Archive for December, 2010

The Shadowed Mind by Julie Cave

The Shadowed Mind (A Dinah Harris Mystery)The Shadowed Mind by Julie Cave

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I won this book through http://goodreads.com, a first reads giveaway. The book was described as a Pro-Christian mystery. The main character, Dinah Harris, is a former FBI agent who is struggling with alcoholism. The problem with the story is that Dinah was totally unbelievable as an Ex-FBI agent. Most of the characters in the book were poorly done or they were a stereotype.

It’s clear that Julie Cave is using the mystery to push the Christian and creation science points of view. The problem is that it reads like she wrote the Bible verses, “sermons” and the creation science view of evolution first then tried to make a mystery fit around it. This made for a clunky story with weak characters who had little ability to investigate a crime. There were times that the action in the story was out of place and irrelevant to the story, except for the fact it was putting forth the creation science view.

There was one storyline in the book that I really enjoy (for awhile). It was about a woman named Ella who was the sole caregiver for her farther who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Reading this storyline you got a real feel for the love and dedication it takes to be a caregiver, along with the exhaustion, frustration, embarrassment, anger, guilt and all of the other emotions that goes along with it. But as this story folded into the mystery it lost some of it’s potential. This storyline showed how faith, your minister and your church community could help you through tough times, it also became a story of forgiveness. This was the only part of the book, in my opinion, that Julie Cave did a seamless job connecting the story and getting her Christian views across without it feeling forced. (Forget about the mystery and write more stories along these lines).

As far as mysteries goes I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.
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The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human ValuesThe Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sam Harris believes that morals should advance the well-being of the people, and with that as a basis he puts forward, hard to deny, arguments that science can determine the moral landscape. Even though I would recommend this book to everyone, I know that it’s not something everyone will like or even agree with. The book is also a bit tough to get into, a lot of point and counterpoints (a bunch of big words and no pictures).

I found the examples and studies of how the brain works and how we think and make moral decisions surprising and interesting. The chapter on psychopaths was especially hard to put down. I was somewhat surprised that there are probably no more than 100 serial killers in the U.S. at any give time, but I was floored to find out that there are probably about 3 million psychopaths in the U.S. (1% of the population).

Sam Harris takes a few swipes at religion and scientists that try to combine or twist the “facts” that make science and religion get along perfectly. I’m sure that anyone (that I know) who reads this book, agreeing with it or not, will learn something and come away with a better understanding of minds and brains.

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