Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Sons of Jude by Brandt Dodson

The body of a young woman is found in a dumpster in Chicago and detectives Andy Polanski and Frank Campello are charged with finding the killer. The two are polar opposites. Polanski is the son of a disgraced Chicago police officer and is fastidious about his reputation. He has also recently been transferred from another district having blown the whistle on some corrupt cops. Campello, however, takes a live-and-let-live approach to his life and job.

It soon becomes clear, as another young woman--a potential witness--is murdered, that a sex-trafficking operation in Chicago is preying on illegal aliens. As the ill-matched pair dig deeper, an influential alderman and his son are implicated. Then Polanski is framed for a narcotics offense, devastating the cases against the corrupt officers and the alderman. Only when Campello is challenged by a local minister, whom he meets when visiting Polanski, does he find the motivation to seek justice.

My review:

  If you're looking for a book that is unapologetically Christian fiction, this book is not for you. The main character drinks, smokes, and is definitely not a Christian. There is some very brief Christian content in the book, and two uses of God's name taken in vain. Other than that, I would almost classify it as clean secular fiction.

   Those issues aside, it was a great read, and though there wasn't much Christian about it, the book was clean. The book revolves around police officers and corruption in the police department. It has a great plot and characters, and given the authors law enforcement experience, the police actions and activities have a very realistic feel and approach. The book is very fast-paced and once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.

   This is a new publisher for this author, and I have read previous books by him that contained no uses of God's name taken in vain and had more Christian content, so hopefully this is a fluke and the rest of the books in this series will do better in those areas.

About the author:

Brandt was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which he would later choose as the setting for his Colton Parker Mystery series. Although he discovered in grade school that he wanted to be a writer, it would be another twenty-one years before he would put pen to paper.
“I knew in fifth grade that I wanted to be a writer. Our teacher had given each of us a photograph which we were to use as inspiration for a short story. The particular photo I was given was of several young men playing handball in New York City. I don’t remember all of the particulars of the story now, but I do remember the thrill that writing it gave me.”
In high school, Brandt’s English teacher uncovered his growing desire and encouraged him by saying:

“If you don’t write, you’ll regret it the rest of your life.”

Later, while in college, one of Brandt’s professors would echo that teacher’s comment.
“But life intervened and I found myself working at a variety of jobs. I worked in the toy department of a local department store and fried chicken for a local fast food outlet. Over the course of the next several years I finished my college degree and worked for the Indianapolis office of the FBI, and served for eight years as a Naval Officer in the United States Naval Reserve. I also obtained my doctorate in Podiatric Medicine, and after completion of my surgical residency, opened my own practice. But I never forgot my first love. I wanted to write.”

During his early years in practice, Brandt began reading the work of Dean Koontz.
“I discovered Dean’s book, The Bad Place, and was completely blown away by his craftsmanship. I read something like 13 or 14 of his back list over the following two weeks. It wasn’t long after that I began to write and submit in earnest.”
Still, it would be another twelve years before Brandt was able to secure the publishing contract he so desperately desired.

“I began by writing the type of fiction that I enjoyed; I wrote edgy crime thrillers that were laced with liberal amounts of suspense. Over the years, I’ve begun to write increasingly more complex work by using broader canvases and themes.

Since securing his first contract, Brandt has continued to pen the type of stories that inspired him to write when he was a boy, and that have entertained his legions of readers.
“I love to write, and as long as others love to read, I plan on being around for a long time to come.”

Sons of Jude is the first book in a series and is available from Monarch Publishing, a division of Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.