‘Undercurrents’ and ‘The Body of David Hayes,’ by Ridley Pearson

As you’ve probably discerned from my reviews, I continue to read for pleasure even as I toil for my master’s degree. I don’t think I’d keep my sanity if I couldn’t take fiction breaks from the textbooks.

So, recently, casting about for something new to read, I decided to check out one of my consistently favorite authors, Ridley Pearson. I’ve always enjoyed his Lou Boldt police procedurals, but I discovered I’d never read the very first in the series, Undercurrents. And then I got the most recent novel in the series, The Body of David Hayes, which is closely related though separated in time.

At the beginning of Undercurrents, we find Detective Sergeant Lou Boldt of the Seattle Police Department, never a lighthearted guy in the best of times, in a particularly bad spot. He recently closed a serial killer case, and the accused murderer was himself murdered by a family member of a victim. But now he’s called back from a conference in Los Angeles, summoned by the news that there’s been another murder. They got the wrong guy.

Not only that, his marriage is falling apart. He has personally observed his wife meeting another man at a hotel. He’s moved out, and is considering divorcing her.

The story is as much about Lou’s struggle to keep his sanity as about his conflict with the serial killer, a smart and devious one who has singled Lou out as his police contact and personal foil. As Lou tries to function on too little sleep, too little food, and too much coffee, he tries to deal with his attraction to a beautiful police psychologist, and is brought face to face with his own culpability in the collapse of his marriage. When he truly achieves self-knowledge on that issue, it’s in terms that will please almost every Christian reader.

The Body of David Hayes picks up on a thread from that first book. David Hayes, a banker, was a colleague of Boldt’s wife and the man with whom she had the affair. He was later convicted of cyber-embezzlement and sentenced to prison. But now he’s been released early, only to be kidnapped and beaten. There’s more to his crime than anyone knew, and some very dangerous people are looking hard for the money David Hayes stole and hid in the bank’s own records. Lou is forced to bring his wife into the investigation, and old wounds get opened.

Frankly, The Body of David Hayes was above my head in terms of plot. The schemes of criminals and police (not all of whom may be honest) are so convoluted that I just lost track at certain points. But, as you may have noticed, plot isn’t my main concern in my reading. What I love is the characters Pearson creates — believable, sympathetic (in most cases), and grounded in a moral universe.

Both books recommended. Adult themes and language are relatively mild.

3 thoughts on “‘Undercurrents’ and ‘The Body of David Hayes,’ by Ridley Pearson”

  1. Paul again. Perhaps you haven’t come across the great Christian author Frederick Beuchner’s Brendan. Should be right in your wheelhouse. I just finished Erlings Word. Had it for 10 years; read it 3 sittings. An absolutely great read! The work of a true wordsmith. Chapters run the gamut from riveting, rollicking, (slightly) racy. Re: The phony priest. A memorable character. I’m reminded of Philippians 1 where the Apostle says some preach Christ from envy and strife, some from wrong motives. Never the less he rejoiced that the Gospel was being preached. Great work. Looking forward to Hailstone Mountain on Kindle.

  2. Paul, make sure you read The Year of the Warrior, which is Erling’s Word along with its sequel, a double volume. I’ve read some Beuchner, and enjoyed it, but I haven’t made a study of him.

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