Monday, November 11, 2013

Derailed by Dave and Neta Jackson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Worthy Publishing (October 8, 2013)
Dave and Neta Jackson


As a husband/wife writing team, we are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together we are the authors or coauthors of over 120 books. (You can see our Publication Record by clicking HERE.) In addition to writing several books about Christian community, we have been privileged to coauthor numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

But over the years the we have especially enjoyed writing for children and young people! This includes our award-winning TRAILBLAZER series, historical fiction about great Christian heroes and heroines for young people ages 8-12, and the four-volume HERO TALES: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Great Christians, and the companion book, Heroes in Black History.

Somewhere along the way, our own children grew up! Son Julian is Director of Experience Design for the Alder Planetarium in Chicago where he “provides the experience of exploring space” for visitors. He has two sons, Liam Isaac and Elijah David. Daughter Rachel graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and after working in the field of rape-crisis prevention went on to earn a Masters Degree in counseling from the University of Illinois. She is now a counselor at “Uni High School” in Champaign, Illinois. She is the loving mother of Havah Noelle (our first grandchild!) and Noah Zion, our youngest grandchild. The Jackson family also includes a Cambodian foster daughter, Samen Sang, who has four children.

We live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years we were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. We are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.


Forced to give up his hard-earned retirement, Harry Bentley goes back to work as a detective. Receiving a bizarre undercover assignment that sends him across the country by train. Things suddenly go awry when it appears one of his new neighbors may be part of a smuggling ring and suspicion rises about his own son’s involvement in a major drug cartel. The second in the Windy City Neighbors series, Derailed is a contemporary, and often humorous, tale in an urban setting, featuring ordinary people wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. Intersecting with Grounded (book one), the Jacksons employ their innovative storytelling technique of “parallel novels.” Though each book follows its own drama and story arc, the characters’ lives become intertwined and affect one another. Derailed transports you to Beecham Street—a typical, isolated American neighborhood . . . until hope moves in.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Derailed, go HERE.

My review:
   This is the second in a series of books set in one neighborhood, with each book centered on a different neighbor. I enjoyed this one even more than the first one, maybe because it was from a man's perspective instead of a woman's. I do wish the series was written from a third person point of view instead of the first person, as I think it would make the books even better.

  This one was very entertaining, but also had a great message in it. The main character, a black guy in probably his early 60's or so, has moved into the neighborhood with his wife and teenage grandson. While taking cinnamon rolls to all of their new neighbors to introduce themselves, they discover two houses down from them is a gay male couple. I am not excusing the sin, and I won't go into a lot of detail, but using the fictitious gay couple, the authors had a great message about loving our neighbors, even when we totally disagree with their lifestyle. It impressed me so much that I wrote a blog post about loving our neighbor on my other blog.

  I did have a few issues with the book. At one point, someone is angry at a police dog that searches out drugs and angrily called it the actual name for a female dog.... granted, they ARE called that, but it seemed out of place for a Christian book, and given the tone it was said in, it seemed more like the bad use of the word. There were also a few cases where the main character started to curse and it had the first couple of letters..... its natural for the brain to fill it in, and I wish they had not done that.