A man of God's worst nightmare --- he is tempted, he gives in to the temptation, he is exposed and labeled a hypocrite, thus handing the enemy of his soul weapons of mass destruction. PRESUMED GUILTY explores many universal truths through the life of Ron Hamilton who, on the verge of a million-dollar book contract, is arrested for the murder of a porn star who he was having an affair with. Pastor Hamilton leads the 8,000-member Hillside Church, has a loving wife, has written several books, and is successfully working to rid his community of pornography. How could he fall into temptation? James Scott Bell expertly demonstrates that no matter how strong your faith, how vigilant your watch or how sturdy your suit of armor, the enemy can render you helpless when he finds the weakness in your life.
One can only hope that if you got yourself into a dilemma like the one facing Ron Hamilton, that you would have a helpmate or advocate like Dallas Hamilton. Though she has been dealt a wife's ultimate betrayal, learning that her husband not only committed adultery but has admitted to other sexual sins as well, she cannot believe that he is a murderer. Once she gets over her initial shock, she relies on God to help her through the pain and takes a proactive role in trying to clear him.
Hamilton's children are not as devoted as his wife. Daughter Cara shows some ambivalence while son Jared is outwardly hostile toward his father. The subplot that involves the restoration of Jared's shattered life is every bit as satisfying as the main story. Suffering from post-traumatic stress following a stint in Iraq, this atypical PK (preacher's kid) has turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with the fallout. He stays away from the family because he doesn't want to let his mother see that he has become "damaged goods." But his mother's prayers are answered, and through a series of epiphanies, he begins to seek reconciliation with God.
If I ever got around to writing a book, it would be like this one. This is a story right off the front pages with players ranging from those with no character to those with Godly character and everything in between. It has realistic dialogue that moves the action and a love story that results from spiritual awakening. A page-turner until the very last surprising revelation, PRESUMED GUILTY will surely make you a fan of James Scott Bell. And, even better, this former attorney has written 15 other books to satisfy your desire to read more!
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on March 14, 2006