Book Review: “Trial By Ordeal” By Craig Parshall

Trial By Ordeal by Craig Parshall, Harvest House Publishers – Paperback $12.99, 330 pages

I received this book free from Active Christian Media on Thursday and finished the book Friday. I could not put it down. If you like thrillers, by Grisham, James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, you will love this book. To quote the back cover:

Pursuing a good real-estate investment, the professor (Kevin Hastings) stumbles onto a prime chunk of property in downtown Chicago. It just has an old church building to be cleared away. But the dream deal turns into an ordeal when Kevin discovers he’s signed a contract with the mob – one he can’t deliver on.

Kevin’s story is told from his viewpoint. He is a naive, definitely not street smart, kind of an ivory tower history professor, who is spiritually lost. When things get real tough for him he tries to rely on himself, then on lawyers, but discovers he is repelled by his lawyers morals, but doesn’t know why.

He meets people, “Christ-ers”, Born Agains, who invoke the Lord’s name and that feels uncomfortable to him. It is like hearing too much information.

As a History professor, Kevin lectures on some interesting ways Medieval men could prove their innocence. You would grasp a red hot poker, walk 9 yards, your blistered hand would be bandaged, and three days later you would be examined. If, your hand was healed, you were innocent. Trial By Ordeal is Kevin’s story of his ordeal to prove his innocence.

Regarding “Born Agains”, in the book a Rabbi questions Jesus about this need to be born again to see The Kingdom of God.

How can a man be born when he is old? …Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb?But Jesus was talking about something else, something that whispers to us, blows past us like a winsome breeze, from beyond the observable, …”Flesh gives birth to flesh,” Jesus said, “but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

And for Kevin, finding a way through the ordeal starts with his spirit, inside, and determines his actions and comforts him.

Another passage spoke of the Mission where Kevin sought help, as peopled by

Men who wandered the streets of Chicago wearing clothes indelibly discolored with grime – men with faces that showed almost completely on the outside all the broken stuff on the inside.

Not just the hard life on their faces, but their broken stuff. A feeling to me that says if you change the inside, the outside will change.

Parshall wrote the mobster particularly well. I could see Tony Soprano in every scene, even the way Tony moves his head, all without using profanity. Trial By Ordeal ranks up there with The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille. Both books explore what it’s like to have a mobster take an interest in you?

Five out of Five stare for me!

Trial By Ordeal Craig Parshall Book Review Mover Mike


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