Thomas and Theresa Hammond love their three children dearly, but their church doctrine forbids doctors. When 2-year-old Joshie falls deathly ill, Thomas and Theresa battle "in the spirit" for their son. Their faith is devastated when they finally rush their little boy to the emergency room, only to have him die.
When an ambitious prosecutor decides the Hammonds need to be punished, their remaining children are wrested from them and they face charges of negligent homicide. Charles Arnold, an African-American lawyer and gutsy street preacher, takes their case. Charles pursues sticky questions of faith vs. common sense, judgment vs. mercy, and uncovers a foul conspiracy at the heart of the prosecution's case. But can he prove what he knows in time to save a family from destruction?
This neatly plotted page-turner has endearing and unusual characters and is a refreshingly different courtroom drama. Put this one on your list for summer reading. (May, 432 pp., $13.99)
Jill Elizabeth Nelson