One across…Three down…
The answer is in the puzzle.
The danger is in not solving it before time’s up.
Libby Keaton longs to be close to her twin sister, Tori, but their lives have taken them in different directions. Forced to share Aunt Stella’s old Philadelphia home in order to receive their inheritance, Libby hopes for a change, but it isn’t looking good so far.
First, Tori tries to steal the affection and allegiance of Libby’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Chloe. Then, when a crossword puzzle with a hidden warning shows up on their doorstep, Tori refuses to take it seriously—in spite of the dead man who delivers it.
Libby finds comfort in neighbor Drew Canfield, but he hesitates to trust her after his disastrous marriage. As Libby struggles to act faithfully in the midst of these confusing relationships, she must also deal with a stolen diamond and a botched kidnapping. The answer to her problems lies in the riddles of the crosswords, if only she can solve the puzzles before it’s too late.
I decided to take a break from reviewing my favorite genre, Historical Fiction, and try a fiction/suspense novel. I’m glad I did as Fatal Deduction from veteran author Gayle Roper turned out to be one of the most unique pieces of Christian literature I have read yet.
The concept that individuals are kept from doing what is right out of a sense of fear is deeply explored through each emotional situation the main characters face. As Job once wrote in the Holy Bible, “Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward,” yet the apostle Peter eternally reminds human beings to cast ALL of their anxiety to the Lord because he cares. This is one of the most beautiful aspects of the story Roper has given her audience. Every character essential to the plot is caught in an emotional upheaval—those who believe in the Lord with all their heart find their flaws coming to life while attempting to lead a Godly life in an ungodly world, particularly through the turmoil members of their family put them through. In this sense, Roper has presented reality. Fatal Deduction is a piece of contemporary Christian fiction, yet the reader doesn’t experience the story through rose-colored lens. It’s humanity at its highest and lowest points. Just as God has a purpose for each individual, our lives are all connected, in ways we cannot even begin to comprehend. We are destined to meet certain people…this destiny, an important gift in God’s will, sometimes leads us to second chances in life.
Roper has also intertwined the concepts of murder, mental illness, forgiveness, peace, love, and mystery into each twist and turn in the plot. Readers interact with the characters as the actual crossword puzzles delivered to Tori are featured in the book, giving each audience member the chance to solve the puzzle.
From the moment readers pick up the novel, they will be intrigued to the other end, as they turn the pages very rapidly to discover which twist will unfold next. It is truly masterpieces, such as Gayle Roper’s novels, that are forever changing the shape of Christian literature to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. What an incredible testament to an author who has written novels for more than thirty years with more than forty-five books to her name.
*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.*