Reviewed by C.J. Darlington
By Reason of Insanity by Randy
"The verdict is in---Randy Singer is guilty of writing some of the best legal fiction on the market."
Randy Singer is fast making a name for himself in the world of Christian books. Over the last five years he’s written six novels (the first of which, Directed Verdict, won a Christy award) and authored or co-authored three nonfiction titles. As if that’s not enough, he’s also a member of a successful law firm and a pastor at his church. And then there’s that teaching gig at Regent University Law school and a guest host spot on Sirius Radio Channel 161. Randy Singer is indeed a man of many talents.
Many of the hats he wears come to play in his latest legal thriller, By Reason of Insanity. Catherine “Cat” O’Rourke is a rising star of an investigative reporter in Virginia Beach. She digs deep and isn’t afraid to tell the truth, even if it hurts. When a serial kidnapper/murderer preys on the innocent, Catherine finds herself investigating the killer, who the community calls the Avenger of Blood. She’ll do anything she can to help put the killer behind bars. But when she publishes a key piece of information given to her by a reliable source, Cat finds herself in serious hot water. Refusing to reveal who clued her in for moral reasons, a judge quickly decrees she’s hindering the investigation, and Cat finds herself behind bars.
Her “trials” are just beginning. While in jail Cat has more than one vivid dream of the Avenger which contains information only someone very familiar with the murders would know. When she’s released she finally shares her visions with the authorities, and things really begin to unravel now. Accused of the murders, she’s thrown in prison again. How can the police possibly think she’s a killer? But then again, how could she otherwise know what she knows? And what about the forensic evidence linking her to the murders? Could she be insane?
By Reason of Insanity is a rich novel that not only takes you deep into the crevices of the legal profession, but it also gives realistic glimpses into prison life. We are Cat. We feel her pain. We root for her all the way. Hers isn’t the only story Singer chronicles. Attorney Quinn Newburg, an expert in the insanity defense, is facing his own demons. He’s given almost equal page time with Cat, and he also becomes a full, three-dimensional character, the true sign of great writing.
There’s a lot going on in this novel, but Singer handles the twists and turns with skill. A sub-plot involving a greedy casino owner gets a little complicated, but it is needed to bring the story full circle. Spiritually, Singer has taken the light-handed route. Scriptural truths are woven throughout. A psychiatrist witness is clearly but not blatantly a Christian. Story takes center stage.
Singer has crafted a masterful piece of fiction in By Reason of Insanity, and we’re wondering until the very end whether Cat truly is sane. There’s no skimping on the ending either. Everything is brought together in ways you’ll never guess.
The verdict is in---Randy Singer is guilty of writing some of the best legal fiction on the market.
C.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.