Friday, November 21, 2008
Baldwin and Tabbs' The Death and Life and Gabriel Phillips ~ Reviewed
The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips
by Stephen Baldwin & Mark Tabb
Published by Faith Words
To read the first chapter click here.
Back Cover: How do you make sense of a senseless death? How do you reconcile an unjust loss? Where do you find peace? Two men travel different paths but arrive at the same destination in The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips.
When Officer Andy Myers arrives at the scene of a routine call, he isn't expecting to find Gabriel Phillips lying in a pool of blood – particularly since he knows the little boy. Equally distressing, the boy's tranquil father standing watch over his son's body gives Myers an eerie sense of foreboding. He has never seen a man respond to a death – particularly the death of one's child – in such a way.
John Phillips, steadfastly maintaining his innocence, is sentenced to death. He chooses not to fight and embraces his impending death as God's will. Myers becomes consumed with the case, confused by this man's mystifying beliefs and behaviors. Conviction is not enough – Andy wants a confession and won't rest until he understands what sins cost Gabriel his life. What follows is the story of an unlikely bond between these two men and the difficult choices and sacrifices each one must make.
REVIEW: I loved the style in which this book was written. Let me give you a little sample of Stephen and Marks opening page... "Andy Myers didn't want children…Period. Case closed… You would think someone so adamant about not reproducing would have gone out and had a vasectomy, but Andy didn't think that way." And so it goes. The story of Andy Myers drew me in as his son describes him in this story, what he went through in his life and how he met Gabriel Phillips - who was an 8 year old boy!! Remember Andy hated children, but this kid gets under his skin!
Andy Myers thought differently about many things and you discover that throughout the course of this book. For example, the night Andy responded to a call for help and he discovers Gabriel Phillips' body on the floor. The only logical explanation was that the kid was murdered. No one falls out of bed and dies - not with that much blood.
Andy soon makes it his mission in life to see that the killer of Gabriel Phillips is found and convicted. Not only that, but Andy wants a confession. This consumes his every waking moment of life. This story clearly shows what revenge and unforgiveness can cost you in the long run. The one thing that Andy Myers couldn't shake about John Phillips (Gabriel's father) was the peace this man had. Where did that come from? This guy was faking being a born again Christian Andy just knew it. Andy was all torn up inside and out, and this wasn't even his kid. He didn't like kids. Andy couldn't get past any of this.
Reader beware!! I truly was engaged in this powerful story, but I was uncomfortable by all the cursing in this book. Yes, they were police officers doing their work, and I'm sure they talk like this in real life, but it made me uncomfortable reading the words. It's not what I'm accustom to reading. After all, these cops are in the trenches of life at it's worst. I understand that and you will too when you read this story so I could put up with the curse words. This is a story of hope for the hopeless and peace for the oppressed. It helps explain what the "peace that passes all understand" is, the bible talks about. This peace only comes from our heavenly father. I think the authors do a good job in showing how this happens to a few characters in this story. This book also shows our criminal system and how fast things can go from bad to worse; how people can get stuck in the maze of stuff so far, they can't see out.
This is Stephen Baldwin's first fiction book with Mark Tabb. I surely hope it won't be his last. Stephen Baldwin wrote a non-fiction book before this called "The Unusual Suspect" that looks good. I was pleasantly surprised and very moved by this story, and you will be too.
Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent – Book Club Servant Leader