Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"Slippery Slope" Letter from a Reader
On my Facebook fan page, a reader left this comment about my latest release, Deceit:
I have read and enjoyed most of your novels, including Deceit, which I found very thought provoking. However, I think you may have ventured unto a "slippery slope" in your epilogue where your main character ponders the morality of "pretexting" in her work as a skip tracer. Perhaps one can raise legitimate questions about the ethics of deceiving those who have skipped out on their bills. But, what about the policeman confronting a hostage taker with a knife at the throat of a child? Or, what about Corrie Ten Boom? Should she have told the Nazis "I cannot tell a lie, I have Jews in the attic?"
Some day we will dwell in a place where God's truth prevails. But, we're not there yet. In the mean time, someone has to do the "dirty work" in a fallen world. The trick is knowing where to draw the line. Hopefully, that's where the Holy Spirit comes in.
Thanks, and God Bless your work!
I like the insight of this reader. And actually I agree with his arguments regarding deceit, although I don't agree that my novel Deceit starts down a slippery slope in the wrong direction.
Sometimes my challenge as an author is to raise questions for the reader to consider--not to provide all the answers.
Deceit is bottom line a tale of suspense. At the same time the theme that arose as I was writing the book focused on deceit in each of our lives. Has deceit stolen into my life in such a subtle way that I've allowed it to remain there? And--is deceit ever okay? In the epilogue my protagonist, Joanne, wonders if the lying or "pretexting" she uses in her skip tracing is all right for a Christian. She doesn't answer the question but knows she will be pondering it, and that God will lead her accordingly. However she does note that a good friend tells her it's absolutely okay--in the same way that police interrogation tactics include lying to the suspect to get him/her to confess. They're catching the bad guys, and therefore the end justifies the means, the friend says.
I think of Rahab in the Bible, who hid the two Israelite spies Joshua sent into Jerico, then lied to her king, saying the men had slipped away. God saved Rahab and her family because of her deed.
Deceit is not a light-handed book. Once the story is said and done, I wanted it to provoke self-reflection. The obvious and worst deceit in the novel is not relegated only to nonChristians, but very much to professing Christians, including a respected church elder.
What do you think? If you've read Deceit, do you agree with all the observations of the reader above? (Please don't give away any plot points in your comments.) If you haven't read the book--do you think there is ever a time when lying is okay? And how do you decide in your own life where to draw that line?
On another note--winner of this month's Photo Friday is Richard Mabry, with this caption: You men are all alike. "Oh, I don't need directions!" Congrats, Doc. Please email me with your choice of book (as long as we have it in stock) and address.