Sunday, March 1, 2009
DANIEL'S DEN by Brandt Dodson; Standing Before the Lions in New Orleans
(First, my apologies to Brandt Dodson and Harvest House Publishers. Due to "technical difficulties" review is sadly belated. It looks like the blog and I are on friendly terms again today, though)
New Orleans post-Katrina. Daniel Borden is an anomaly: a truly honest accountant, square deal and Boy Scout ethics who has built a reputation as a straight arrow. His best friend is his Labrador that he rescues from a shelter, and the two of them are happy in their ritualistic schedule. No surprises, just a secure and ordered life heading for success in the accounting world. Daniel has no idea that the rug is about to be pulled out from under him and the ceiling come crashing down. And all because he audited the files of his coworker that died suddenly and suspiciously. Suspicions don't end with the death, as Daniel finds out when he opens the files.
Half a continent away in Virginia, Laura is another honest person struggling to get by, taking care of her son and trying to make a go of the bed and breakfast that was the dream for her and her husband before he died. When a strange man appears, grabs her son and tries to force Laura into selling her property, she knows something is very wrong. The reader knows there must be some connection between this overly zealous real estate agent and the events in New Orleans. As it turns out, the connection is deep and devious, involving people that neither Laura nor Daniel would have wanted in their lives were it possible to change the situation. It turns out to be a life or death situation for both of them and Laura's son before long.
Daniel's Den is a murder mystery taken right out of today's society, including identity theft, technological tracking and listening devices, and computer hacking. Unscrupulous characters backed by seemingly unlimited wealth and power; how can anyone stand up to them or survive if standing in their way?
Laura and Daniel are like many people today who want to make it on their own. They think that if they work hard enough at it, they can make things right. Neither one of them considers including God in their plans, but they are up against forces beyond their abilities to control or conquer on their own.
For those who enjoy mysteries, in particular murder mysteries, Daniel's Den is a sure bet. We know who the bad guys are early on, or at least some of them, but there is still a lot to unravel before the whole scheme is revealed. The use of modern technology smacks of real possibilities, although I don't know enough about it personally to know whether some of it exists only in Mr. Dodson's head. The whole story is completely believable. To me, that's what makes it scary. It's also part of what makes it a great story.
Of course there is some violence in the story; after all, it deals with cold-blooded murderers who don't think twice about eliminating anyone who is in the way or has witnessed too much. Yet there is no gratuitous or overly graphic violence. Some of the bad guys are rather two-dimensional, but the main ones are fairly well developed. While there is a bit of romance, it is an undertone with no sexual actions at all, other than maybe a kiss. And while it is definitely a story that leads to the importance of God in our lives, it never becomes preachy or overly trite about the need for a relationship with God.
Overall, I recommend Daniel's Den to all mystery lovers and those who want to read good literature with a Christian world view. Even for those who don't care about the viewpoint: it's a compelling tale.
You can purchase this book at just about any Christian bookstore, as well as Barnes and Noble, Borders, and other book stores. Online the book is available through Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Booksamillion, and Amazon.com, among others.
For more information about the book, author Brandt Dodson, and his other works, check out his website at http://www.brandtdodson.com