Amateur (and accidental) detective Jon Mote seemingly has hung up his gumshoes and taken a position at the residence home where his sister Judy is now living. He’s separated from his wife, Zillah, and she’s sent him divorce papers. He’s now a housemaster for Judy and five other special needs adults, who are turning out to be less trouble than the staff who actually run the place.
Previously (chronicled in Death Comes for the Deconstructionist), Jon was asked by the widow to look into the death of a professor. He found himself navigating how college literature is taught in universities (as in, there’s little of it being taught at all). Now he’s contending with the doublespeak of contemporary psychology and residence home administration, and finding that the residents are considered not so much people as they are clients.
Fortunately, the residents seem to have more common sense than the administrators. And then one of them is murdered.
To call Do We Not Bleed? by Daniel Taylor a murder mystery is to do it an injustice. It is that, but it is also far more. Jon Mote is something of an everyman, a spiritual pilgrim, a lapsed Baptist still be chased by his faith, a sister who loves Jesus, and his perceptive insights into the human condition. Including his own human condition.
Slowly, too, does Jon comes to address and solve the mystery. In fact, it is his residents who put the pressure on to do something. One of those residents is Bonita, who may rank as one of the great comic characters of contemporary fiction. (Don’t get in her way, and especially don’t stand between her and her bottle of soda pop.)
Taylor is the author of The Skeptical Believer, Tell Me a Story, Creating a Spiritual Legacy, The Myth of Certainty and several other books. He’s contributed to Bible translations and is co-founder of The Legacy Center, created to help families and individuals find their stories, values and meaning. He’s also a contributing editor for Christianity Today’s Books and Culture Magazine. Taylor blogs at Neither/Nor: Ruminations of a Spiritual Traveler. Death Comes for the Deconstructionist won Christianity Today’s best novel award in its annual book awards and the Illumination Award for best fiction by an independent publisher.
Do We Note Bleed? is an insightful commentary on modern life, the foolishness that often emanates from so-called experts and passes for professional judgment, and our tendencies to seek answers too quickly, especially answers to questions of faith. It’s a marvelous book.