Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Mention: The Heir by Paul Robertson

A Christian murder mystery that is more philosophy on how to live than anything else… Book review of The Heir by Paul Robertson

I came across The Heir as a free e-book download promotion, so I checked it out, even though it’s not the type of book I normally read.

This Christian tale centers on Jason Boyer, a rich man who comes into a huge inheritance—money, business, political power, and fame—after the untimely death of his father. When the examination of his father’s accident turns into a murder investigation, Jason becomes the prime suspect. As he fights for his innocence, he struggles to define who he really is and why he has been put here on his earth.

The Heir seems designed first and foremost to look at (and ultimately knock over) the many different philosophies that people take toward life. Through Jason’s eyes, we consider how we should live and why. Some characters live (and die) for the moment, for pleasure, for wealth. Others give all for power and fame. Some simply don’t want to give up what they have, even if those things aren’t necessarily worth fighting for anymore. Jason himself is a confused man, but in facing that confusion, he has the chance to come to the knowledge of the truth.

This examination of the why of our existence is interesting at times, which helps to offset some of the novel’s weaker elements…including some thin characterization and an ending that is believable (barely) but very underdeveloped. The action of the story—a murder mystery—takes a backseat to the philosophical wanderings of Jason, and I believe that in some ways, the drama of the story suffers for it. Obviously, the author’s goal is to write a book that leads readers to examine why they are here on earth and what they value most. And that’s good. But I think stronger storytelling would add to the book’s effectiveness and reach in the long run.

Point blank: It's impossible to recommend The Heir without reservations. What makes The Heir stand out is that it was different than the usual Christian fare I’ve come across. That said, I don't read much Christian fiction, even though I'm a Christian, precisely because the writing is so often weak or heavy-handed with the need to push religion. And The Heir is, unfortunately, a victim of that syndrome. It's not the worst thing I've ever read. But I'm glad I got it for free. Enough said?

For Amazon's reviews (which are quite mixed):

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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