Deadline By Randy Alcorn, is a hybrid suspense novel and Christian fiction in one novel. Randy Alcorn is a well known Christian author and speaker who has written a number of books: both fiction and non fiction. His works are very well thought out and are very useful in Christian apologetics and theology. As with most of his works, they are lengthy yet thorough.
The cover of this fiction novel is decieving- as there is no hint or reference to the connection to biblical scripture. With its simple, yet vague title "Deadline" and the closeup of a dashboard with its omnious cracked windshield appears to just another crime thriller or mystery novel. This will certainly draw in readers who enjoy the crime novel genre. The reader would not suspect that this novel was more than a crime mystery -but that it also contained significant biblical theology and thought as well. In fact, Alcorn uses this fiction novel as a springboard by which to introduce a number of secondary plots or stories through his journalist hero about important topics such as abortion, public schooling, crime, planned parenthood, and parent responsability. In fact, just about every hot topic or debate is covered through the context of Jake's journalism career with a newspaper. The pro life issues are prevelant in this book, in fact these issues are among the motivations behind the crime- so readers who are offended by the conservative point of view or sensitive about abortion or prolife issues, might not appreciate this aspect. I am assuming those readers who have undergone an abortion- most likely will not want to read this book. Alcorn's book does not fit the mold of mindless entertainment as even this fiction work delivers a strong moral and spiritual message. If you are simply looking for another mind deadening paperback, this isn't for you.
On a superficial level the storyline is interesting yet typical of the crime novel genre- after surviving a car accident which killed his two best friends: an athiest Doc and Finney, a born again Christian- the hero Jake Woods, a journalist, learns that the accident was not a real accident but intentional sabatage, and he finds he must solve the mystey of their murders. Meanwhile his own life is in danger. The investigation yield unexpected suprises and ironies. During that time, Jake and agnostic, slowly begins to question his beliefs as it draws him closer to God. It is great to see a fiction work that depends on the author's writing skills without the needless explicit x- rated scenes that are so prevelant in most secular fiction.
But, what makes this book most notable, isn't the crime drama setting but the supernatural and spiritual elements and the detailed scenes and dialogs that depict Finney's after death experience in heaven and Doc's after death experience in hell. In fact there is extensive theological detail about Finney's experience in heaven as the scenes shift back and forth between Jake's investigation and Finney's experience in Heaven. This is an unexpected element, and Alcorn bases the fictitious scenes in heaven based on biblical theology. At the end of the book, he includes an author's note to explain his rationale behind the inclusion of this supernatural element.
As a blogger for Multnomah, I recieved this book from Multnomah publishers for the purpose of writing this review.