Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Legal (and Spiritual) Suspense “With A Twist”

A Review of James Scott Bell The Whole Truth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008)
ISBN 13: 978-0-310-26903-8 337 pp $14.99

The literary phrase “with a twist” is an understatement because it refers to tales which actually have a number of “twists”, not just one. A good example is provided by the novel under review here. I really cannot elaborate without “giving away the story” so I will say no more than to encourage you to read Bell’s latest legal thriller to find out what I mean by these multiple twists. Let me also say that if you liked his Presumed Guilty, you will like this one too.

The story focuses upon a recovering drug-and-alcohol-addict, Lawyer Steve Conroy, who is barely staying afloat and is hardly in any shape to undertake the untying of any Gordian twists. To the contrary, his inept efforts result in his own body being tied up -- literally. One of his methods of coping, which makes reading this book such a delight, is his wittiness, which suffuses almost all of his dialogues. Actually, even if you don’t care for the plot, the book is worth reading just for these verbal gems. Perhaps this book should be regarded as comedic legal suspense! The writing is also remarkable for the natural way in which spiritual matters are shown to be integral to the story. Here and in his other novels Bell novels provide good examples of how spirituality is related to daily life.

Bell is one of a growing number of Christian authors during the past decade who are writing with an ever growing maturity, so that by now, to those who are au courant, the term “Christian fiction” is, happily, coming more and more to mean literary (and spiritual) sophistication. This is the kind of witness which Francis Schaeffer said we should bear before the watching world. If you like legal thrillers and sophisticated Christian fiction, you will like the novels of James Scott Bell. Info is available on his website


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