Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lest Ye Be Judged by David C. Trimble

Lest Ye Be Judged is David C. Trimble's first novel, and as a story, all I can say is "Wow!" What else can you expect when the subject matter is about a murder of a Bishop? Dunstan Mitchell, a liberal Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Kentucky, and not a very nice or godly one at that, stepped on too many people's toes when he pressed his agenda too hard. It's apparent that he's a liability to the Church and needs to be eliminated. Somebody murders him, and his body is found weeks later in the pool of a prominent Judge who hated him. As the story unfolds, many shocking and surprising secrets and scandals are revealed.

It's a great story, but unfortunately it wasn't told as well as I hoped it would be. The characters were interesting, but I couldn't relate to any of them. There were a few protagonists, but no strong ones, and the character developments didn't make sense to me. I wasn't sure who the good guys or the bad guys were supposed to be because there weren't any strong protagonists, or antagonists for that matter. Perhaps the storyline made it hard to have a particular protagonist to relate to, but it threw me out on a loop because of that. It's only late in the book that I realized, "Oh, I'm supposed to take the side of so-and-so." There were a couple of characters who I thought could have played bigger roles, and some who I thought behaved out of character.

Also, while I loved the ending, there was some parts of it that I found a little unrealistic; some of the characters behaved very uncharacteristically here, and I thought it went on just slightly longer than it should have. I would have loved the ending more if it stopped right after we found out who killed the Bishop. The events after that seemed unnecessary to me.

Other than that, I loved the book. Trimble's description of places and events are very thorough and vivid. He obviously did a lot of research and took great pains to make sure he got his facts right especially with the finding of the body and the post-mortem descriptions. The book was pretty slow-moving in the beginning, but once the trial started, things got really fast-paced and interesting. It's a great story, and as far as plots go, one of the best I have ever read. Lest Ye Be Judged tells a intriguing story of how power and politics go head to head in a religious setting, and the things people are able to do to protect their faith and beliefs.


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