The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer

The Last Plea Bargain
by Randy Singer

In case you didn’t see it check out the book trailer I shared earlier. Interested? Now onto the review.

Randy Singer is a gifted writer and story-teller who writes with an insider’s perspective. Sure most of us have seen our fair share of Law and Order but that doesn’t give you the kind of knowledge that an experienced trial-lawyer like Randy Singer brings to the table.

The Last Plea Bargain starts with the death of the former showgirl and young wife of Caleb Tate, one of the most famous defense lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. The circumstances look suspicious. A young prosecutor, Jamie Brock, who is known for her insistence on taking her cases to trial and not settling for a plea bargain that lessens the punishment for a criminal simply to grease the wheels of the justice system, takes this case as her personal mission. Not simply to seek justice for the victim, but also because Caleb Tate, the lawyer, also defended the man Jamie is convinced murdered her mother and nearly killed father just a few years earlier.

The story takes you through her own quest for justice while struggling to keep from falling prey to simply seeking vengeance. It reveals her own personal struggle, made even more difficult when she is confronted with unexpected revelations. She is left without knowing who to turn to for help. She is forced to question the very things and people she has most trusted in life.

The story is great. It will draw you in. It will keep you guessing right to the very end.

Also, one of the elements I had most appreciated about previous books I had read by Randy Singer was his ability to take a particular social issue (for example responsibility for gun control) and put it in narrative that forces you to question your presuppositions on the topic. The Last Plea Bargain does this as well with the issue of the death penalty. This issue just jumped back into the public consciousness with Amnesty International’s release of their 2011 report on the global use of capital punishment with the USA at #5. Where do you stand on this issue? Why? The narrative of the Last Plea Bargain will take you into the issue and examine the logic and emotions on both sides of the debate.

To speak critically though, a few of the  turns in the plot seemed a little forced. While plausible they were just a bit of a stretch in my opinion. There is a skill an author has that keeps you guessing, unable to predict the end all along, yet once you get to the end you think back and say “ahh!! how did I not see that?” I didn’t feel like that was the case here. The turns came but not as tightly wound as I would have preferred.

In the end it is a wonderful book. I would gladly recommend it for someone looking for an enjoyable and exciting legal novel.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free evaluation copy of this book from Tyndale House. I did not receive any monetary payment nor was I required to write a positive review. I hope my comments about the book will help you evaluate whether or not the book is worth purchasing and reading.


Trailer: The Last Plea Bargain

One of the fun things I’ve been able to do as part of this blog is to review a number of interesting books. Soon I will be posting a full review of The Last Plea Bargain as part of a blog tour for Tyndale House. Next week I’ll be posting some excerpts of a Q&A with the author Randy Singer. Also, I will share some links to other bloggers’ reviews of this book.

Until then, here is the trailer for The Last Plea Bargain:

Interested? You can pick up the book at Amazon here: The Last Plea Bargain

Review: God’s Century

Last fall I read the book God’s Century. I really benefited from the book and felt the authors did a very good job of analyzing the role that religious actors can and do play in international affairs. They also provide a theoretical framework for helping to understand why a particular religious group in a particular setting acts the way that it does.

I wrote a review for e-International Relations and you can view it in full there: Review – God’s Century

Here is the conclusion to my review:

What will the next century look like? Will it be appropriate to label it “God’s Century?” We can’t know for sure but the trends appear to indicate that religion and religious actors will be significant in the shaping of the political landscape. Toft, Philpott, and Shah offer insight that governments would be wise to heed in their policies and actions. The final chapter is structured around their 10 Rules for Surviving God’s Century directed specifically at Western politicians and policy makers that is summarized in their conclusion:

“Only if policymakers in the United States and other Western societies come to understand that religion matters and how religion matters in global politics will they enjoy strategic success in engaging those contexts – including their own countries – where God’s political comeback will not soon be reversed.” (4716)

Wednesday 2.22.12

How to Boost Your Reading Comprehension – Do you find you have more to read than you can ever possibly finish? Do you actually take time to chew on what you read? There is a certain amount of value of being able to read and understand lots but it is easy to get lost in the flood and never profit from all you read. This article has some good tips for managing your reading work flow.

Five Thoughts on Vocation – A few brief thoughts on what the theology of vocation is and why it is so important that we see not just the “spiritual” acts of our life but all of life as before the face of God.

Finally, the theology of vocation is fundamentally about who we are created to be – both as human beings in general, and as specific creatures.

Review: Islam Without Extremes – a good overview of a book I’m really excited about Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty that summarizes some of its main arguments and shows why the book is valuable.

I honestly think it is one of the most important books of 2011; if you have any serious interest in Islam and its future, do make sure you read this.

Secularism: Its Content and Context – this is a pretty heavy article but makes some really interesting and strong points about what secularism should be and how it should be argued for. He, in a very interesting way, argues against relativism in a way that I really resonated with. While there are some areas of disagreement with the author I really liked the piece overall. (I’d recommend reading the full article, though a heavy 35 pages) because this excerpt just gets started on the good stuff!)

Why Church Matters by Joshua Harris

Why Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God
by Joshua Harris

Do you go to church? Yes? Okay, why?

This book helps you answer that question. It is aimed to help restore your vision for what the church is all about and what your role is in relation to a real and tangible local church – you know “the church down the street” (the phrase he uses for the local church that you attend).

Joshua Harris first gained notoriety in the Evangelical world for his books on relationships (“I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship“) in the early 2000s. He has since become the senior pastor of a growing church in MD and has written a few other books.

This book has echos of his early books on relationships. It opens with the reality of what we are missing out on when we don’t commit to the relationship and what we get to be a part of when we do commit. It is a call to not be a “church dater.”

Why should you commit? Why is the church important?

The strongest argument I know for why you and I should love and care about the Church is that Jesus does. The greatest motivation we could ever find for being passionately committed to the church is that Jesus is passionately committed to the Church. (Loc. 265)

It is pretty hard to argue with that logic. If Jesus loves the Church then we should too.

But that’s the “Church.” What about “the church down the street”? It has got problems you know. Well, you know what? Problems are part of what makes the church wonderful. It is where God’s wisdom is on full display. “It’s the powerful effects of the Gospel being worked out in real lives and real relationships” (Loc. 280). The Gospel changes individuals. That is wonderfully amazing. What makes the church special is that it is where you see a whole new kind of humanity on display. A whole community of people who should be divided – by race, by class, by political ideology – all brought together into one body (Loc. 283).

The early part of the book is trying to answer the “why” question of loving the church. The end gets more practical with some suggestions for “how” to love the church. It means coming not for what you can get but for what you can give. It means being a part of the church more than just for those two hours on Sunday morning. It is about living out the “one another” commands in the context of “shared life.” It means coming to actively listen and be transformed by the preaching of the Word. Harris shares a quotation from John Piper who “encourages his church to ‘come on the lookout for God and leave on the lookout for people” (Loc. 1048). This what life in the church should look like. People transformed by their individual relationship with God, loving others out of the overflow.

This book is really just a call to care about the Church – including the church down the street – because Jesus cares about the Church.

It isn’t a deep theology of the church. Those are out there if you want them. It isn’t long. It is conversational and really is easy reading. It is a relationship book. It’s about the relationship between you and the church.


DISCLAIMER: I received a free evaluation copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah. I did not receive any monetary payment nor was I required to write a positive review. I hope my comments about the book will help you evaluate whether or not the book is worth purchasing and reading.