Saturday, May 7, 2011

Judgment Day

For me, the test of a good book is how I feel when I get to the last page. If I don't want the story to end, I consider the book a good one. Attributes like literary value, escape value or quality of writing can nudge a good book into great book territory, but all I really need in order to be satisfied is the desire to spend more time with the people within the books' pages.

Wanda Dyson's Judgment Day left me with that feeling. I hadn't read a mystery/suspense novel in a long time, so when I picked up the book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was intrigued by both the profession and the characterization of Suzanne Kidwell, who begins the book as a bully, but quickly becomes a victim. Dyson's characterization of Suzanne and the other major players did not disappoint. By the time I got to the final pages of the book, I was excited to find an advertisement for another book by the same author.

I sometimes had difficulty keeping track of the players outside the inner circle, though, and Dyson's characterization of them was thinner than I would have liked. This was especially true in the cases of Alex's parents and Suzanne's father-in-law-to-be. While I realize that in a book of this genre, characterization sometimes takes a back seat to action and plot, these players spent enough time on the canvas, and had a substantial enough impact on the key characters in the book to be worth a little more depth. Willard Mandeville in particular was very one-note, despite the fact that he appeared often enough for Dyson to have made him more complex and interesting. 

Christian themes (forgiveness, good vs. evil) were apparent in this novel, but Judgment Day's Christian element wasn't an integral enough part of the story for me to truly consider this book Christian fiction. The most obvious Christian reference in the book was so convenient as to make me feel manipulated, which made the reactions that arose from it feel inauthentic.

Overall, however, Judgment Day was a good read, earning high marks as a page turner, particularly toward the end of the novel. When I finished the book, I wanted to read more about Suzanne, Marcos and Alex, so I'm hoping Wanda Dyson has another good book in mind with them in it.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)


  1. Nice review. I have such an loooong to-read list.

  2. Me too! I have barred myself from buying any more books until I make a dent in the pile I already have!