Title: Deliver Us From Evil
Author: Robin Caroll
No. of Pages: 298
First Released: 2010
Synopsis (Courtesy of Joseph-Beth Booksellers): “A beautiful yet tough woman working in a beautiful yet tough setting, Brannon Callahan is a search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Strong faith and a decorated history of service have kept her one step ahead of on-the-job dangers, but there’s no precedent for what’s about to happen. After a blizzard takes down a small plane carrying U.S. Marshal Roark Holland (already haunted by a recent tragedy), Brannon must save him in more ways than one and safeguard the donor heart he’s transporting to a government witness on the edge of death. Otherwise the largest child trafficking ring in history–with shocking links from Thailand to Tennessee–will slip further away into darkness along the Appalachian Trail.”
Comments and Critique: Now that I have my first Christian fiction book under my belt, I was anxious to continue the trend and check out more books of this ilk. On the surface (and much to my concern), Deliver Us From Evil feels like it is going to be the same as Rooms – a Christian thriller that forces a reader to explore one’s faith. However, Deliver Us From Evil deviates from the focus on faith and instead is a highly informative, more believable suspense. Rather than faith as all-encompassing, the sole purpose of life, Ms. Caroll chooses to present faith as just another viewpoint, as an addition to life rather than its only purpose. This was definitely a welcome change.
Deliver Us From Evil is definitely plot-driven; the search for evidence and clues with which to convict the bad guys, the search for the girls, and the burgeoning relationship between Rourk and Brannon made this a quick page-turner. While the plot itself was quite good, unfortunately, I felt that the characters were very one-dimensional and flat. The good were too good, while the bad guys were stereotypically bad – mysoginistic, fastidious to the point of obsessive-compulsive, pompous. The only true evocation of feeling came with the girls, their struggles and their plight. The issue of child trafficking and slavery is very real, and the terror these girls experience was, to me, the most believable in the entire book.
I could not help but feel a bit disappointed at the ending; it was a bit too predictable for my preferences. With such a difficult topic, the end result was too tidy, almost too easy. In real life, the reason these trafficking rings continue to flourish is that they are notoriously difficult to capture all participants. The book definitely did not reflect the reality of crime detection, in my opinion.
Another point of consternation was the message about women. Several characters express mysogynistic, superior opinions of women – they should not hold positions of power, are good for nothing, are the root of all evil, and so forth. To read these ideas coming from dialogue between the bad guys is one thing; to read similar ideas coming from the good guys is another. Even though a woman is key to the resolution of the story, the reader definitely gets the impression that women are the root cause of all problems too. I am not certain if this was the message Ms. Caroll intended to portray, but it is the message that comes through loud and clear.
As I mentioned earlier, the Christian element to this story was more subdued. While there was still Scripture quoting, it was done more as inspirational phrases rather than as heavy morality lessons. Overall, the feeling behind the Christianity presented in this novel was more welcoming, more accepting with less judgment. To be Christian, Ms. Caroll allows the reader to understand that it goes beyond the obviousness of words and actions but is more internal. Since faith, in my opinion, is intensely personal, I could get behind this message.
Overall, I have to say I enjoyed reading Deliver Us From Evil. There are enough issues I personally have with the book that I definitely hesitate in recommending it to others unequivocally. However, I do feel that Ms. Caroll should be commended for highlighting an issue which still remains underground more than it should. Hopefully, her novel will help open eyes to child trafficking and generate a dialogue on this horrific crime. I know it did with me.
This book meets the requirements for the 100+ Reading Challenge and the Read ‘n Review Challenge. Thank you to the LibraryThing EarlyReader program and B&H Publishing for this review copy!