Wednesday, May 6, 2009

According to Their Deeds by Paul Robertson - My Review

“Charles, I am armed with the English language, and I know how to use it.” (p. 223)

Dorothy and Charles Beale are the leading characters in Paul Robertson’s latest novel, According To Their Deeds. These two very lovely people have dealt in the purchase and sale of countless rare books, and their latest auction purchase from the estate of a deceased customer leads them into the heart of a very mysterious and convoluted plot built upon political intrigue and blackmail. The Beales have a heart fro both justice and mercy, and they soon find themselves associated with a group of people who prefer to deal in secrets and greed.

I have always preferred a story that is driven by clever dialogue. Paul Robertson is a master of this technique! According To Their Deeds is a story in which words are used powerfully and succinctly. The dialogue is clever and witty, and the descriptive passages are vivid and filled with imaginative comparisons. Indulge me as I share three of my favorites:

“Dorothy was behind the counter talking with a middle-aged, upper-class lady with a large middle and a larger upper.” ( p. 132)

“The pillars were a century old, and the stone ages old, and the light ageless, and what they all held was eternal.” (p. 145)

“A teapot of a man, short and stout, came bubbling and whistling toward them.” (p. 323)

The whole of Robertson’s tale is filled with a truly delightful and masterful use of the English language. The characters are strong and the plot increasingly complicated. Although the ending was a bit devastating to the heart of all those who adore books, the true criminal remained hidden in plain sight right up until the final pages! To me, that makes for a perfect ending!

I loved Angelo’s silence and Alice’s witty exchange with Mr. Beale as she reported the daily sale of rare titles. The play on words, the intelligent humor…it all held me in its spell throughout the story. The love between Mr. and Mrs. Beale was palpable and real, and its strength and underlying faith carried them through some heartbreaking trials. I highly recommend According To Their Deeds, and I will eagerly be seeking out more of Robertson’s work!

From the Back Cover:

Deadly Game of Justice Versus Mercy Charles Beale lives outside the shadow of Washington, D.C. Politics and power matter only when a client crosses the Potomac to visit his Alexandria Rare Books shop. But that all changes when a former client--a man deeply connected in the Justice Department--is found murdered after a break-in gone bad. When Charles reclaims at auction the books he'd once sold, he quickly discovers he's bought more trouble than he could have ever imagined. Inside one volume are secrets. A collection of sins that, if revealed, could destroy reputations, careers--even lives. Charles soon learns he isn't the only who knows. Going to the police means ruining a multitude of lives. But staying silent puts a target on his shop, his wife--and himself. Charles must decide: Should one mistake really cost you everything?

About the Author:
Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and the author of The Heir. He is also a former Christian bookstore owner (for 15 years), who lives with his family in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Please visit the publisher's website to learn more about this great book, read an excerpt, and find author interviews.

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