Most people hear the name of Jerry B. Jenkins and immediately think of the Left Behind Series, but Jerry is the author of of more than 175 books. Jerry’s latest, The Brotherhood: A Precinct 11 Novel, published by Tyndale, is the first in a police trilogy released earlier this year.
Young cop Boone Drake is living the dream with his beautiful wife Nikki and toddler son Josh. Attending a large church where Nikki is fully engaged, Boone coasts through his Christianity with little regard for it. He was “saved” as a young boy, proved to be a delightful son, and made sure bullies never got the best of him or any of his friends.
As a cop, he’s interested in advancing to a detective role and taking gang-bangers off the streets of Chicago with his older partner and mentor Jack Keller. When tragedy strikes his family, his loss surpasses his faith, and the core of who he truly is exposes his lack of substance in his relationship with God. His pastor and his family do all they can to comfort and come along side of him, but he will accept none of it. His partner offers him the only solace and place of residence he will accept as he grinds through the crippling grief.
The Brotherhood, the title of which is twofold, is the story of a young man’s shallow views of faith and his journey toward a decision which restores life to his soul. It addresses the dichotomy of living in a sinful world and being able to accept a true lack of understanding for the reasons ugly things occur. Wrestling with the clichés of loss, the young protagonist finds only rage and pain. It also tells the tale of Boone’s association with the “baddest” and most feared of all the gang-bangers in Chicago when he’s released from prison, after Boone makes it into the desired Organized Crime Division. When Boone’s honest with himself, he can see the similarities in their lives.
I must admit I didn’t care for this novel, but there will be plenty of readers who will enjoy it. When I’m not fond of a protagonist, it’s a rare fete for an author to cause me to like a story. Boone demonstrated such a mean streak during his loss that he alienated me. And lukewarm faith never draws me to a character even though there’s a point to showing the journey. His eventual turnaround seemed to transform him suddenly as a logical result of a pastor’s persistence, but really I didn’t feel the character gave the inclination to push forward in his faith when, like a switch was turned on, he returned to what he previously never showed he possessed. His predictable association with the secretary of his unit felt forced, and her character came off strangely demanding and/or a bit quirky. Boone’s stereotypical mother seemed inserted just to annoy, portraying an insensitive woman of faith.
The Brotherhood: A Precinct 11 Novel by Jerry Jenkins is commercial fiction written with utility prose as the kind of two-part story of a young cop who suffers through horrendous loss and moves on to participate in his dream of bringing gang-bangers to justice. Billing it as a “thriller” is a bit out of bounds.
Reviewed by Nicole Petrino-Salter