Thomas and Theresa Hammonds believe in tough love and old-fashioned discipline. They do not believe in doctors. When their controversial religious practices lead to personal tragedy, however, the Hammonds face heartbreaking loss, a crisis of faith–and a charge of negligent homicide by a relentless prosecutor.
Defending Thomas and Theresa is freewheeling African American lawyer Charles Arnold. Charles believes in grace and mercy. But nothing in his colorful past has prepared him for the challenges of this shocking case, or for the dangerous conspiracy at its heart. Cultures and Lawyers Collide… Teaming with Nikki Moreno, the court-appointed guardian for the Hammonds children, Charles pursues intractable questions. Who is responsible for Joshie Hammonds’ death? Will this family’s tragedy lead to their destruction? Which will triumph–mercy or judgment? The answers hang on the traitorous testimony of a key witness…and on a dying declaration that will revolutionize the lives of everyone who touches the case.
My take: 3 looks
You all know how I feel about Christian Fiction, blah, blah, blah. However, this one is pretty good. Charles is a street preacher, so the faith aspect of the story is very natural and not at all forced. He is a real man, with real issues, in a real world. That is hard to find in Christian fiction.
However, I am a very black-and-white thinker, and I can't help but feel that the parents are, indeed, guilty of negligent homicide. While the doctor was definitely at fault, his decisions would have been moot if the parents had sought medical attention even one day earlier. Thomas and Theresa were certainly likable, but there is no denying that their lack of action was the cause of their young son's death. Blindly following an ignorant teaching is no defense.
While the author obviously wants the reader to despise Rebecca, even going to the lengths of giving her the nickname "barracuda", I found myself thinking that she was only doing her job. As the state's deputy prosecutor, her job was to prosecute. The fact that she was ambitious and preening for the camera made no difference to me. Again, she was trying to find justice for this child, as she said several times in her internal monologue.
Nikki was a redrawing of Marisa Tomei's character in the 1992 movie My Cousin Vinnie, except Nikki was infinitely more irritating. She was a caricature, as the "scantily clad with a heart of gold" Latino.
The relationship of Buster and Armistead required some suspension of belief, but to say anymore would be a spoiler.
I give this 3 looks despite all of the negatives because the story itself was gripping, and the ending had my head spinning.