I love a good mystery and finding a writer whose work is new to me. That’s why I chose The Case of the Sin City Sister by Lynne Hinton.
In some respects I liked this book. I found it interesting and thought that Lynne did a good job weaving the characters, from different times, places, and backgrounds into an intriguing storyline that takes place in New Mexico and Las Vegas. I found myself looking forward to digging in and seeing what happened next and learning about what made the characters tick.
I appreciated that the book did not have the characters engaged in filthy language or sexual immorality.
There were some things I wish the author had handled differently since she is a Christian and has a Masters of Divinity degree. As a Christian, when I’m reading a book by a Christian, and published by a Christian company, I hold it to a different standard than I do a secular book. I look at the theology that’s in the book and compare it to the Bible.
In chapter one, the main character Sister Eve is speaking with Oliver, the Monk in charge of the monastery where she lives. Eve’s been struggling to decide if she should remain a nun or return home and do the work she loves and has an affinity for, private detective work. Oliver says to her, “If you are a true disciple, Sister, and I believe you are, then Christ lives in you. If this is so, then the desire that is in your heart can be trusted. It is the truth for you to live by.” While that may be true to the degree a person is truly a Christian and obedient to Christ, that’s not complete and sound Biblical counsel regarding following our heart.
Starting on page 74 and the following pages references were made to telepathic communication, people being connected in their spirits and psychic energy. This conversation was from a character who professed to be a believer in Jesus Christ. The Bible is very clear and unambiguous in its condemnation psychic phenomenon. It shouldn’t have any place in the life of a Christian.
I was puzzled by Eve’s impression of Las Vegas. The character is a nun, someone who is supposedly sanctified. Yet, Eve didn’t seem overly concerned or disturbed by the blatant sin that was on display in Las Vegas. Some of her comments include, “There’s nothing that you can’t find or do or try. It’s like anything’s possible there.”, “It was like living on stage.”, and “It’s like Disney World for grown-ups.”
There were a few references to Eve taking her rosary beads and reciting a prayer. I think that the opportunity to model prayer, show the power of prayer and affirm that God hears and answer our prayers was missed by a long shot.
The main character Eve, seem more concerned about her sister’s physical safety rather than her eternal security. I don’t recall any reference made to Dorisanne’s salvation nor the other characters in the book.
So why am I making such an issue of the theological concerns I raised? Christian authors have an incredible opportunity to impact both believers and unbelievers with the Gospel message and infallible truth from the Bible. To not take that opportunity is one thing. But when the religious and theological references don’t line up with Scripture that’s a more serious concern.
I have a mixed review on this book. It was well-written and had some interesting and likable characters. It kept me guessing. But from a Christian theological perspective I think it missed the boat. If you choose to read this book, read it for the storyline not the theology.
I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Thomas Nelson Publishers for the opportunity to read The Case of the Sin City Sister by Lynne Hinton in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.