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Book Review: The Witness by Dee Henderson

This is the last entry where I write about The Witness for a while, but I needed the review writing practice.

I fell in love with Dee Henderson's writing in the beginning of my first year of college. From the instant I picked up The Negotiator, her writing style engaged me and kept me coming back for more. The O'Malley series showed attention to each character, a strong sense of suspense and a thread of faith that did not preach, but didn't hide either. All of these elements are present in Henderson's latest novel, The Witness.


One of the most common comments I hear from people I recommend these books to is "Wow, she really cares about the characters." Indeed, when Henderson writes about her books, she often writes about each character as if that character was actually alive. I usually find myself relating to the characters in each book and feeling a sense of loss when the book is over and my interaction with the characters ends. I fell in love with the main characters in the witness. Connor, Marie, Tracy, Marsh, Daniel, Caroline Luke and other supporting characters became my friends. Each character has depth and is human. In many Christian books, I find that the characters are almost too perfect. That does not happen in The Witness or any of the other books Henderson writes. Knowing each character helps me care about the story and stay engaged until the end. However, the process of getting to know the characters is not all lumped into chapter one. In many books, this happens and makes the first chapter boring. From the beginning, the action is fast paced and interesting while still allowing the reader to get to know the characters.

The sense of suspense is strong in The Witness. There are times when I thought "Oh, good! I can relax now." Just then, something happened and I once again started to wonder what had really happened and if everyone would make it through the book. Henderson uses a lot of showing and less telling. We get to see the scene from the eyes of one of the characters. We do not have any more information than the characters do, although sometimes we know something one character knows, but another does not. This leaves me questioning everything that happens and wanting to know more.

Finally, the element of faith is nicely handled. The book does not preach at the reader. Faith is definitely a topic of discussion between the characters, but it is not forced down the reader's throat in any fashion. I liked that aspect of other books written by Dee Henderson, but this book is even less intrusive. The characters face huge problems and they do not pretend that faith makes everything easy, simple or okay. I struggle with questions of faith. Some books make me feel guilty for having questions, but this book did not. The yucky stuff is not glossed over; the images and comments are strong. However, as with all of Dee Henderson's books, the message that there is hope in God is skillfully handled.

A huge draw for me is that Dee Henderson seems to make the effort to make her books accessible. If you visit her web site, you'll not only see links to buy regular print editions, but also find links to abridged and unabridged audio and large print editions. If you click on the link for the unabridged audio of The Witness, you will find the regular CD edition, but on that page is a link to the mp3 CD version. That is the edition I bought, and it is Daisy formatted. Visit her web site at
www.deenederson.com

Comments

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johnmill79
Mar. 1st, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)
Hi, found your journal through a friend, great review! I'm becoming interested in doing that too, so I suppose I can learn a thing or two from you. lol
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