Thursday, March 01, 2007

Review: The Root of All Evil

“Wealthy businessman Berger Hume is dying, and the one thing he wants most is the one thing his millions can’t buy…a relationship with the son he’s never met.

“In a race against time, private investigator Colton Parker is hired to find Berger’s son but soon finds himself on the receiving end of some very deadly messages. Messages that are meant to keep Colton from uniting father and son. Messages that come form one of the city’s most notorious outlaw biker gangs. A gang whose reach is extends into the highest levels of government to Colton’s own home, endangering the life of his daughter.”

When I picked up The Root of All Evil, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It is the third book in the Colton Parker series by Indiana author Brandt Dodson. When you read Colton Parker think one of the FBI agents from NUMB3Rs ten or fifteen years down the road. They’ve lived a little, lost a lot, and are now trying to find footing without the FBI. In Colton’s case, he’s a recent widower with a teenage daughter and a fledgling – read struggling – PI firm.

When a woman enters asking him to find the long-lost son for a large retainer, Colton can’t think of a reason to say no, and his bank account tells him he has to say yes. By the time he has a host of reason to say no, it’s too late.

This is the third book in the series, and I had no trouble figuring out what was going on. The book stood alone quite well. It is centered in Indianapolis, and took me to parts of the city I have never visited – and after reading the book, would very much like to avoid on my next trip to the Capital.

The plot is filled with twists and turns that keep you guessing and wondering if Colton will be able to protect his charge and his child while unraveling who’s behind the threat to the Humes. I liked how this book was not predictable and took the plot places I’d hoped it wouldn’t go. The book had the hard-edged feel of a PI novel without diving into language to convey the coarseness of the characters.

The characters – even the antagonists – had facets that made them human. Dodson didn’t fall into the trap of making the characters cardboard props to the plot. And I wasn’t expecting the son of an extremely wealthy man to be so far removed from his father’s world. Yet he still had that hole in his life that made him long to know if his father could love him.

Colton isn’t a Christian, and isn’t by the end. Instead he has characters who challenge him and ask him the hard questions. Much like real life – I love that in a character’s spiritual arc. I don’t know many people who become Christians overnight, thus it was very believable that as he’s running all over Indy trying to save lives and solve a deadly puzzle that he doesn’t have much time to sit down and ruminate about spiritual matters. But he listens – reluctantly – when challenged.

All in all I enjoyed this book, and it is not the last book of Dodson’s I will read. In fact Original Sin has jumped up in my to be read stack.

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