In The Collins Case by Julie C. Gilbert, Dr. Rachel Collins is busy putting away her groceries when a stranger sneaks up on her and orders her to cooperate, or her two children, 3-year-old Emily and 5-year-old Jason, will suffer. The man gives Rachel an injection that knocks her out, and she wakes up the next day in the Cora Compound in Stanley County, South Dakota. Meanwhile, Rachel’s husband, Chris, also Dr. Collins, comes home after a long day at the hospital to find his family missing. He starts to call his cop friend, but hangs up almost immediately. Right then his phone rings, and a voice he hasn’t heard for years tells him that if he doesn’t meet the man on the Brooklyn Bridge, Chris’s family will suffer. So Chris blows up his house and disappears.
Monday morning Ann Davidson goes into her job at the FBI, where her partner, Patrick Duncan, shows her a newspaper article that her college friend, Rachel, has disappeared with her family. So Ann takes off for Pennsylvania for a few days to investigate on her own. But she can’t stay long because the man in charge of their unit at the FBI calls an urgent meeting. Someone investigates the biggest attack on the banking system in the U.S., taking anywhere between three cents and $4 from anyone with an online banking account, leading to a multi- billion dollar haul.
The narrative goes back and forth between Ann’s perspective and that of Rachel. Both have to rely on both their inner strength and their faith in God. Many Christian fictional books tend to preach or tell the readers that a life following God will now be ideal. But in this book, the Christians live out their faith realistically, struggling to trust God despite not seeing his purpose in the situation. I liked the statement of Ann’s thoughts one day, reminding herself that God will avenge, but asking God to allow her just one swing. But the book also shows people who refuse to accept God and his help. Further, we see how Christians don’t have a perfect life and that even though Christians have God, that doesn’t stop bad things from happening to them. As a Christian who suffers from a severe pain disorder, I can relate to the frustration of not seeing God’s purpose in difficult situations, but I also can see the need to trust him, as the characters in this book are forced to do.
The plot of this book moves quickly and excitingly, but it didn’t give me the added tension that a typical thriller would do. I found myself getting invested in the story and appreciating the way the book kept us connected to the story and the characters. There were some interesting twists that kept me glued to the book.
The audio version of this book is performed by Kristin Condon. She has a soft, gentle voice that suits this recording well. I did find it annoying that the recording played music at the start of each chapter. I much prefer not to interrupt the flow of the narrator’s voice with music or sound effects, as I use my audiobooks to relax, and I don’t like the disruption. But Condon’s performance was very strong.
The Collins Case was a very interesting book, with great angles to the plot. I do rather suspect a couple details were not fully accurate to real law enforcement, but I can’t talk about those without giving away spoilers. I think this book is especially great for Christians, to encourage them in their faith. I’m not sure if non-Christians would find the discussions of faith off-putting, but I suspect that would depend upon the individual reading the book. I really did enjoy this book and give it four stars.
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Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the author, but that had no effect at all on the content of my review.