Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Derailed by Dave and Neta Jackson - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Worthy Publishing (October 8, 2013)
Dave and Neta Jackson


As a husband/wife writing team, we are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together we are the authors or coauthors of over 120 books. (You can see our Publication Record by clicking HERE.) In addition to writing several books about Christian community, we have been privileged to coauthor numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

But over the years the we have especially enjoyed writing for children and young people! This includes our award-winning TRAILBLAZER series, historical fiction about great Christian heroes and heroines for young people ages 8-12, and the four-volume HERO TALES: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Great Christians, and the companion book, Heroes in Black History.

Somewhere along the way, our own children grew up! Son Julian is Director of Experience Design for the Alder Planetarium in Chicago where he “provides the experience of exploring space” for visitors. He has two sons, Liam Isaac and Elijah David. Daughter Rachel graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and after working in the field of rape-crisis prevention went on to earn a Masters Degree in counseling from the University of Illinois. She is now a counselor at “Uni High School” in Champaign, Illinois. She is the loving mother of Havah Noelle (our first grandchild!) and Noah Zion, our youngest grandchild. The Jackson family also includes a Cambodian foster daughter, Samen Sang, who has four children.

We live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years we were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. We are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.


Forced to give up his hard-earned retirement, Harry Bentley goes back to work as a detective. Receiving a bizarre undercover assignment that sends him across the country by train. Things suddenly go awry when it appears one of his new neighbors may be part of a smuggling ring and suspicion rises about his own son’s involvement in a major drug cartel. The second in the Windy City Neighbors series, Derailed is a contemporary, and often humorous, tale in an urban setting, featuring ordinary people wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. Intersecting with Grounded (book one), the Jacksons employ their innovative storytelling technique of “parallel novels.” Though each book follows its own drama and story arc, the characters’ lives become intertwined and affect one another. Derailed transports you to Beecham Street—a typical, isolated American neighborhood . . . until hope moves in.

My Thoughts:
Lately, I’d been blaming God for derailing all my plans.  But Estelle’s prayer reminded me that it wasn’t all about me.” (p. 226)

I love Harry Bentley!  And his precious wife Estelle is a prayer warrior like few I’ve ever met in my lifetime!  I know, these are fictional characters, but Dave and Neta Jackson have made them transparently REAL as believers, and their journey is one that everyone who has known the Lord any length of time will relate to.  Sometimes it seems like every part of our lives is derailed into one monstrous train wreck, and try though we might, there seems to be no way to untangle the mess or heal the damage.  But GOD….

He alone IS the master of life and all of its derailments.  His ways are higher than ours, and we must learn, step by step to trust and obey Him through all of the unexpected change of plans.  Harry and Estelle face a host of these derailments in this Windy City novel, and each time they lift it to the Lord and receive his answer – no matter the way it comes to them.  I LOVE to hear Estelle pray!!  Almost as much as Harry does, I think!  DaShawn and Rodney also take their place in my heart as they must re-forge their relationship.  I love the way Harry re-enters his role with the police force and the satisfying results in his heart and life on so many different levels. 

I don’t want to spoil a moment of this precious novel, but I must say that the Jacksons have once again created a host of characters that you will be drawn to, and will come to love and care for.  Truly, this is a rare and precious gift.  If you want to “see” a real, raw and vibrant relationship with Christ walked out through a host of unexpected derailments, get on board and hang on for the ride of your life! I strongly recommend Derailed – the second installment of the Windy City Neighbors!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Derailed, go HERE.

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