Reviews by Georgia

Playing Saint

By: Zachary Bartels

Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler

Brian Parker Saint is on his way to fame and fortune. Heralding from a family of ministers, he moved on from the church of his father and grandfather. Saint has a mega-church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is wrapping up a major book deal associated with national TV program. This will make him a star. But there is the problem of the assault charge leveled against him. In order to keep that out of the media he must agree to work with the Grand Rapids police department on a series of crimes. All seem to have a connection to Satanism and the judge agrees the good pastor could be of some help in the cases. This is not something Saint wants to do, but on the advice of his lawyer he agrees.

Reverend Saint is a TV evangelist, not an expert in theology. When asked a religious question he will excuse himself and do a google search. He figures he can “wing it” and bluff his way through the next couple of days until the real detectives solve the mysteries. But Detective Paul Ketcham is no pushover. He expects Saint in his office by 8:00 a.m. each morning and tells him to clear his calendar for the next two weeks.

Soon after his consulting services begin, three Jesuit priests appear at the home of Saint. He is instructed not to let Detective Ketcham know about their existence. The trio is not forthcoming as to why the Vatican has sent them. To ensure he cooperates and provides any information he obtains through his temporary assignment, they approach him with a bribe. The good pastor has been successful so far by telling people what they want to hear. But with these Vatican operatives, that will not be so easy. Father Michael, Father Xavier, and Father Ignatius are relentless and seem to know their stuff. Saint comes to the conclusion they may be of some help to him. He is still not sure he can totally trust them, but these cases involve satanic rituals and Saint is out of his league. The strange occult symbols on mutilated corpses are beginning to scare him. And when threats come to his personal phone number and eventually his home, he’s willing to stick close to the true clergy members.

Playing Saint involves a couple of storylines that are intertwined. The entertaining part is figuring out how they are related. The serial killer’s mindset surfaces, but the reader does not know who it is, or if it is one of the characters already introduced. A seed of doubt is planted if the demonic threat is real or imagined. Bartels writes an intriguing story, pulling the reader into solving the mystery of a serial killer.

Before picking up the book, I was advised there is a bit of a surprise ending.  I will include that spoiler with this review as it made me more aware of details while reading. Playing Saint is available in large print and can be found in that section of the library; LP BAR.

September 2017

 

 

Make Your Bed: Little Things that can Change Your Life...and Maybe the World

By: William H. McRaven

 

Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler    

 

If you want to change the world start your day with a task completed. Admiral William H. McRaven gives a list of ten things we can do to change our lives, and maybe the world. The author is retired from the U.S. Navy after serving thirty-seven years. He recalls his own experiences and relates them to things learned during his SEAL training. Each chapter is a simple life lesson.

 

His first suggestion is make your bed. If you start your day with a task completed and the next 24 hours fall apart, at least you have accomplished something.

His second is to find someone to help you paddle. Making friends gives us people to rely on when the going gets tough. Success depends on others. No man is an island.

Respect everyone and hold back on judgment. It's the size of one’s heart that matters; everything else pales in comparison.

Numbers four and five are “Life’s not fair,” and “Failure can make you stronger.” During training, an instructor would randomly single out a trainee for an uncomfortable punishment. The reason given; “life’s not fair and the sooner you learn that, the better off you will be.” In the same thread, teams were intentionally set up for failure. True leaders found strength from their mistakes and came out stronger and better.

Take a risk, try something new and push your limits. You’ll never know if you never try.

Stand up to bullies. They thrive on fear and intimidation. Find the courage to fight. You may not always win, but by setting the stage, others may follow and the goal may be realized.

The next two go hand in hand. Practice being your best so you can rise to the occasion when the time comes and give others hope. No one is immune from dark moments. Sometimes all it takes is one person to start a movement and give people hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

And finally never, ever give up. Life is filled with difficulties, but quitting is not the answer. Find a way to adjust your sails to meet the wind and don't give up.

 

The book is based on a commencement speech McRaven gave at the University of Texas at Austin, his alma mater, to the graduating class of 2014. To the nearly 8000 students graduating that day, he wanted to impart the wisdom of how changing the lives of just a few could make an impact on the world.

 

This easy to read book provides words of encouragement along with practical advice. It can be found in the nonfiction section of the library; 179.6 MCR.

 

August 2017