Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 8/17/2012
About the book: When a brilliant billionaire is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, he realizes that all his considerable wealth cannot prepare him to meet his Maker. But he has an idea that might: he will stage the ultimate reality show. With his true agenda hidden, he auditions followers from all the world's major religions, inviting them to the trial of their lives on a remote island, where they must defend their beliefs against spiritual challenges.Oliver Finney, a feisty old judge with his own secrets, is chosen to defend Christianity. As the program takes a strange twist, he quickly realizes he is trapped in a game of deadly agendas that may cost him his life. With Internet access monitored, Finney sends coded messages to his law clerk, Nikki Moreno. Aided by a teen crypto-geek, Nikki soon discovers the key to understanding Finney’s clues in an apologetics book Finney wrote and must race against time to decipher the mysteries contained in the ancient words of Christ before her boss dies defending them.
My thoughts: I have read several of Randy Singer's books and he is a fine writer and man. I appreciate his dedication to his craft of writing and to his practice of law. Did you know that he is also a pastor? Hmmm... did you wonder why he wrote such spiritually grounded books? Well, when I received "The Judge" to review and to participate in the blog tour, little did I expect the twist and turns this story would take me on. I did not anticipate the level of intensity with which the characters were required to defend their faith.
The story begins with a very wealthy man who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer with a year to live. He has no faith. He is enthralled with the current "rage" on TV of reality shows and decides to fund a reality show called "Faith on Trial." Candidates for the Faith on Trial show represent several of the major religions of the world - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, a non-believing scientist, and a Christian. At the end of the show, the "faith" that wins is the faith this wealthy man will choose to die believing. Then he virtually exits the story line, though he does follow afar off.
The candidates are flown to an unidentified (to them) island and allowed no contact with the outside world. They are put on trial for their faith and must defend it. It is set up like a court room and they are interrogated. Before long it becomes clear to the characters, especially Oliver Finney, the Christian in the group, that all is not well and they are pawns in a game that does not seem legal or ethical.
Oliver Finney (the character who is "The Judge") is a student of variety of codes, has written books with embedded codes in them, and has discovered embedded codes in classic books. His former law clerk, Nikki Moreno, is a beautiful young lady whose code-breaking skills are sorely lacking. Enter Wellington Farmington, a young, very intelligent geek who skillfully breaks codes and helps Nikki discover the ways and means that Oliver Finney has found to communicate with her about the odd happenings on the Island.
This twisted and turning plot uncovers hatred and desire for revenge. But mostly it covers the testimony of a man of faith as he, knowing he has only a few months himself to live, defends his faith in Christ to the death.
Randy Singer also wrote "The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ" which would probably be a good book to read in conjunction with "The Judge." "The Judge" was formerly published in 2006 under the title of "The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney."
A requisite for participating in the review of this book and the blog tour was that I would "Answer: How do you defend your faith?". My answer is that I don't know how I would defend my faith when placed in circumstances of life and death. I hope that I would be able to give a soft answer that rings true to my faith in my Lord Jesus Christ. I could not stand up to the brilliant scientist who scoffs because I "believe" in the unseen. Nor could I explain that my heart and mind belong to the Lord who is my Rock, my Sustainer, my Salvation, my Lord, my God simply because I hold dear that each word of the Word of God, the Bible, is true and is a gift from God to mankind. My defense of my faith is my belief in God and in my Savior and in the truth that is His Word.
About the author: Randy Singer is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. He has authored 10 legal thrillers, including the 2003 Christy Award-winning Directed Verdict, Irreparable Harm, Dying Declaration, Self Incrimination, The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney, False Witness, By Reason of Insanity (2009 Christy Nominee), The Justice Game (CBA Bestseller), and Fatal Convictions as well as the novella, The Judge Who Stole Christmas. He has also authored or co-authored three nonfiction titles. Randy runs his own law practice and was recently named to Virginia Business magazine’s select list of “Legal Elite” litigation attorneys. He also serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, VA. He calls it is “Jekyll and Hyde thing”—part lawyer, part pastor. He teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School. Visit his Web site at www.randysinger.net.
My review of Randy Singer's book The Last Plea Bargain can be found here.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a copy of The Judge by Randy Singer by Tyndale Publicity to facilitate my honest, unbiased review. I was under no obligation to render a positive review.