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The Brotherhood (Precinct 11) Paperback – February 1, 2011
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Jenkins, Tim LaHaye�s coauthor for the Left Behind series, turns in a solid performance in this novel about a Chicago police officer who learns to deal with a life-altering tragedy. Chicago PD up-and-comer Boone Drake is devastated when a house fire kills his wife and son. He internalizes his emotions, cutting off virtually everyone who is close to him, and resists the urgings of those around him to seek spiritual guidance. But when he returns to active duty, he learns that he can�t avoid confronting his inner demons. The religious theme is overt and central to the story, but Jenkins avoids proselytizing, preferring instead to let Boone make his own choices. Jenkins is a skilled, dramatic writer. The scene in which Boone says goodbye to his dying wife is especially affecting. The story�s police milieu is well handled, too (Jenkins� father and brothers were cops). The novel should appeal to not just readers of Christian fiction but a wider audience of crime-fiction fans interested in how cops respond to the tragedies in their daily lives. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The Verdict: The novel in no way passes the test as police thriller or procedural. However, it is a solid and entertaining drama about Boone Drake, a cop who faces tragedy, and with God's help, rebounds to overcome it.
Boone Drake is an idealistic cop with a great family. When tragedy strikes, he doesn't know how he will cope. He loses everything. His pastor is there to guide him through the rough times, as is his partner Jack Keller. Over the years, Boone grows closer to God and finally gets his chance to tackle the gang problem in Chicago.
Why this isn't a police thriller: Readers looking for a good Christian police novel where the primary focus is police work and cases should look elsewhere. It's hard for the novel to be a procedural when the action lasts over several years. Boone is interested in fighting the gangs, that is mentioned early on. But, the actual case, and only case, that he works on in the novel, doesn't begin until you are 2/3 through the novel. The case he works on includes getting to know a gangster personally and talking about their faith for several chapters, so little "policing" occurs there either.
Everything involving the police, from the characters, to the situations, to the chronic use of the word "gangbangers" seems both amateurish and clichéd. I don't know Jenkins' background in police work, or how much research he did, but to me as a reader, it doesn't seem like he did much. An example of a great police thriller for the Christian market would be J. Mark Bertrand's BACK ON MURDER. From page one, I felt like Bertrand knew and understood everything about police work. In THE BROTHERHOOD, Boone spends weeks and months researching the gang scene in Chicago, but that's all we learn. We learn nothing about what this research involved, or what Boone figured out.
Why I'm recommending this novel: Jenkins is at his best when he is writing about the suffering that Boone Drake goes through and the steps he takes to reclaim his life and relationship with God. Even though this book threw me off by not being a police thriller, I still found it to be an enjoyable and rewarding book because of the message.
If your life is rosy, you may not feel as much for the characters in this story, but for anyone who has ever experienced loss or dealt with grief, this book is for you. The novel follows the life of Chicago police officer Boone Drake--an exciting tale of cops and gangs, of death and love--this story will appeal to men and women alike. To sum it up in two words, this book is "real" and "hopeful." The main character's life is messy, not perfect--the kind of people I like to read about.
The cover mentions that this is a Precinct 11 novel. I sure hope that means Jenkins plans to make this a series, because I finished the last page, satisfied with the ending, yet wanting more.
If you have ever had a loss in life that was almost too much to bare, the healing messages throughout the beginning of the book will truly help if you have an open heart and want to heal your pain. The author will take you through a healing process which you will gladly travel unawares.
"The Family" elements in the second half of the book and story are really grabbing and I found myself covering every angle of the plan by the main character and his superiors. I felt like "Hannibal" from the "A-Team" rooting and thinking "I love it when a plan comes together!"
It starts smoothly enough, but by chapter three, I was nearly in tears (not typical for me, and certainly not typical for something from Jenkins). From here, I was hooked.
I tore through this book in a long evening, and would highly recommend it. Quite possibly, this is Jenkins' best one yet. Don't wait. Read the book.
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