are my thoughts...
The Story: Very Good. Like a good episode of a crime drama, but not one that is too gory. The plot is engaging and has twists and turns. I suspected how it was going to end, but not until late in the book.
The Writing: It's a romantic suspense/crime thriller. Honestly, I didn't expect it to be written so well. It was quite interesting and good. I've never read Dee Henderson's books, but I know a lot of people enjoy her books--if they're like this book, I can understand why.
The Romance: Several friends have asked me what I think of romance novels. I don't think they're the best thing to read, because they portray romance as the central part of life--rather than as a part of life, which I believe it is. I prefer contemporary fiction for this reason. In this book, there is the potential for romance in this story, but it is not the main plot of this story by any means.
Strengths: One thing I realized after reading this book is that the author does a good job of pointing out the hope that is in death when someone knows the Lord. I think that is part of what kept this book from being overwhelming to me.
Other thoughts: Because this is a crime thriller/suspense novel, I find myself again not wanting to say too much about the plot because it will ruin the story for you if you read it. The fun of reading mysteries is finding out what happens for yourself and if someone tells you the end or key details before you get there--it ruins it!
In Conclusion: It was a good read. My week's been really busy so I had to put off finishing it for several days. I just wanted to find out what happened!
If you like NCIS, Dee Henderson's books and other books from this genre, I recommend it. If you don't normally read this kind of book, I do recommend picking it up from the library. I genuinely enjoyed it.
One last thing I wanted to talk about...
This book really made me reflect on what I think about this genre of book. It was okay for me to read it and I wasn't overwhelmed by sadness at the darkness of the crimes in this book--which is a whole discussion in and of itself. But, it was the Epilogue that I would simply recommend not reading. It isn't really related to this story and it introduces crime and the depravity of man without any resolution--it would be like watching a news clip on the evening news about a horrible crime committed you're left with a horrible, heavy pit in your stomach afterwards. But, that's me. I need or rather prefer books to be wrapped up at the end. I hated Message in a Bottle where the main character dies at the end. There's a movie currently in the movie theaters that's similar and I'm so thankful to know because I won't watch it. It kind of just gives you that yucky feeling at the end. In real life, when someone dies and they know the Lord, you know they're going to heaven. There is hope even in death. When reading books or watching shows of this genre, I was struck by how important it is to balance what's coming into our heads--balancing the bad with the good. We need to make sure we're in the Word and thinking about hopeful things--the things of the Lord and not dwelling on the yuckiness of the world constantly. I find that when I dwell too much on the yuckiness then I struggle to keep my eyes on the Lord and the hope to which he has called me--I miss out on His beauty and His creation.
It reminds me of something Jerry Bridges talked about in the last book I read by him--that when we preach the Gospel to ourselves, we need to acknowledge our sin and the horribleness of it while remembering and reminding ourselves of God's grace at the very same time. If we don't, we'll get lost and mired down in our sin and miss God's grace.
Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review by Revell Books.