by Randy Singer
Directed Verdict is a fast-paced story about a lawsuit involving a missionary and the government of Saudi Arabia. The book opens with the missionary's family enduring torture at the hands of the Saudi Arabian government, and continues with the twists and turns of that family's lawsuit against the kingdom, to be tried in US courts. Pretty implausible, sure... but still kind of fun.
The plot is actually a little on the predictable side, I thought. It didn't take a whole lot to figure out how things were going to wind up, but it was somehow still fun watching it all unfold. The action moves right along, and the characters are pretty likable, and the pages just seem to want to turn themselves.
If you like your good guys to be all good, and your villains to be rotten to the core, then you're going to love Directed Verdict. It isn't too complicated in terms of presenting us with characters who are overly layered or anything like that, but it is a fun read for a nice diversion.
One of the things I like about the book is that it is a little different than a lot of Christian fiction titles I've read. The story doesn't get interrupted by a sort of "forced" telling of the conversion of the protagonist. In fact (maybe this is a small spoiler), he doesn't convert, though he is shown to be wondering just a little about his faith at the end of the book. But I actually think this worked better for the book overall than the typical practice in some of the courtroom dramas or other action-type books that are geared toward the Christian market. Too often, the conversion of the protagonist is the main story, and all the other stuff just a backdrop for that. I like that this book tells its story, and left the protagonist to consider his faith on his own time, so to speak.
That's not to say that we don't get a "conversion narrative" in the book, because we do. But I do like that it lets the protagonist be all "good guy" without making him stop in the middle of the story and convert to Christianity. In many other books from this genre that I have read, the telling of the conversion of the protagonist disrupts the flow of the story, making the whole thing seem to sort of sag and become less interesting. So, Directed Verdict gets props from me for avoiding that trap.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2010