Reviewed by Vennessa Ng
Double Minds by Terri Blackstock
"Blackstock expertly weaved entertainment and truth into a well crafted story which is bound to touch reader’s hearts."
As talented songwriter Parker James performs to a group of middle school children, an urgent text from her homicide detective brother, Gibson, appears on her phone. The notification that a murder has just taken place has Parker rushing from the concert to her workplace, Colgate Studios, where intern Brenna Evans has been found dead.
When Brenna’s true identity is revealed, Parker is drawn to the case. It soon becomes apparent that nothing is as it first seems. Parker’s home is broken into, strange messages are left, and it appears someone is following her.
Intertwined into the
story is a second, and in my opinion much stronger, plotline involving
Parker’s best friend and rising Christian singer,
Serene. As Serene’s songwriter, Parker is asked to rewrite the lyrics
to Serene’s latest songs when a secular music mogul offers Serene
a contract with the lure of an arena packed tour schedule. Parker struggles
to balance her calling to write songs of worship with Serene’s new
direction, which requires love songs. With the promise of a three song
spot on Serene’s tour, Parker gives in. Just when it seems her dream
of a chance at stardom is about to come true, it all threatens to come
crashing down. Can Parker save her professional reputation and career without
bringing scandal upon the Christian music industry?
I’m almost ashamed to admit Double Minds was my first Terri Blackstock read. Although The Sun-Coast Chronicles has been on my bookshelf for a couple of years, I have yet to indulge. I am now wondering what has taken me so long.
Double Minds isn’t purely a murder mystery. Although it pulls the reader straight into that storyline, leaving little time to brace oneself for the ride ahead, the second plotline contains many thought provoking situations.
Blackstock touched on several themes faced by Christian artists in today’s media. Parker’s dilemma of following her Christian calling or giving in to pressure to produce a more acceptable product for mass appeal is sure to resonate with many working within the music or literary industries. As Christian artists, we are often coerced to conform to today’s media expectations. Parker’s situation is a reminder to each of us that we must learn to stay in tune with God’s calling upon our lives, whether in the Christian or secular media.
Serene’s battle with anorexia and Parker’s brush with industry corruption both provided insight into how public image can be twisted by the paparazzi and those looking to exploit it for their own gain. As followers of Christ, we need to carefully examine how the public perceives us. I loved how Parker explored the possibility of Christian mediation as an alternative to a lawsuit when she was faced with theft and plagiarism issues.
Parker’s mother’s tough love toward her alcoholic husband also struck a chord with me. Although she continued to love him deeply, she was strong enough to recognise the poison he was injecting into her life and that of their children. She never turned her back on him completely, but forced him to face the damage he had inflicted upon the family via the repercussions of his actions.
Double Minds kept me
riveted from cover to cover. Blackstock expertly weaved entertainment
into a well crafted story which is bound
to touch reader’s hearts. I’ll be lining up to read more from
this talented author.
Vennessa Ng lives in New Zealand with her husband and three children. As an avid reader with a passion for Christian worldview fiction, she works to help authors improve their craft through her freelance editing service, Aotearoa Editorial Services (www.aotearoaeditorial.com), and helps publicize books and authors via her review site, Illuminating Fiction (www.illuminatingfiction.com). She has also reviewed for Focus On Fiction, Infuze Magazine, Novel Reviews, 1340 Magazine, and now TitleTrakk. In her spare time she pursues her own passion for writing and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.