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Posted February 28, 2013
The Ollie Chandler Collection.
This series has everything I enjoy in a book~
Length: These books are 400 to 600 pages apiece, making this one ebook a wonderful 1,817 pages long! I love a long book. Long books are rare these days, in an era of limited attention spans. These books have length and breadth that reminds me of Tolkien's books. You feel like you have driven 600 miles after you finish one of these books.
Complexity: I love a book where the writing is worth savoring, and each scene means something later on.
Characters who form slowly, and whom you become attached to: I grew very attached to Jake Woods in Deadline, and Clarence and Obadiah in Dominion. And how can you not love Ollie Chandler? A detective who will stop at no length to solve a crime, and has a soft heart in him. And Ollie's partner, Manny, a fatherless young man and former gang member.
When they nearly die, you worry about them. When they live, you feel a rush of gladness. They are people who will live in your head long after the reading is done. Re-reading will only strengthen the bond of friendship.
Big Themes, tackled in a way that is Biblically grounded and flows from the story: Pro-life work, Apologetics, Justice, Good and evil, Where is God in suffering, discrimination, politicians, Islam, America, Heaven and hell, and the most important question of all Who is this Jesus?
A mystery with enough hints that I feel like I solved the crime, but a plot that keeps me guessing until the very end: Enough Said. Dominion, Deception, and Deadline kept me guessing until the last chapter. I would never have imagined these plots. The twists and turns were amazing.
The Ollie Chandler collection delivers all of these.
The author uses his skill to disappear into the story, so that you see it lived out by the characters. Randy Alcorn's scenes are worth reading carefully, and his attention to detail is what makes these books so good and so long. Each character has personality and life in them. You come to know them as you read. Characters I came to know in book one are included in book two and three, something my family of readers has always loved.
I can recommend these books heartily.
I would suggest that you buy the three volumes in print... so you can reread them, and share them. I am very blessed by Waterbrook's book blogging program that sent me these three in ebook to read.
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Posted March 24, 2014
Posted July 23, 2013
This is a wonderful book that really keeps you interested and wanting to read more. It does hit some very difficult topics and makes you think about what you know and have heard, as well as consider the other side of things. Definitely worth reading and I'm pretty particular about what I like.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2013
Randy Alcorn is a great Christian writer and this series is no exception! The three stories are all page turners, full of mystery and suspense, but with a few wonderful christians in each story. The stories are full of wonderful messages about hope and God and heaven. The characters are well developed and very human. I love that the people are very real. Not all of them are perfect christians that have it all figured out. Some of these people need real help and guidance. I enjoy the stories, especially the glimpses from both heaven and hell. I also love that the some of the same characters show up in each of these books (besides Ollie Chandler, of course).
I can't wait to pick up my next Alcorn book! He has a real talent.
Posted February 14, 2013
I ordered a collection of mysteries; I received a treatise on the ills of late-twentieth-century American society, with creative interpretations of life after death thrown in.
In the first novel of this collection, Deadline, Randy Alcorn takes on... a lot. Unfortunately, as is typical of Christian fiction, worldview overwhelms art. Jake Woods' spiritual journey is more compelling than the mystery, but would be better told more succinctly. Neither journey nor mystery is strong enough to bear the weight of issues about which the author is clearly passionate. The book felt more like listening to arguments than reading a story.
As part of an “Ollie Chandler omnibus,” I expected more Ollie and for development of the character to be part of this book. But the Ollie to whom we are finally introduced is the same Ollie who predictably comes through in the end, which might not be bad if he wasn't the slovenly, wise-cracking, overworked detective all-to-common in crime novels and bad TV shows.
It's a first novel, I told myself, and gave the second a chance. Where the opening of Deadline had failed to catch my interest, Dominion shoved it away with a gun-wielding, crack-cocaine-carrying, angry young man's use of the terms “homeboys,” “hood,” and “little homie.” This attempt to sound like a character rang as false as several from the previous book. Each of these characters is very different, in his or her own way, from the author. The Chinese man who made a brief appearance in Deadline was the worst, nothing better than a stereotype. And though Mr. Alcorn means no disrespect to individuals with Down Syndrome (he repeatedly clarifies his understanding that they are special in the best sense of the word) Little Finn's lines made me cringe.
Before giving up, I dipped into random places. The author's focus was again more his perspective on social issues than storytelling, but there was some improvement in the area of showing instead of telling.
The author's style further evolved in Deception, which is largely written from Detective Ollie Chandler's perspective. First-person. I'm sure there are popular-mystery readers who would find his thoughts and sayings colorful. But if you've read this review up to this point, you might guess that I disliked someone trying to put me in this character's head. I read even less of this novel than number two, but feel I've read enough of the collection to give a thoughtful review. I'm sure Ollie solved his mystery, and given the type of book, I assume he found his way to Christ. But I have no desire to find out what happened to Ollie Chandler because he never became more than a fictional character to me. I guess instead of a fatal flaw, he had a murderous one – he killed my interest. And, yes, I found his one-liners even worse than that one.
It's uncomfortable to post negative reviews, especially of books from authors who obviously mean well and seek to honor our Father, authors with whom I agree on many issues. Though I do not recommend these books, I know that Mr. Alcorn will continue to find solid readership and I wish him well.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers' Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.
Posted January 11, 2013