Hidden in Harmony: Danger is Imminent
Content at a Glance
no sex is seen or heard, but there are references to pedophilia and an incestuous comment.
few utterances and mild crude language; slang for male and female genitalia
gratuitous and graphic violence involving guns, knives, bombs
themes of human trafficking and pedophilia; lying
HE NEEDED HELP.
The Russell family came home one evening to find an uninvited visitor sleeping on their porch. Brock appeared to be quite harmless.
SO THEY TOOK HIM IN.
Knowing the Bible says they are to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, the Russells take Brock into their own home and quickly befriend him, only to find out he has formerly been accused of a horrifying act.
AND TRIED TO BE LOYAL.
The Russells do not believe in allowing rumors to tell them who to befriend or who to turn away. They decide to do some detective work and find out about a decade worth of unexplained disappearances in the town Brock was originally from.
BUT IT COST THEM BIG TIME!
Threats, violence, death, and kidnappings haunt the Russells as someone desperately attempts to stop their investigative efforts.
Hidden in Harmony is a small-town story about false accusations, suspicion and judgments. A homeless man, Brock, haunted by past allegations that he is a cannibal who eats little boys, lands on the front porch of the Russells, a legalistic, Christian family. The Russells battle with their commitment to feeding the poor and helping Brock out (based on Bible Scriptures that tell them to), while allowing a homeless man with a tainted reputation to live with them and expose their only son to potential danger.
The family is immersed in a crime-solving venture. They work together to solve the mystery of their houseguest’s past. In doing so, they stumble upon a much larger situation that puts them in constant jeopardy, where they need to depend upon God at every turn.
The story is delivered in a telling fashion, so it is hard to connect to the characters. I would have loved for the author to show readers the internal struggle and challenge it is for anyone—Christian or not—to bring a stranger in need into one’s home.
Despite the book’s back cover description, this is not a book for family; nor is it appropriate for young people due to the disturbing plot of human trafficking and little boys having to undress to model for pedophile photographers. Then there’s the descriptions of burned bodies and murders that take place throughout. The relationship between Mr. Russell and his young son is the height of disturbance. The boy is terrified of being spanked with a belt by his father, exposed to constant danger, and sentenced to hard labor by an extreme hypocrite of a father. The son is not allowed to upset authority (the dad) in any way (basically he cannot be a kid). But, the father can lie and break the law; he even choses to give a homeless man—a complete stranger—the use of their family car over his wife, who then is forced to stay home.
It isn’t the murders that unsettled this reader so much as it is the blatant disregard Mr. Russell has for his family. He considers himself the “man of the house” who “wears the pants and makes the decisions,” reasoning that this is what God has designed a man to be. He reminds his wife of this—often. Unfortunately, this character is the very reason people can’t stand Christians.
I’m perplexed as to who the audience is for this book, which could have had such potential to be a great, suspenseful crime novel. But because of the way it is written, most of us will be alienated from reading this story because simply, one cannot relate (Christian or not).