Two crime paperbacks in two weeks. Unlike Jacqui, who for some unaccountable reason enjoys reading novels featuring murder and domestic violence, I tend to stay clear of this literary genre. But when you are stuck on a Ryanair plane for four hours you will read anything.
So I picked up “Started early, took my dog” written by Kate Atkinson. Recommended not just by Sheila Stewart but by Richard and Judy. So it had to be good.
And it was a good read. A well-conceived plot set in two parallel time frames, with a neat denouement as everything finally comes together at the end. Thankfully I read it over a short time, unusual for me, so that I could remember who everyone was, important for the plot.
However, it was grim. Life in the world created by Ms Atkinson is utterly meaningless. All the characters are deeply unhappy, especially as they are ravaged by life. Any breaks come from the random fall of the dice – coincidence plays an important part in her plot. Nevertheless, her world is devoid of hope for God is totally absent.
The apostle Paul could have been speaking: “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12.
My second book (which I am still reading) is just as violent and troubled. A young man brought up in a sink council estate who fails to seize any of the few opportunities open to him. Instead is swallowed up by drugs and crime. You watch the tragedy unfold as he is arrested for armed robbery, condemned to a life of imprisonment and despair.
But unexpectedly in prison he is given a break– and remarkably, against all the odds, he begins to change, his life starts to flourish. Not only that but he becomes a powerful help to his peers.
He soon finds his stride and becomes an inspiration to a world in terrible need. For God, no less, is at work.
The good news is that this second book, “Unreachable” by Darrell Tunningley, is not a novel – it is real life. It is set in the same creation that you and I inhabit. And Darrell will be telling his story at our Alpha launch this coming Thursday in the Ministry Centre at 8.00 pm.
I would like to invite Kate, to share with her the good news that this creation is not lost but is being redeemed by our Creator. Love triumphs in the most dire of places, as demonstrated by the
resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God is not just active in
this world: he longs to fill our lives with joy and hope. And that, folks, is Good News! A gospel to share with all those who believe they live in the world of Ms Atkinson.
You can buy copies of Darrell’s book on the church bookstall, an inspiring read.