Monday, August 9, 2010

Wonders Never Cease – Tim Downs

© 2010, Thomas Nelson, Nashville

There is a reason that Tim Downs has won awards (2000 Gold Medallion Award: Finding Common Ground; 2007 Christy Award: Plague Maker), and that’s probably why I enjoy his writing so much. He’s an acclaimed cartoonist as well as an accomplished writer, making his mark in both nonfiction and fiction arenas. His suspense novels are page-turners that have excellent plot lines and character development. If you pinned me down I’d just have to admit that I would read Downs because his name was on the cover.

So I picked up a copy of Wonders Never Cease (actually got it for my blushing bride—another Downs reader) and read it. Leah Pelton sees angels. But nobody will believe her. Not her teachers (or anyone of significance at the Episcopal School she attends in southern California), not her mother nor her mother’s boyfriend and colleague at the UCLA Medical Center. The only one to really give her an attentive ear is a wise and wizened old janitor named Emmett.

The boyfriend—a low, self-centered, waste of space calling himself Kemp—capitalizes on Leah’s stories when the opportunity of a lifetime arrives in the form of an almost-has-been actress named Liv Hayden. Kemp feeds “messages from God” in the voice of an angel to the semi-conscious silver screen starlet in the hopes of making millions of dollars in a book deal (and maybe even landing the role as her paramour) when she is released from the hospital.

The book lacks Downs’s typical driving plot line. The story itself is entertaining for an afternoon’s read. But the characteristic struggle, character development, and comic relief known to fans of the Bug Man series are not as prevalent.

In the book’s favor: it’s about angels, publishing, and the film industry. If you have any interest in angels, books, or movies, you’ll enjoy this book. I know that I enjoyed it three and one-half reading glasses’ worth.

Benjamin Potter, August 9, 2010

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