In Robert Whitlow’s novel Mountain Top, Sam Miller is an aging gentleman who runs a private lawn care business and has a fondness for his wife Muriel’s good food—but there’s more to him than meets the eye. Each night Sam is bestowed divine dreams that tell him what is happening in other places and in other people’s lives. He follows up on these dreams, writing letters to some people and speaking personally to others. By most in Sheldon, he is considered crazy but harmless—certainly not a likely candidate for “Felon of the Week.” But then he’s arrested, charged with embezzling $100,000 from a local church. And the only lawyer he wants to represent him is retired.
Mike Andrews is satisfied with his life right now. He’s been out of the legal arena for some time and is happily pastoring the Little Creek Church. Then Muriel Miller suddenly turns up in his office and asks him to visit her husband, who’s been in jail for three months. She says Sam had dreamed about Mike coming to the jail for a visit, and she hints at Sam wanting legal aid. So, reluctantly, Mike visits Sam in jail.
Suddenly, Mike is catapulted headfirst into the legal arena, a world he thought he’d left for good. Amid the baffling riddles of Sam’s dreams and the duplicity of the courts, Mike fights to find the basis of the charges, defend his innocent client, and learn deeper truths about God—or, as Sam calls Him, “Papa.”
Author Whitlow uses a familiar premise—a man who sees things in dreams—and takes it to the next level. Sam Miller doesn’t see the future, per se; instead, he sees images that have something to do with what is happening or what will happen in his life or the lives of people around him. And Whitlow puts this concept into a modern southern setting without it seeming unnatural or awkward.
The characters are also familiar types, but they too are interpreted in entirely new ways. Sam Miller reminds us all of the wise old man or the gentle grandfather, but Whitlow turns these stereotypes into a surprisingly strong central character with a genuine and vibrant Christian walk. Mike Andrews may be a lawyer, but he is also a minister—a combination which, as one of the characters says, “must make the angels scratch their wings in amazement.” Throughout Mountain Top, Mike’s understanding is stretched and his faith is deepened as Sam teaches him a new meaning for the word “ministry.”
Mountain Top’s plot shares a common structure with most other legal novels, and, thus, might run the risk of being predictable—but that only continues to a point. Whitlow takes the basic structure and builds on it, adding strong Christian themes and keeping the readers on their toes; even when there’s a twist clearly in sight, it’s still a surprise.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Whitlow’s writing style is icing on a delicious literary cake. He manages a unique combination of smoothness and suspense, maintaining a gentle surface tone without compromising the underlying sense of tension, the tautness of a hard battle in the courts. The pacing is also perfect: not so fast that the reader is left choking on dust, but not lagging behind the story, either.
Overall, Mountain Top is an excellent book. Everything falls in perfect balance, from the plot to the characters to the Christian message to heaping helpings of Muriel’s delectable fried chicken. Even if you don’t normally read legal novels, Robert Whitlow’s Mountain Top comes highly recommended. – Rachel Niehaus, Christian Book Previews.com
Can he trust his client's dreams and visions-even when they threaten to destroy his future?
Supernatural visions filled with images of keys, hatchets, hammers, and fires. An eccentric old man in jail-accused of robbing a church and knowing things he has no right to know. A lawyer turned pastor-suddenly summoned to a stranger's cell by a dream.
How much will one man risk to defend another, when the truth lands him in prison...and the only evidence proving his innocence comes by a dream?
New from Practicing Attorney Robert Whitlow-The Master of Southern Legal Thrillers with a Supernatural Twist.