cover image The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips

The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips

Stephen Baldwin, with Mark Tabb. . Faith Words, $13.99 (301pp) ISBN 978-0-446-19699-4

In recent years, Baldwin (The Unusual Suspect ) has put his acting career on the back burner in order to develop his Christian ministry. Not surprisingly, his foray into fiction writing is part detective movie and part sermon. Religious fiction sometimes sacrifices plot development to preach a message, and Baldwin, unfortunately, is unable to avoid this temptation. The lead character, Det. Andy Myers, responds to a call and finds a boy he knows who appears to have been brutally murdered. The boy's father, an ex-con and recent born-again Christian, does not seem to be fazed by his son's death, believing him to now be in a better place with God. Myers is appalled by the father's lack of emotion and goes on a crusade to make sure he is convicted of his son's murder. Myers is the most three-dimensional character in the book and is developed with some skill. But he is surrounded by a number of unbelievable figures who obfuscate an uneven plot that ultimately does not satisfy. (Nov. 5)