Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Convicted – Jameel McGee & Andrew Collins (with Mark Tabb)

©2017  Waterbrook Press, New York

The caveat on the cover of this book reads: “A Crooked Cop, an Innocent Man, and an Unlikely Journey of Forgiveness and Friendship.” When I saw the title and the cover of the book, I was intrigued. Since I usually turn to mysteries or suspense novels (with a western thrown in for good measure) for my leisure reading, and concentrate on mostly ministerial books as a general rule for work, I find that the “True Crime” genre rarely catches my attention. But this one looked like it might be worth a minute or two.

I received the book in the mail about two days before leaving the country on a personal trip that wouldn’t allow time to read (even on the plane—which I don’t read well on planes anyway). So, I socked it away with the hope of getting into it upon my return. I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to the book. From the first page of the prologue (don’t skip the opening “Author’s Note” for background, but the story doesn’t start until the prologue) I was hooked. I almost wished that I hadn’t read the descriptor on the cover, though, because from the very outset my reader’s mind was set against the cop (one of the book’s voices).

The story is exactly as advertised: an innocent man gets caught in the cross-hairs of a policeman doing whatever he can to put criminals away—which includes fudging with the truth to a certain extent. After all, in the neighborhood where he works, most of these people are drug users or dealers anyway, right? Within these pages you will read the sad state of corruption that plagues police departments (and is, one must say the exception rather than the rule). The outcome of the story is that once the cop (Collins) was caught in his web of deception, he had to come clean with details of all the arrests he had made that had been compromised by corrupt practices. All of which were overturned. Meaning that a lot of guilty criminals went free because one dirty cop wanted to cut a corner or two—in the service of justice.

At the same time the story is about a man just about to embark on a promising future (especially coming from the neighborhood in which he lived), who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, by the wrong policeman, with the wrong friend. It is a case of mistaken identity, misused power, and misplaced trust. And the result is a three-year federal incarceration for an innocent man.

The final outcome of the story is not such a depressing thing though. With all of the ill-will, all of the bad blood, and all of the system abuse, Convicted is the story of how God uses unusual circumstances to bring sinners into relationship with Him. Even more, it is the story of how two men who start out as mortal enemies—and according to all conventional wisdom should remain so until they reach the grave (maybe at each other’s hand)—become friends through forgiveness only available through Christ and knowing Him.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It has action, suspense, and an unusually unexpected happy ending. It’s in stores or online today. And read this 5-reading glass treasure about forgiveness.

—Benjamin Potter September 20, 2017

[Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.]

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