The Second Thief – Travis Thrasher
Tom Ledger has a nice job at a tech company – if you consider a dead-end job that would make Dilbert envious “nice.” And that’s why he’s downloading a few important files onto his little memory stick, slipping it silently into his wallet, and then selling the information to the highest bidder. After that money ship comes in, he can leave the rat race for good and buy himself all the cheese he’ll ever need.
But on his way to deliver the information, the plane he is on crashes, killing most of the passengers onboard, including the man sitting right next to him. With a new lease on life, Tom struggles to answer the question of why he lived and others died, and how he is supposed to live his life now. Tom confronts his long-forgotten past, amends broken relationships, and makes new discoveries. Ultimately he’s faced with the realization that in an effort to gain the whole world, he had nearly lost his soul.
The Second Thief is an almost-tragic story of loss and heartbreak. I say almost because the chance for redemption remains to be grasped. Thrasher weaves a powerful tale of a man on the cusp of gaining everything he wanted materially yet still finding that his life lacks meaning. The novel touches on several deep themes of God’s providence, the power of prayer, why God allows bad things to happen to good people, the power of free will, and the consequences of bad choices though they be forgiven.
Thrasher’s storytelling evolves in this, his third published novel. Never one to be content with what’s been done, Travis writes both in first person and present tense. While perhaps initially confusing to those not used to the style , it is well-written enough to really put the reader into the story to experience the suspense.
The result is one of the most thought-provoking novels I have read in recent times. It will make you not take for granted the second chances we all too often do not appreciate and open us up to a God who can forgive any sin and yet reminds us that our actions in the past have consequences that even forgiveness cannot wipe away.
Mini Q&A with Travis
Josh: Trying to put this as delicately as possible to avoid spoilers, but near the end, though Tom finds himself on the road to forgiveness, he discovers that his past sins still have consequences. That’s a subject that most Christians would rather shy away from, what made you want to write about it?
Travis: Sins having consequences is a big theme in my work and in my life. Having done a lot of stupid things that have had consequences, it’s not surprising that this ends up in my work. No, I never stole from my company like this character. But it was easy for me to go down that path.
I wanted to write about one of the thieves of the cross and make it into a contemporary type story. What if a man is given a second chance even in the last few moments of his life? That was something that I liked exploring in this novel.
Josh: What would you say to those shocked and dissatisfied with the way the book ended?
Travis: Some people who have read most or all of my books still say this is their favorite. So that tells me the ending certainly worked for some people. Reading is subjective. Stories can move one person and not move another. I love Twilight Zone type stories and twist endings. I LOVE when things aren’t resolved or when endings can be interpreted in certain ways. The Second Thief is all about the ending–that’s the whole point of the book. I still love it. But I know that there will be some readers put off by it. That’s just goes with the territory of writing a novel like this.
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