Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Review: A Higher Court by John L. Betcher

Prepare yourself for a trial like none you've ever witnessed before when you pick up a copy of A Higher Court by John L. Betcher.

William Kensey is a well-respected and successful trial attorney. When his father is accidentally killed by a woman driving an SUV, William is concerned by his lack of emotion over his father's passing. A regular church-goer, he has been learning about God and heaven since he was a child, but the "memorized dogma" left him feeling skeptical. Did he believe in God? He just wasn't sure.

He receives a summons for jury duty for a week from that coming Monday. Little does William know that he's one of several people selected to serve during a special trial to prove, or disprove, the existence of God.

Wow! My opinion is summed up in that tiny three-letter word. It's only January 7th and I'm ready to say that A Higher Court is the one book you have to read this year.

John L. Betcher, author of The Missing Element, The 19th Element, and the Little Black Book of Volleyball Coaching, has written an amazing novel unlike anything I've ever read before.

A character with a crisis of faith is nothing new in the world of fiction, but having that character, along with a diverse group of others, sitting on a jury panel where the very existence of God is being, that's original.

From the moment I opened this book, I was hooked. The reader can't help but sympathize with William Kensey's plight. He's just lost his father, but he's distracted by his lack of emotion over the incident. Suddenly, he's not sure what he believes anymore, but it's not because he's angry with God over what happened. He's just not sure God is really there--in fact, he's never really been sure.

The trial is one unlike Kensey has ever been part of before. The proceedings are unusual, the jury selection process is highly irregular, and despite being in a room with many others, Kensey is only able to see and interact with a select few.

Betcher did a fine job in creating a cast of characters, whether they be jurors, the judge, the witnesses, or the attorneys, whose differences and similarities provided the necessary conflict for the story. In addition, while A Higher Court puts the existence of God on trial, the way the story unfolds and the information/evidence is presented, the author's true feelings on the subject aren't necessarily clear to the reader. I think that's something that is difficult to do--providing an unbiased view of such a controversial subject--yet, Betcher makes it seem easy.

Most people know by now that I don't care for surprise endings. I often come away feeling that the author has purposely tried to dupe me, though that's probably not the case. In this instance, however, the outcome is perfect. I didn't have to stretch my imagination to see it unfolding in the way it did. I didn't feel that the author had led me down one road when I should have been taking another.

I believe A Higher Court will appeal to a diverse group of people. Yes, it's the age-old battle of Science versus God, Evolution versus Creation, but not only is this a unique way to approach it, you are witness to jury deliberations, and therefore, it provokes your mind to consider possibilities outside of your comfort zone without the confrontation that can come about when discussing this topic with others.

A Higher Court by John L. Betcher is a must read. It's a moving story of one man's spiritual journey, but it could also impact your own.

Title:  A Higher Court
Author:  John L. Betcher
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN-10: 1453833250

ISBN-13: 978-1453833254
SRP:  $15.95

Also available in a Kindle edition.

This book was provided free of charge by the author in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation.


John Betcher said...

Thank you very much for your kind review of my book, Cheryl. All the best!

Cheryl said...

You're welcome, John. It's a wonderful book.