The Hand of God
by John Isaac Jones
Pub Date 09 May 2017
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An African-American man is caught between his own demons and those of 1950s American society in this historical novel. This is the story of 24-year-old Bobby Lincoln, who lives in the coastal town of Palm Harbor in 1955 Florida.
With few jobs and no education available to him, he ekes out a living by fishing and doing any other work that he can find, often using his boat. But it’s not enough for him or his common-law wife, Idella, who keeps threatening to leave him if he doesn’t become a more effective breadwinner.
None of this is helped by his own love of gambling and his tendency to keep company with some of the town’s best-known criminals. When a local gangster offers him $2,450 to take part in a serious crime, Bobby knows that it would break the heart of his deeply religious mother and disappoint a smart teenage boy who idolizes him.
But he also believes that it might be his only chance to keep his wife and get back some self-respect. One little boat ride quickly turns into a nightmare that consumes Bobby’s life even as he tries to conceal it from others.
Based on Florida’s infamous Chillingworth murders!
"I have yet to read something by Jones that wasn't superbly written, and this book based on a true story was no exception. The flavor and feel of the location and period of time that these events occurred in is described with very vivid and illustrious details. Jones has a special way with words that effortlessly transports you to wherever he is describing. I felt like I had a front row seat, not only in the court room for the trial proceedings, but also in the small, stark jail cells occupied by some of the characters. I could hear the distinctive, plaintive squeak of the prison's book cart. I could smell the salty, ocean breeze, hear the gulls cry and feel the stifling heat and sticky, oppressive humidity. The characters were brought to life in a way that made me feel as if they were people I actually knew. I became invested in them to the point of sharing the elation of their triumphs and feeling the depths of their sorrows. It is difficult to expand too much on the plot of this book without being in danger of giving away some of Jones' delightful, trademark twists and splendidly-stunning shockers. But, I personally felt this story was about a journey to self-discovery. I think that it was a portrait in learning what and who is important in life, understanding what love really is and embracing the opportunities of a second chance. I also recognized and appreciated the subtle lesson in faith and trust by which Jones showed how God can mold and shape someone, even through tragedy, and how He is always in control and can see the big picture, even when we cannot. Jones did a magnificent job of blending the facts of the actual case with complementary, fictional elements in order to create a well-rounded, all-encompassing and utterly captivating story experience. If you have never read Jones before, this book is an excellent introduction to his unique and expansive literary talents. If you are debating whether or not to read something written by Jones... take a chance. I don't think that you will be disappointed. In fact, I think that you will be most pleasantly surprised!"
-- Amazon customer Tamara Windsor