In The Reluctant Journey of David Connors, author Don Locke, (an artist for NBC’s Tonight Show), delivers a story about miracles and redemption.
David’s life has just about tumbled over the edge. His wife talks about divorce, and he’s let down his children too many times to count. With all this building up inside him, as well as a growing contempt for God, he considers taking one final walk off a skyscraper. But “fate” intervenes. David finds an old carpet bag, one filled with secrets. Inside are perfect gifts for the strangers he will encounter. With bag in hand, this reluctant protagonist is launched on an unstoppable trek, one that is far more than physical.
Locke’s novel begins with this intriguing premise. The carpet bag guides readers through the plot as the mystery slowly unravels. It is fast paced and unpredictable. If the reader is hooked, he or she will gladly be reeled in throughout the entire novel. However, the originality does not extend to the characters. David is yet another struggling man facing a crumbling marriage. His traveling partner, Maggie, is also the unlucky-in-love type. At times these two are entertaining, but they simply don’t contrast each other well enough to make a good pair.
For a first novel, Locke’s writing is surprisingly smooth. Transitions are clean and the details provide substance without invoking boredom. The words are action oriented with the occasional pause for reflection. The plot unfolds gradually throughout and comes to a satisfactory ending, although the author seems to follow tangents at times. The only major issue is clarity. Locke sometimes races ahead or jumps to a new location while the confused reader tries to keep up.
All in all, The Reluctant Journey of David Connors is a unique novel. It provides the reader with an interesting story with a solid sense of mystery. It explores such spiritual truths as God's omnipotence, man's need for a power beyond his own limited abilities, and the reality that God often chooses to answer prayers through the actions of people coming to the assistance of others. The characters probably won’t resonate with many hearts, but they are interesting enough to propel the story. Overall, readers looking for a creative, plot driven story may want to give this one a chance. -- Andrew Culbertson, Christian Book Previews.com
On a cold winter night, David Connors contemplates a leap off a skyscraper, hoping to end the pain of his crippling alienation from his family and his anger and resentment toward God. But his attention is strangely drawn to a nearby bundle half-buried on the snowy ledge. David uncovers an old carpetbag that he soon learns possesses the unique ability to conjure up peculiar gifts for people he encounters—items that are exactly what they need.
One such stranger is the sweet but feisty Maggie, who gets swept up in the mystery as the miraculous carpetbag leads them both on an imaginative journey, challenging David’s heart as it illuminates their steps. David’s destination slowly unfolds like a distant bittersweet memory in this tender and often humorous tale of grace and redemption.