Not in the Heart
by Chris Fabry
Publication Date: January 2012
Tyndale House Publishers
About the Book
Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.
With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline—the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.
As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.
Truman Wiley is a haunted man. Separated from his wife, daughter, and ailing son, and coping with an out-of-control gambling addiction, Truman accepts an assignment to write the story of a death row inmate named Terrell Conley. The twist? The inmate has agreed to give his heart to Truman’s son, who will die without a heart transplant.
Truman is one of those characters you love to hate. I did not like him one bit. He is estranged from his wife. His daughter barely tolerates him. And his son just wants his father. Whenever Truman has the opportunity to right a wrong, he does the opposite of what he should do – he runs to the casino. I wanted to reach into the pages and slap him a few times! But, I think the author painted the picture this way so the reader could see the story of Truman’s growth throughout the novel. It was painstakingly slow and for every step forward he seemed to take two steps back, but isn’t that the case with addiction? I think his character was very realistic.
Throughout the novel, there are discussion of faith, especially from Truman’s wife and from Terrell, the death row inmate, who has developed a very strong faith during the course of his prison stay and ultimate death row sentence. Truman listens to these conversations as he needs to to help him write Terrell’s story and promptly dismisses them as they pertain to his own life.
As Truman works through the details of the case, he begins to wonder if the man is really guilty of the crime of which he is convicted. But if Truman proves the man’s innocence, what will that mean for his son? But can he let an innocent man die? Can he let his son die? Despite all his faults, Truman does love his family and ultimately wants to reconcile with them.
The end of this book was a complete surprise that I did not see coming. It was definitely worth the ride. This was my first Chris Fabry book, but it definitely will not be my last.
One-liner: Gritty, emotion-packed, and with a character that you love to hate, Not in the Heart is a roller coaster ride from beginning to end.