Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rene Gutteridge's Possession ~ Reviewed

By Rene Gutteridge
Published by: Tyndale House Publishers
303 Pages

Book Blurb:

In the aftermath of investigating the D.C. sniper case, police detective Vance Graegan is burned out on life and love. Hoping to save his marriage, he quits the force and moves his wife and son to the other side of the country. But when the movers decide to hold his belongings for ransom, Vance is determined to ensure that his family’s new beginning is not ruined. Soon, though, losing his possessions becomes the least of his problems as everything they are fighting for begins to unravel in the hands of Vance’s past. In an unforgettable climax, a little boy’s innocent faith brings a group of desperate people to their knees. What is at stake counts for everything, but nothing can prepare Vance for who is behind it.


I was thrilled to receive a review copy of this suspenseful tale. Rene delves into a scenario so many people are facing right now. So many have recently lost so much due to catastrophic situations beyond their control such as hurricanes, fire and flood. Rene had experienced the Oklahoma bombing, saw the devastation and watched how others dealt with tremendous loss. She wanted to explore the idea of losing everything, what that would mean and look like?

Vance, the main character learns quickly how short life really is as they try to track down a sniper in Washington D.C. Vance and the other officers desperately try to come up with a common denominator between the shootings in order to determine where this ghost sniper would strike next. After that ordeal, Vance suffers from Post-traumatic stress disorder.

The author became interested in PTSD after she experienced the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. It's similar to what vets experience but different. Rene does an amazing job of creating multi-layered characters that you instantly care about. I loved her first line, ‘Can you please state your full name?” She has the reader in court and Linda Greagan on the stand. I was swept into the story and was fascinated as to where Rene would take me next.

Vance reminded me of Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movie, who is smart, rough and tough but unlike Bruce who was saving the city, Vance had had enough of his job and wanted out. He was ready to start a new kind of life. He wanted to help his wife achieve her dream. Lindi’s dream was to own a Deli. It was something they could do together. His friends laughed at him but he was serious. He wasted enough years on the force risking his life for nothing. Now, was the time for his wife and son Conner.

Just when Vance thought things were going well, his wife quickly found a place to live, she had a lead on a perfect location for their Deli and they arrived in CA ahead of schedule.

Vance is in such a hurry to get this new life started and meet his family in CA he doesn’t take the time to read the fine print of his moving contract. All heck breaks loose when he gets to California to meet the movers. Moving is stressful on a good day but Vance’s experience is extreme.

His wife, Lindi, hears this from the moving worker, “Ma’am you are contractually obligated to pay us what you owe us.” That’s fine but this wasn’t the price they agreed on.

Vance is about to go ballistic when he hears this from his wife. What was happening? Vance learned over the years he had to departmentalize things; he couldn't get emotional because if he did he would miss something important. He would miss something he needed to solve the case. He was trained. Vance went into police mode to help him handle this crazy moving situation - just like he'd do with any case he was on.

On the gentler side of the story, I liked how their son, Conner, watched a televangelist on TV and got to know and accept Jesus has his personal savior. His parents weren’t excited about this event and hoped it would go away, when he grew up. They actually got scared when this behavior didn’t end. So, they took him to therapists to be observed. But the boy just kept being himself and would innocently share his relationship with Jesus and what it meant to him.

I enjoyed Conner and the beauty of a child’s love relationship and faith in Jesus is precious. I adored the part when Connor explained to his mom how to pray, “You have to always thank God first. That’s important. If you don’t be thankful, then you miss out on what God’s doing. You don’t see it… She wanted to hurry her son along in the prayer and Lindi says, “But let’s pretend we’re getting ready to be in a car wreck, and we need God’s help fast. Then what kind of prayer do you pray?”

“You don’t pray then, Mom, “Conner said. “You just trust that He’s there.” His mom saw great wisdom in her son’s eyes.

I loved the relational dynamic in this novel, the excitement, the honest spiritual thread and how Rene masterfully blends it all together. Amazing!

I highly recommend reading Possession, the book is a great escape into a world Rene creates, to make you laugh, sweep you up into a suspenseful drama and help you think about a few things along the way. Great combination! Thanks Rene for another book that had so much to offer at book club and is just a plain fun read.

Reviewed: Nora St.Laurent

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