Pieces of Light
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Washington D.C. is gripped with fear at the hands of a deadly serial bomber. Churches are being bombed during their Sunday morning services, and lives have been lost. Former FBI agent Dinah Harris is asked by her old FBI partner to act as a consultant on the case. Also working with them is a handsome FBI bomb expert. He and Dinah are interested in each other, but Dinah wonders how quickly he'll run when he learns about her past mistakes and current struggles.
As the investigation progresses, it becomes clear that the bomber is angry at Christians for letting him down when he was in desperate need of help as a child. Now he's decided to direct his anger and urge for violence into a bombing spree that will show the world what hypocrites Christians are. Will the bomber complete his deadly goal or can Dinah stop him before more people are hurt?
Pieces of Light is a Christian suspense novel. This book was the third in a series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one...though you'll probably like the ongoing characters better if you have. Also, this one didn't spoil the mysteries in the previous novels.
The suspense was built nicely by having Dinah and the FBI try to stop the bomber before another church was bombed and more people died. There was also some suspense about how her relationship with the handsome guy would work out. Though the bomber wasn't named from the beginning, the author wasn't trying very hard to hide "whodunit." There were only two possible suspects (from the reader's point of view), and only one would connect the plot threads together.
Actually, the novel felt disjointed because there were several seemingly unrelated plot threads going on. The purpose of one thread seemed solely to argue against the political agenda promoting "separation of church and state." Even the child abuse element was pushed to the point that the purpose seemed more to raise awareness about the results of child abuse than simply provide a driving motivation for the bomber.
Several of the main characters were complex and dealt with realistic personal struggles (like being abused). However, the reoccurring characters weren't really developed and would probably come across as simplistic if you haven't read the previous novels. For example, in this novel, the bomber had a valid and developed reason to hate Christians, but the Senator seemed to hate Christians, be greedy, etc., "just because."
Dinah was a Christian. She engaged in daily Bible study, small group Bible study, and an occasional prayer. While we're told her relationship with Christ is vital to her life, we don't see that so much in this novel as in the previous one.
I'll mention that I also had a "believability" problem near the end. I can't believe that a leader of a SWAT team, when faced with the choice of injury to two civilians or injury to his team members would immediately and unhesitatingly plan for the civilians to be hurt instead of his team.
There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting novel to those who have read the previous novels in the series.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Sussex 1 State Prison
Prisoner Number: 10734
I am on death row and they say I deserve to be here. I suppose I agree. I don’t really know. I don’t have any feelings about it. I know I killed some people, and that’s why I’m here.
I live in a cell that feels like the size of a postage stamp, but at least I’m by myself. I have my books, a television, and some paper on which to write. I have my thoughts, which are strangely muted as though they have jumped into someone else’s head and I’m eavesdropping. They’ve been that way ever since they arrested me. Before that, my thoughts were all mine and I could hear them just fine.
Apparently, this didn’t help me during the trial. The prosecutor called me a “cunning, cold killer who took great pleasure in planning the details of his innocent victim's deaths.” The judge told me that my unemotional response to the guilty verdict read out by the jury foreman “chilled him to the bone.” Even the newspaper, brought by my family when they visited the first time, had a picture of my blank face with the headline: “No Remorse Shown by Bomber.” "Why didn’t you show any remorse?" my family asked me. "Why not at least apologize"?
Because I don’t feel remorse. I don’t feel guilt. I don’t feel sorry. I feel nothing. Somebody has hit the mute button on me and I no longer can communicate the way I used to.
I’ve heard the rumors about me — that I’m a sociopath, that I’m angry and hatred-fueled, that I’m mentally impaired because I have no conscience.
I have felt anger, hatred, frustration, guilt, and even love before all this happened. I used to be a fully functioning, reasonably normal human being. I think that pieces of me are dying slowly, so that by the time my execution date rolls around, I’ll be almost dead anyway. There are pieces of light inside of me, slowly extinguishing themselves, one by one.
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