Book Review: The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips

Responding to what promised to be a routine domestic call in the wee hours of the morning; police officer Andy Meyers was shocked to discover a dead child lying in a pool of blood. Worse, Meyers knew Gabriel Phillips, the eight-year-old victim through his affair with the boy’s mother. As Meyers struggled to maintain his professionalism he couldn’t help but be deeply disturbed by the boy’s father, John. Unlike other parents who fell apart at the news of their child’s death, John was strangely remote, barely reacting to the sight of his boy covered in blood, saying only that Gabriel had gone home to the Lord. As the investigation went on, Meyers vowed to Gabriel’s mother and himself to see that John paid for his crime.

Narrated by the son Meyers abandoned when he learned of his wife’s pregnancy, the story starts out with an understandable edge of hostility at his father befriending someone else’s child. As the narration continues, that hostility becomes more tempered as father and son accept Christ resulting in a novel that is less a mystery and more like low-key proselytization. The climax has an interesting if highly unlikely twist with just a few too many coincidences to ring true but Christian readers will find plenty to enjoy here.

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