Review the book.
The problem? Who am I to review Jerry B. Jenkins? I mean, honestly. He's written more than 175 books and sold over 70 million. He writes great stories and he’s passionate about training the next generation of Christian writers, including me.
But I said I would review it and my plan was to approach the book as a textbook, look for the things he does well and learn from them.
If I’m going to do that, I’ll have to read it again.
Because somewhere around page 50, as tears streamed and my heart ached for the main character, Boone Drake (love the name) suffering through unimaginable loss, I lost my focus. I forgot to pay attention to writing technique. I didn’t care that I was supposed to review the book.
I cared about Boone. And Jack. And Pastor Sosa. And Haeley.
Now, I don’t want my tears to throw you off. The Brotherhood isn’t chick-lit. The Brotherhood is a police thriller, complete with gangs, organized crime, guns, drugs and the cops who put their lives on the line every day.
It’s also a book that doesn’t shy away from a true-to-life crisis of faith. Jenkins explores the hard questions that we all wrestle with to some degree. The kinds of questions we all should wrestle with at some point in our lives but try to avoid. Why does God allow tragedy? How much control do we have over our lives? Why aren’t good people rewarded for doing good while bad people seem to be rewarded for evil? Can God forgive those who have committed the most heinous crimes? And why would He bother?
I appreciated the way Jenkins answers these tough questions. They aren’t answered with neat, tidy platitudes. They are wrestled with by characters grasping at faith when life has thrown them to the ground. For me, that’s important. I know this is fiction, but I want my fiction to feel real, and these characters—and their faith or lack thereof—are real. Sometimes painfully so.
The Brotherhood is scheduled for release in February and is the first book in a planned three-part series.
I wonder if there’s any chance I can get an ARC for the next book? I hate waiting and I can’t wait to find out what happens next!