Book Review: The Judge

1 Sep

When a brilliant billionaire is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, he realizes that all his considerable wealth cannot prepare him to meet his Maker. But he has an idea that might: he will stage the ultimate reality show. With his true agenda hidden, he auditions followers from all the world’s major religions, inviting them to the trial of their lives on a remote island, where they must defend their beliefs against spiritual challenges. 

Oliver Finney, a feisty old judge with his own secrets, is chosen to defend Christianity. As the program takes a strange twist, he quickly realizes he is trapped in a game of deadly agendas that may cost him his life. With Internet access monitored, Finney sends coded messages to his law clerk, Nikki Moreno. Aided by a teen crypto-geek, Nikki soon discovers the key to understanding Finney’s clues in an apologetics book Finney wrote and must race against time to decipher the mysteries contained in the ancient words of Christ before her boss dies defending them.

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine’s select list of “Legal Elite” litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing”—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at www.randysinger.net.

My Impressions:

Randy singer is fast becoming one of my favorite authors in the suspense genre. The Judge (originally published as The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney) is the second book by Singer I have read this summer. It will most definitely not be the last. This novel is fast-paced, filled with endearing and sometimes quirky characters, and kept me guessing until the very end. If you like suspense laced with the justice system a la John Grisham or Robert Whitlow, you will love The Judge.

Judge Oliver Finney, a cigar smoking, Christian, sitting judge from Virginia, has been selected to defend Christianity on the new reality show, Faith Under Trial. Finney expected deceit and TV tricks, but never expected a conspiracy to kill one or all of the show’s contestants. Enlisting the help of his law clerk and a teenage whiz kid, Finney investigates just what is going on in Paradise Island. Determined to give glory to God and to protect his fellow competitors, Finney uses his wits and his faith in God to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I loved the characters in The Judge, especially young law Clerk Nikki Moreno. Her character, along with sidekick Wellington Farnsworth (who names a kid that?), were a hoot! The contestants on the show chosen to defend scientific atheism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam were also treated with a deft hand. They were not over the top zealots, but portrayed as people with deep faith, even if in the wrong thing.

As part of this blog tour, I was asked to answer the question “How would you defend your faith?”. I thought about this throughout my reading of The Judge. A passage near the end of the book sums up my feelings in the defense of my beliefs —

But she noticed recently, as she read Judge Finney’s Bible, that at times it almost felt as if she were speaking to him. She had seen so many of the words of Christ exemplified by Finney’s life that the words themselves had a familiar ring to them — an almost-eerie feeling of deja vu.

This is how I hope people see my life — not mere words, but a life lived out as close to Jesus’ as possible. So I guess I would say my life should be my best defense.

I highly recommend The Judge for its page-turning suspense, great characterization and for its ability to get the reader thinking and thinking again.

Highly Recommended.

(I received The Judge from Tyndale in return for  an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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  1. Book Review: The Judge « BY THE BOOK | Pulplit Magazine - September 1, 2012

    […] post: Book Review: The Judge « BY THE BOOK This entry was posted in Books and tagged brilliant-billionaire, considerable, inoperable-brain, […]

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