Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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The Lost Sheep
by Brandt Dodson

Reviewed by Michael Ehret

"Don't expect any simple answers or trite solutions [in this book]. But do expect to see the reality of a God who cares about - and searches for - ever single lost sheep."

Colton Parker is still chasing bad guys as a private investigator – only this time the case is more personal. Much more personal. This time he’s searching for his runaway daughter, Callie, to rescue her before it is too late – if possible.

In the fourth Colton Parker book, Brandt Dodson further refines his hero, moving Parker away from his grief over the loss of his wife, Anna, and into the beginnings of a new relationship with FBI agent Mary Christopher.

But there’s precious little time to do more than acknowledge his growing affection for Mary before his troubled daughter, Callie, 15, still in pain over her mother’s death and her father’s withdrawal, leaves a voicemail on his answering machine. “Daddy, please don’t try to find me. Please.” And Parker’s on the case.

This is the first Colton Parker book I’ve read (it won’t be the last), but that did not lessen the thrill ride one bit. Dodson provides the essential background details, but mostly chugs the story forward through his use of the emotions any parent can relate to, while telling his story in the hard-nosed, first-person point of view of Parker, a P.I. not afraid to do anything to secure his daughter’s return, including quasi-legal – and illegal – techniques.

Setting is crucial in Dodson’s book. From my own years in Indianapolis, Indiana, I can tell Dodson has spent quite a bit of time there and Parker’s home base is a great location. Enough “big city” to provide the needed underbelly for a successful P.I. business, yet still small enough to provide the much needed anchor of home. But in this installment of the series, Callie’s disappearance leads Parker far from home and deep into the bowels of Sin City for the last two-thirds of the book.

The setting is an inspired choice for Dodson, since one of the themes of the book is redemption. Can God redeem even the lost souls of Las Vegas, struggling with greed, prostitution, drugs – and satanism? One of those redeemed souls will guide Parker – but will he find his daughter in time to keep her from becoming one of them and losing her soul – and her innocence?

Don’t expect any simple answers or trite solutions. But do expect to see the reality of a God who cares about – and searches for – every single lost sheep.

Michael Ehret is a music maven who has written about music, secular and Christian, as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star newspaper, several Internet sites, and even CCM magazine. He is also the editor of the newsletter Afictionado, the e-zine of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is testing the waters with his first novel, Beyond December, while working on his second, Skipping July.