Until the Last Dog Dies: A Joe Box Mystery is a Christian mystery novel written by John Laurence Robinson (Heading Home, Sock Monkey Blues).
The story goes that new Christian Joe Box, a former Cincinnati Policeman turned Private Investigator, gets a late night call from one of his old unit buddies from the Vietnam War. The frightened vet relates to Joe how he’s being watched and thinks that someone is aiming to kill him. Joe rebuffs his former wartime buddy and writes it off as the ramblings of a drunken Vietnam vet.
However, the next day, he gets a call from the man’s wife, explaining that his buddy/her husband has been killed in an electrical accident, or so the police say, but Joe remembered something unusual about his friend: he had a fear of being electrocuted.
Guilt ridden, Joe does some investigating to find his late night caller wasn’t the only one who had been killed by things they feared. All of them were former members of Joe’s Vietnam unit and they all are seemingly meeting a dark demise.
What Joe uncovers is a dark conspiracy brought on by an old wartime enemy that is haunting him and his buddies and killing them with their greatest fear. However, Joe has something more valuable, the power of God on his side.
John Robinson brings us an excellent first person narrative as his starring detective tries to unravel the mystery of the dark deaths of his old unit, but he also brings us in some friends, flashbacks of Joe’s life, and a cat named Noodles to help us understand the detective. All in all, Joe Box did not feel like a one dimensional character, nor did he come across as the cold hearted, forever wounded, deep, dark, anal, detective we see in a lot of fiction today.
As for the Christian themes, it explores the supernatural and does a good job of breaking down the battle between God’s goodness and Hell’s pure evil. At times, it did seem forced, but it was still good. I also loved how explored good core values like true love, forgiveness, friendship, truth, courage, faithfulness, and community.
Bottom line, the book is an excellent read and you will want to follow it to the very end. I highly recommend it for Christian readers, but I’m not sure if non-Christians will understand the supernatural themes in the context of the book.
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