Randy Alcorn is well known for his non-fiction works that are thought provoking and insightful. He carries this same level of skill into the world of fiction, where he begins a series that revolves around a couple of different characters, with each installment featuring one of the men in the group. Deadline is the first in that set and features journalist Jake Woods, a well known and popular columnist for a newspaper in Oregon. Jake is very comfortable in his little world. His marriage fell apart due to his own twisted morals, but he has two very close friends who fill the social gap in his life. One is a committed Christian, the other a equally committed humanist. Both have features that draw Jake and both have features that he disagrees with. When tragedy strikes their little group, Jake is brought face to face with reality. This life is short, and if there is nothing after it than what is the point? Is there is no definite right and wrong, then what gives any kind of purpose to anything that anyone does? These questions haunt Jake as he begins to realize exactly how off track he's been with his views of the Bible and Christians in general. As he digs deeper into the worlds of his two friends, and finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation, he begins to truly grasp the consequences of living as if nothing more than this world matters, and he finds them sobering, launching a search for true meaning in this world.
Alcorn writes a compelling story, though at times it feels like he is incorporating too much into it. In addition to Jake's help in a murder mystery and personal faith journey, Alcorn weaves in extensive material on Heaven, channeling Frank Peretti a little bit. He also takes a lot of time exposing media bias, issues surrounding abortion, drug use, easy sex, etc, that seem at times to be a little over the top. As a conservative Evangelical, I agree with every position Alcorn takes, but the challenge in expressing those positions along with full arguments in a fictional work creates unique challenges, not the least of which are problems of documentation of facts, studies, etc. It felt at times like you are getting hit by five different water hoses from five different directions (thus a novel with a fairly simple storyline that takes up 424 pages with small print and margins). Overall though, Alcorn does a nice job, and his work only improves with experience!
I give Deadline 4 out of 5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book from Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for a fair and honest review.