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God's Executioner ❮EPUB❯ ❁ God's Executioner ✼ Author Roger Terry – The courthouse called first thing this morning Tanya tells me They've got an oddball on their hands Don't we all I philosophize I'm a public defender and oddballs in my line of work are something rare The courthouse called first thing this morning Tanya tells me They've got an oddball on their hands Don't we all I philosophize I'm a public defender and oddballs in my line of work are something rare and wonderful like golf balls on a driving range No she says this is different You hear about the murder the other night at Ouirrh Park As a matter of fact I did The morning after a softball game one of the players was found dead between third base and home Apparently someone took batting practice on his forehead Well the guy turned himself in yesterday afternoon He says God commanded him to do it Welcome to Kimball County a predominantly LDS corner of northern Utah where the prosecution is about to put God on trial at least that's how the defendant Tracy Parker sees it Scott Fernelius the public defender is supposed to give Parker the best defense possible but Parker doesn't want a defense He confesses that he killed a man but he insists he's innocent And so begins the strangest trial of the new millennium.

6 thoughts on “God's Executioner

  1. Andrew Hall Andrew Hall says:

    Intriguing premise good writing and a few ueasy momentsA well respected even beloved Utah Mormon father commits a brutal murder and then insists that God reuired him to do it A trial follows and the truth of the man’s claims are put to the test This is the very intriguing premise of Roger Terry’s God’s Executioner The novel earned an honorable mention for the 2005 AML novel prize and sounded interesting so I dove in I generally enjoyed the experience but I do have reservations about a couple thingsThe story is presented through the point of view of Scott Fernelius a public defender in a fictional small county in northern Utah Scott is a non Mormon new to Utah living with a rebellious 14 year old daughter who ended up with Scott almost by default after his marriage dissolved Scott has long abandoned himself to cynicism and is vaguely befuddled by the Mormon environment he finds himself in He is assigned to defend Tracy Parker a seemingly perfect father and husband hard working and humble Except he also killed a man with a baseball bat with no apparent provocation Parker turned himself in and said that God told him to do it Soon afterward Parker leads authorities to remains of another recently killed man again claiming divine assistance and although he denies involvement he is charged for a second murder Ferenlius and his daughter are gradually changed by their experience with Tracy Parker and his family There are two main mysteries at work One was God really behind the first murder and if so will he somehow get the guilty man off the hook? Second what was the nature of fraud the dead men were playing on the people of the county and who is involved in it? I have not read many crime mysteries so I am unsure how it stands up against others but I found the narrative for the most part interesting well paced and capably written Terry telegraphs the answers to several uestions by the middle of the book but there were plenty of uestions left to the end to keep this reader interestedTerry is especially skilled at making interesting characters Scott the public defender is a great POV character giving a nice balance of desperation and hilarious black humor in his depiction of his failed marriage and horrendous parenting skills The portraits of the other members of the law enforcement community many of them non or lapsed Mormons who fit uncomfortably in the community give the book additional spice The least interesting character may be the killer himself Tracy Parker He remains a blank through most of the book In part this serves to further the plot because if we knew too much about him it would destroy the mystery Terry makes a few half hearted attempts to make us doubt Tracy’s essential goodness but they never go too far Flawed characters are easier to make interesting than nearly perfect characters but ultimately great Mormon novelists need make their good characters interesting and recognizable if their fiction is going to mean anything to us The central issue of the book whether God could or would order a Mormon disciple to commit a murder is most problematic I applaud the book for taking on such an interesting religious uestion Most published authors in the Mormon field would not get anywhere near such an explosive issue So I feel a bit churlish taking issue with Terry on some of the points that he was brave enough to bring up in the first place But I do take issue I cannot avoid spoiling some of the mysteries by discussing some of these things so I am issuing a spoiler alert You may want to stop here and go and read the bookSPOILER SPOILER SPOILEROkay first of all I find it unbelievable that Tracy Parker's friends and family show absolutely no doubt in Tracy’s story and seem to feel no difficulty in treating him the way they have always have Imagine a seemingly wonderful Mormon father you know and then imagine that he killed someone and claimed God had told him to do it Even if you had reason to believe him wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable around him? Wouldn’t you expect his family to be in turmoil? But in God’s Executioner Tracy’s ward appears to support him without reservation having a jolly time with him a Church social and other occasions Although his wife’s Prozac prescription is briefly mentioned it is tied to the general pressure of guiding her large family not the murder The children seem to be completely at ease with the situationSecond the central uestion of the possibility of divine revelation to an individual to kill outside of the law is an interesting issue but Terry’s treatment ultimately leaves a very sour taste in my mouth Terry argues that while the idea makes us uncomfortable it is conceivable under mainstream Mormon doctrine Terry tries to separate Tracy from the Lafferty and other Mormon related murderers by making him a righteous agreeable personality But I do not see a valid precedent for a this kind of divine command in latter day times and I find his argument repellent and dangerousIn the trial he creates dueling theological witnesses a BYU religion professor who emphasizes Mormon respect for the law and a local institute teacher who brings up Nephi and Laban as well as Latter day instances of Mormon civil disobedience He has the BYU professor to point out that Nephi acted under the Mosaic law which arguably allows for the killing of a law breaker in extreme circumstances and that under US law any extralegal killing would be unrighteous The institute director insists that we not put boundaries on God we can not know what God will ask of his disciples The problem is that there is no latter day precedent for this kind of murder I can think of especially in a generally free and law based society like the United States None of the latter day events referred to in the book including civil disobedience against the Polygamy laws in the 19th century and Helmuth Hubener's work against the Nazi government included murder There have been several people with some kind of Mormon background who have claimed divine sanction for murder or other violence but most were fundamentalists outside of the Church and all of them acted outside of acceptable Mormon behavior Here is the message I would have liked to see Terry make If you hear a voice telling you to kill someone GO AND TALK TO YOUR BISHOP See if anyone else whose spirituality you trust can confirm your thoughts at all Some might regret the need for bureaucratic confirmation and the loss of spiritual charismatic power that it implies but at least in this case I am all for restraints on charisma A minor uibble when the daughter is influenced by her new Mormon friends to change her attitude and actions does she also have to change completely to a J Crew fashion ensemble? I have seen plenty of young people convert who do just fine keeping some of their harmless fashion or personality uirks END SPOILERUltimately although the resolution of the central uestion makes me a bit ueasy I am impressed that Cedar Fort a mainstream Mormon press published such a challenging book Terry is a skilled author with something to say I hope to see of him in the future

  2. Megan Morris Megan Morris says:

    I have a confession to make I am not a huge fan of LDS fiction I guess I have a desire to reach outside of what I hear and see everyday when I read although this was a good book just not my cup of tea

  3. Susan Susan says:

    All the way through I held back a little Just not completely comfortable with the book However it was good Made me think about faith and obedienceA small town public defender is to defend a man who admits to killing a man and who's defense is that God commanded him to do it

  4. Valerie Valerie says:

    This was an interesting idea but the writing and the characters were very cliched I enjoyed seeing how he ended the story but getting to the end was kind of painful

  5. Nyssa Silvester Nyssa Silvester says:

    Meh It was just sitting on my bookshelf and I thought I'd give it a try Don't judge

  6. Don Don says:

    A good read I was surprised by the way he wrapped it up and pleased

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