Trial and Error – Robert Whitlow

Trial and Error Robert Whitlow
Trial and Error by Robert Whitlow
Also by this author: Trial and Error, Relative Justice, Double Indemnity
Published by Thomas Nelson on February 2, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Mystery, Suspense
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A small-town lawyer has been searching for his daughter for eighteen years. Now another young woman is missing, and he’s determined to find them both—no matter the cost.
Buddy Smith built his law practice around tracking down missing children. After all, he knows the agony of being separated from a child. Not long after his daughter’s birth, her mother ran away and Buddy never saw either one again.
Gracie Blaylock has known Buddy her entire life, and now that she is clerk of court for the county, their paths cross frequently. When Gracie hears that a teenager in town has gone missing, she knows Buddy is the one for the case.
The girl’s parents are desperate for answers. Together with Gracie and Mayleah—the new detective in town—Buddy chases all leads, hoping to reach the missing teen before it’s too late. And as he pursues one girl, he uncovers clues that could bring him closer to the girl he thought he lost forever: his own daughter.
Master legal writer Robert Whitlow will keep you guessing in this gripping legal drama while reminding you of the power of God’s restoration.
Stand-alone legal dramaFull-length novel at approximately 120,000 wordsIncludes discussion questions for book clubs

I would not say I am the biggest Robert Whitlow fan, but I will say I am a big one, as I’ve read all of his books. That being said, maybe I entered into reading Trial and Error with a slight bias. I always set high expectations for Whitlow, and he did not let me downThe List was my first Robert Whitlow book; I consumed it, like a hungry wildfire swallows dry grass.  Trial and Error by Robert Whitlow does not have the same heart-pumping kick, but it is just as satisfying in its plot and its conclusions. Trial and Error is Whitlow at his finest. It is a story of emotion, heartfelt prayers, and God’s goodness and the peace He can bring.

The back cover of Trial and Error by Robert Whitlow describes it as “gripping,” and I agree…but perhaps not in the way Whitlow intended. I did not bite my fingernails in anticipation, desperately needing to know what would occur on the next page.  The novel is not suspenseful. It has high stakes, but they are not insurmountable. The characters work together in perfect harmony, almost as though they are one mind.  Gracie balances Buddy, who balances Mayleah, who in turn balances Gracie.  They are three parts of one whole, teaming up to achieve a common goal: bringing a missing teenager home…while maybe tracking down Buddy’s own daughter in the process.

Whitlow had me not because of any level of suspense, but because I wanted to witness God work wonders for and through the characters. What I loved about Trial and Error was that it exemplified that God does not always show Himself in blaring neon lights. He may answer a small prayer, though not on our timetable. Whitlow made me smile because he reminded me how good God can be, not through mind-blowing acts or sickness-healing miracles but through others. Through people. God never spoke in Trial and Error. Not vocally, to any of the characters, which is something I often see in Christian novels—especially in ones where characters come to salvation. Instead, Whitlow perfectly demonstrates how God uses us, whether we know it or not.

To be truthful, I have forgotten many Whitlow’s novels over the years, not because they are unmemorable but simply because I read so many books in a year’s period. I finish one novel and pick up another. If it says anything, I didn’t immediately grab the next book on my “to-read” stack after finishing Trial and Error. Instead, I let its message of renewal fill me, from the heart out. Nothing negative comes to mind when I evaluate this novel. There are a couple subplots, but they did not detract from the tale. They added depth to the characters’ stories, and exemplified how life is rarely simple. We cannot only focus on one thing, but rather have families, careers, and extracurricular obligations that we also must prioritize. All while still finding time to spend with God.

I loved almost everything about Trial and Error by Robert Whitlow, and I would change nothing about it. It is fulfilling in a way no book has filled me in a long time. It is a slow, steady climb—a vacation from a harsh reality.