Tempting God.

AuthorPoniewaz, Carrie May
PositionBook review

Tempting God By Daniel Dearing

Reviewed by Carrie May Poniewaz, Journal and News Law Clerk

A psycho killer's bizarre inner ramblings and inexplicable violence make it tempting to stop reading after only a few pages. But those who can get through the macabre beginning will appreciate the rest of this electrifying debut novel from The Florida Bar Journal's own editorial board member, Daniel Dearing.

Set in Tallahassee and the surrounding backwoods area, the story begins when a madman who gets messages from God out of the newspaper kidnaps the Florida governor and his entourage at gunpoint. The governor winds up bound and blindfolded with duct tape and hung from a pole in a creaky house, while the secretary of state and the rest of the traveling statespeople meet their gruesome demise on the road.

It looks like a hapless, tobacco-spitting trucker might have something to do with the deaths, so the trucker's employer contacts Billy Hines, a trial attorney who happens to be struggling with unpaid bills and legal apathy. The new case floods him with renewed confidence, and the book's exquisitely detailed narrative almost physically brings the reader into his world as the trial begins.

"The jury pool is seated in the courtroom. Billy is aware of their curiosity, feels their probing stares, hears their whispers. He doesn't think he knows any of them. If he scans their faces, who will he recognize?" He doesn't recognize any of them, but a sinister-looking creep in the audience certainly recognizes him. And the judge. And the victims for that matter, as well.

Jumping back and forth in time, the book's multiple story lines sometimes weave themselves into tangles or fray off at the ends without resolution, but the corpse-like madman Darius Tench is the common thread that tenuously holds them all together. This shadowy lurker first stepped into Hines' life as a client years earlier, after the unimaginably horrific murder of a young blind girl shocked...

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