I’ve been a Brandilyn Collins fan for a while now. In fact, when I first gave my life to Christ, I’d been writing for about a year. I discovered there was such a thing as Christian Fiction and found a book that fit my taste. The book was Eyes of Elisha by Brandilyn Collins. I found her website and e-mailed her because the novel I’d written was of a similar genre. She e-mailed back immediately and suggested I join the ACFW. I’ve been a member since (with a few lost years). Brandilyn, as it turns out, is one of those successful authors who doesn’t hide from fans or fledgling writers. She has always replied to my questions and, as far as I know, does so with everyone who contacts her. The woman must have a iPad surgically installed in her forearm. How she keeps up, I don’t know.
But I digress. I’m supposed to be reviewing the book with the sissy dog on the cover–That Dog Won’t Hunt. Yes, my friends, I read a women’s fiction novel. No, I wasn’t tricked like that time I went to a women’s show only to discover that I could not take any home. I actually wanted to read this one. After all, it’s written by BC. I figured that the dog would go rabid and terrorize a small Maine town.
‘Twas no to be. The dog, a Yorkie named Lady Penelope, or Penny, plays a great symbolic role throughout the story. She is the symbol of the Dearing family’s acceptance of a potential new member, Christina, the fiancee of the youngest male in the family, Ben Dearing.
Poor Christina is facing a challenge each of us married souls has had to face–meeting the future in-laws for the first time. Though most of us probably didn’t do it at the annual family reunion where we were trapped in the same house over a long weekend.
Naturally, you can’t have a family reunion without several dramas playing out at the same time. Notably is Ben’s older sister Jess, an attorney who is at odds with a lifelong relationship with Tamel Curd (really…BC is cruel to her characters).
Throw in two more sisters for general prying and comedy relief, their husbands and kids, and the elder Dearings, Ruth and Sy, and you’ve got the makings for a weekend of drama.
Women’s fiction is usually all about relationships. Yes, men, the “R” word. But BC writes it in a way that makes it more than entertaining. I found myself rooting for Christine and Ben, Tamel and Jess, just as much as I’ve rooted for Jack Ryan in a Clancy novel. This is real-life drama, the stuff that we can relate to. And it makes for a great read.
For the writer in me, I got a chance to see how a master of suspense handles something that doesn’t offer the convenience of a serial-killer to up the tension level. This one is a great study in both character development and the art of maintaining tension when the writer cannot fall back on the old trick of bringing in a guy with a gun (I suppose she could have, it is the south after all). It’s a good lesson that tension can develop from any number of sources. Relationships are always at the top of the heap.
I gave this one five stars on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t do that often. But since I can honestly say I stayed up late last night to see if Christina would, in fact, hunt, I have to honestly say I loved it.
I’d love to see Brandilyn get a few more suspense novels out, but if she doesn’t and keeps providing great fiction like this one, I’ll get over it.
Give That Dog Won’t Hunt a read and tell me what you think.
Until we blog again…Ron.