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Deception    by Randy Alcorn order for
by Randy Alcorn
Order:  USA  Can
Multnomah, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

Randy Alcorn brings back characters from two other best-selling mysteries - Deadline and Dominion - in Deception, his latest fiction work. Ollie Chandler is a Portland, Oregon-based homicide detective whose latest case has him chasing down the last people on earth he wants to suspect - his own colleagues.

A widower, Ollie takes solace in food, drink, and his dog Mulch. One night he blacks out at his favorite local bar, to find himself awakened at home in his bed at 3 a.m. to investigate a new murder. The culprit is Dr. William Palantine, a philosophy professor at the local college and his own daughter's former teacher. Palantine has not only been shot, but also has a blue noose hanging around his neck and has been injected with ink. Around the house are several curious items - including some that point to Ollie himself. Can Ollie remember enough to clear himself of suspicion?

The religious undertones of the novel are put in place by Jake Woods and Clarence Abernathy, Ollie's two good friends, who are devout Christians. When Ollie's wife was dying from cancer, their wives converted her to Christianity. Ollie is determined not to let his friends do the same to him. Alcorn's unique ideas concerning the afterlife (detailed in his nonfiction bestseller Heaven) peak curiosity and add to the novel. We see glimpses of dead characters actually in heaven, speaking to the Master Carpenter about Ollie and his friends.

The first 300 pages move slowly in this nearly 500-page work. I will admit I wasn't that interested until about page 275. There are so many clues and so many characters I had a hard time wrapping my mind around what was going on. Alcorn details every bite and drink our male protagonist has, which bogs down the novel in some places. That said, the twist ending is very exciting and I raced through the last hundred pages, eager to know whodunit. If you don't mind the length, Alcorn's latest is a great Christian mystery which will make your mind work.

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