Oh my. I just finished this book, and all I can say is, this is the first suspense/crime/mystery novel I’ve ever read that left me in tears at the end. I don’t want to say a lot about this book, because obviously, spoilers really ruin suspense stories, but I will say that if you enjoy Christian fiction and/or suspense in the least, this is a must-read.
I’m actually not a big reader of suspense, mainly because I don’t enjoy being frightened at all. However, when I saw They Shall See God on display outside of the church library where I attend Bible study, I wanted to read it because I will be reading another Athol Dickson novel later in the year for the Semicolon Book Club. I am not a fan of violence of any sort (neither watching nor reading about it), and while this book does contain a fair amount of violence, I persevered through that because I was so intrigued by the story: a female Jewish rabbi and a widowed mother witnessed a murder together when they were children and best friends. The rabbi, Ruth, and the widow, Kate, now are forced to renew their acquaintance with each other when the man they helped convict is released from prison and people begin to be murdered in very strange ways. Most of them are somehow connected to the temple where Ruth serves as rabbi. Kate is a Christian, albeit a very disenchanted one, and the events that transpire in this story make both Ruth and Kate question their faith. This story deals with several difficult issues: the nature of evangelism, hate crimes, grief, and betrayal.
The story ends with an epilogue that explains a little about how Athol Dickson came up with the premise for his story. I found this little historical sketch to be very moving, and so I will end with a short portion of the epilogue in which he describes a Jewish cemetery in New Orleans:
But one of the old graves in this Jewish resting place bears a most unusual inscription, even for the Crescent City. The words are not from the Torah, but were first spoken two thousand years ago on a small hillside in Israel:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
No one remembers why or how a weathered old tombstone in a Jewish cemetery came to bear the words of Jesus, but if it’s true that God wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves, one thing seems certain:
They’re bound to be telling the story up in heaven. (434)
Reading They Shall See God has made me realize that I might be missing something by ignoring much of the Christian fiction that is being published. I will definitely add the rest of his novels to my TBR list!
(Click here if you’d like to visit Athol Dickson’s website.)