Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Judge by Randy Singer: A Book Review

When a brilliant billionaire is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, he realizes that all his considerable wealth cannot prepare him to meet his Maker. But he has an idea that might: he will stage the ultimate reality show. With his true agenda hidden, he auditions followers from all the world’s major religions, inviting them to the trial of their lives on a remote island, where they must defend their beliefs against spiritual challenges.

Oliver Finney, a feisty old judge with his own secrets, is chosen to defend Christianity. As the program takes a strange twist, he quickly realizes he is trapped in a game of deadly agendas that may cost him his life. With Internet access monitored, Finney sends coded messages to his law clerk, Nikki Moreno. Aided by a teen crypto-geek, Nikki soon discovers the key to understanding Finney’s clues in an apologetics book Finney wrote and must race against time to decipher the mysteries contained in the ancient words of Christ before her boss dies defending them.

Randy SingerRandy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine's select list of "Legal Elite" litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at
*This review is a first for me as part of the Tyndale Blog Network.  I am so excited to be part of this book tour.*

The Judge is a fast-paced suspense-filled novel that leaves you guessing 'til the very end.  In a style similar to John Grisham, but with his own unique twist, Singer puts the world's major religions on trial.  Judge Oliver Finney is chosen to represent Christianity, and argues well inside the reality show courtroom as well as outside.  Yet it's what he does with his life that counts, and truly makes all the difference to his fellow contestants and friends.
Apologetics is a key element throughout The Judge.  It is the basis for Judge Finney's arguments for Christianity and against the world religions that he is up against.  The way that Singer weaves his case for Christ throughout is fascinating, and I often found myself caught up in the argument.
Matters of faith, however, are rarely won with words.  Saint Francis of Assisi is often quoted as saying, "Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."  His words ring true, especially in an age where words have a tendency to lose their meaning.  It is said that actions speak louder than words.  In matters of faith, there is no greater truth.  The actions of a believer are scrutinized much more so than their words, and for good reason.
Through all the twists and turns of The Judge, Nikki comes to this realization about Judge Finney:
" she read Judge Finney’s Bible... She had seen so many of the words of Christ exemplified by Finney’s life that the words themselves had a familiar ring to them — an almost-eerie feeling of deja vu."
If someone were to ask me how I would defend my faith, most assuredly I would say with my life.  While I am no where near perfect or resemble Jesus quite the way I should, there is no doubt in my mind that faith is best defended through actions over words.  At one point in my life, I would have argued differently.  But apologetics is no match for the way one lives out the Gospel.

How do you defend your faith? Do you believe words are necessary?
I was given a complimentary copy of The Judge by the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

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