Three escaped convicts kidnap a bus carrying two teachers and eight students. All but one of the teachers are deaf. When the hostages are taken to an abandoned slaughterhouse on the banks of the Arkansas River in the midst of the Kansas wheat fields, the FBI is called in. Arthur Potter, senior hostage negotiator, has his vacation interrupted so that he can end the crisis. When the vicious Lou Handy kills one of the students in cold blood, the stakes become higher.
A Maiden’s Grave is a ficticious thriller novel, now almost twenty years old. It is not for the weak of heart as it does contain foul language, extreme violence, and psychological depravity. However, if you enjoy being kept on the edge of your seat and being surprised around every corner, you may enjoy this novel. I enjoyed watching how Potter worked not only the negotiations but local politics, the media and his own feelings. The book also gave an interesting point of view of the Deaf community. I appreciated that Deaver never tried to make the reader feel for the criminals as some thrillers attempt to do.
What did this book have to do with my faith? From the beginning, Potter admits that he does not believe in God. When his wife was sick, he felt like God never answered his prayers. When she died, he left God altogether. Melanie Charrol, the deaf teacher, also has given up on God but for different reasons. Her parents made her feel as though God wanted her to do what they wanted her to do. They never understood her passion for music or her struggle to live in the Outside world. Never once does she appeal to God during her ordeal. What struck me is how quickly we abandon God. If God does not live up to our expectations, if others try to force us to believe their view is actually God’s view or if our prayers are not answered the way we want them to, we stop believing in God. But should God be that easily manipulated? I don’t believe God is such an easy mark. God gives us the tools to cope with life and death but God is not a genie in a bottle so that our own or others’ wishes are granted. Do any of us really want to believe in a God who is controlled by any one person? I do believe in answered prayer but I also believe in unanswered prayer.
I recommend this book for those who enjoy a good thriller.