Staging the ultimate reality show, an eccentric billionaire invites representatives from the world's religions to argue their beliefs. Feisty judge Oliver Finney accepts the challenge---and realizes he's trapped in a deadly game. Will his law clerk, Nikki, be able to decipher his cryptic e-mails before he dies defending Christ? (Previously titled The Cross-Examination of Olive Finney.) 400 pages, softcover from Tyndale.
Average Customer Rating:
(7 Reviews) 7
Rating Snapshot(7 reviews)
6 out of 786%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Judge
Review 1 for The Judge
Good, not Great
Date:June 18, 2013
This is a difficult book for me to review because it was pleasant, but it wasn't a stand-out novel, or, on the other hand, something atrocious I would never recommend.
I was not bored while reading the book (very important!) and it certainly wasn't a drudgery to keep reading. Singer kept me actively engaged in the story, and I read it without taking many breaks. Even though I read it more or less straight through, I wasn't left anxiously wondering what happened next - as I usually am with books of this nature.
Honestly, though, that could be me being in pregnancy brain fog where I just don't engage anymore than necessary because I don't have the brain power right now.
I enjoyed the integration of fiction mystery with some defense of Christianity. It was a little weird for me though with all of the modern pop culture references ... can you tell I usually stick to reading the classics and don't frequently venture into modern fiction?
I thought the book was tastefully written, and I don't have any qualms about recommending this book for others to read. I didn't get wrapped up in trying to decipher the codes in the book (as I would have at an earlier time in my life), but that certainly didn't detract from the book. I think it awesome that if people want to try and figure out the codes in the book they have that option because Singer wrote the book The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ which contains the codes in The Judge. One word of warning though - this book was previously published as The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney, so don't think that this is a brand-new Singer book.
Before you get as excited as I did, let me remind you: this is NOT a new novel by Randy Singer. Instead, it's a previously published book about a fictional judge named Oliver Finney. I admit, I prefer the new cover and title, but the book is the same as before.
This is the first novel by Randy that I never finished. I don't know if it was the premise, the characters, or simply the fact that it just never 'clicked' with me. I liked Nikki: she is a feisty and loyal assistant and added a lot to the story.
At the time of the original publication Tyndale released a companion book called "The Cross Examination of Jesus". Now, that one I did finish, and I enjoyed it. The book reminded me of Josh McDowell's "More Than a Carpenter" and Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ."
Considering how many novels Randy has written and how many I've loved from beginning to end, this one was a mild disappointment. I wish I could put my finger on what was lacking, but I truly believe I was overwhelmed with both books at the same time.
So, give "The Judge" a try, and let me know what you think. You just might convince me to give it a fresh reading. I purchased a copy (not realizing it was a reissue:-) and you can purchase the book from bookstores everywhere.
"The Judge" is published by Tyndale Publishing and is mildly recommended.
It isn’t very often that I read a book that I don’t want to put down. The Judge was one of those books. As I read it, I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen. The concept of a reality TV show pitting defenders of the major world faiths against each other in a court of law was absolutely fascinating. The depiction of the five “contestants” was perfect. I felt like I knew each of them and couldn’t wait to see them in court. For me, this was the main story and the part that interested me the most.
For others, I'm sure the main story was the second plot line that involved the main character’s assistant and the codes they were passing back and forth. Though that part was interesting, it got to be too much. During the sections where they were trying to crack the code, I kept wanting to return to the courtroom to hear from the contestants. The description on how they cracked the code was, at times, excessive and dragged on.
The end of the book was one of the best endings I have read in a very long time. This was my first time reading a Randy Singer book, but I know for certain that it will not be the last.
This book combined elements of a courtroom thriller, a spy novel, and a mystery/thriller. I can’t wait to read more.
The Review: Randy Singer is a thinking man and his books cause you to think and The Judge is no exception.
Judge Oliver Finney is a cigar smoking judge from Virginia, with terminal cancer, but he considers himself a strong Christian. So when he has the opportunity to participate in a reality TV show, designed as a competition between World Religions, he sees it as his opportunity to make a difference for the next generation. What he gets is much more than he ever bargained for, as he does his best to represent the Christian faith and stay alive.
As I’ve already said, this is a thinking book as you watch each of the contestants represent their faith and the interaction between the characters. Mr. Singer allows you to work through the story trying to determine who the “good” and “bad” guys really are. He adds some nice twists that keep you wondering. I missed some of the clues the author gives throughout the story, but realized they were there as Finney reveals them at the end.
Singer subtly puts out a challenge in this book, ‘How would you defend your faith?’ As I thought about this throughout the book, I think the best way to defend your faith is to live it in a real way, developing relationships and letting people see the ups and downs but you remaining faithful.
The only downside I felt was at times it seemed like some narratives were just too long. But I think the author wanted to demonstrate a key component in being an effective Christian witness, it requires relationships and they take time.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank Tyndale Publishers or the opportunity to read and review this book. I was under no obligation to give anything but my honest opinion, which I’ve done my best to do.
What would happen if you took a selection of people from all of the world's religions and put them into a "Survivor" like setting? You would get the makings of a book by Randy Singer, of course! So this billionaire is getting ready to die and he's found out that being rich doesn't provide him with any additional insight into what happens after we die. In the search for this information, he comes up with the ideal to bring together people from all different religions to a remote island where they will "battle" it out against each other to see who has the best answers for the afterlife. For the Christian perspective, we have Judge Oliver Finney. Judge Finney is a cigar-smoking curmudgeon who never dreamed in a minute he would be picked for the show, but we know that demographic studies can't be wrong! As the show progresses, Judge Finney starts noticing that things may not be exactly as they seem. The judge begins passing crypted notes back and forth with his law clerk, thanks to a book on cryptology that he had written. As the stakes appear to be getting higher and higher for the contestants, Judge Finney begins to feel a sense darkness and dread. Will this be the end of Judge Finney? Does he help the billionaire with his thoughts of the afterlife? Buy a copy and see how this one ends!
I have been a fan of Randy Singer for a long time. I even hosted Mr. Singer for a book signing / discussion several years ago. Anybody that reads John Grisham would love any of Randy Singer's books, and this one is no different. Randy always shares his knowledge of the judicial system through his books. This book, though, allows us to not only see the inner workings of a case against Christ, but he rolls in the whole reality tv show craze that the entertainment world is abuzz about. I always come away from his books feeling like I have a little bit more knowledge of the judicial system, and that isn't always a good thing.
Is this a "guy's book"? If you're into law and justice and reality TV, then you would enjoy this book. Do you have to be a "guy" to like it? Nope, this book would be enjoyed by everyone.
I have read several of Randy Singer's books and he is a fine writer and man. I appreciate his dedication to his craft of writing and to his practice of law. Did you know that he is also a pastor? Hmmm... did you wonder why he wrote such spiritually grounded books? Well, when I received "The Judge" to review and to participate in the blog tour, little did I expect the twist and turns this story would take me on. I did not anticipate the level of intensity with which the characters were required to defend their faith.
The story begins with a very wealthy man who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer with a year to live. He has no faith. He is enthralled with the current "rage" on TV of reality shows and decides to fund a reality show called "Faith on Trial." Candidates for the Faith on Trial show represent several of the major religions of the world - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, a non-believing scientist, and a Christian. At the end of the show, the "faith" that wins is the faith this wealthy man will choose to die believing. Then he virtually exits the story line, though he does follow afar off.
The candidates are flown to an unidentified (to them) island and allowed no contact with the outside world. They are put on trial for their faith and must defend it. It is set up like a court room and they are interrogated. Before long it becomes clear to the characters, especially Oliver Finney, the Christian in the group, that all is not well and they are pawns in a game that does not seem legal or ethical.
Oliver Finney (the character who is "The Judge") is a student of variety of codes, has written books with embedded codes in them, and has discovered embedded codes in classic books. His former law clerk, Nikki Moreno, is a beautiful young lady whose code-breaking skills are sorely lacking. Enter Wellington Farmington, a young, very intelligent geek who skillfully breaks codes and helps Nikki discover the ways and means that Oliver Finney has found to communicate with her about the odd happenings on the Island.
This twisted and turning plot uncovers hatred and desire for revenge. But mostly it covers the testimony of a man of faith as he, knowing he has only a few months himself to live, defends his faith in Christ to the death.
Randy Singer also wrote "The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ" which would probably be a good book to read in conjunction with "The Judge." "The Judge" was formerly published in 2006 under the title of "The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney." DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of The Judge by Tyndale Publishers on behalf of the author for the purpose of rendering my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I’ve only watched a couple of reality shows out of Australia. Whether you love them or not, check out this Faith on Trial reality show! Hosted by an unknown billionaire who’s been diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer, he wants to find the true religion to believe in to make it right with his Maker. Hiding this agenda, he picks contestants from the major faiths to defend their beliefs through all the trials thrown at them on the show.
The main character, Judge Oliver Finney, is a cigar-smoking Christian with terminal cancer. He signs up to defend his faith and to hopefully bring others to the Lord through this worldwide TV show. Little does he know how he will be tested!
Nikki Moreno is Judge Finney’s law clerk who thinks of him as her father figure. She’s been ‘tested’ by Finney to get her ready to pass her law exam. This information will be needed, and more, to assist the judge during the reality show. In fact, before the judge leaves for parts unknown for the show, he shows her his book on apologetics that also includes cryptograms that he worked into the book.
However, when the judge sends Nikki his first plea letter, she’s at a loss as to the meaning. She does recognize the Wellington Farnsworth name included in the letter and sets out to track him down. She finds out that he just happens to be the judge’s best known, top teenage cryptanalyst. Thus he becomes one of the crucial players in the game.
What a zinger of a book! The cover alone is ominous enough and the title brings out many innuendos that come to mind. What kind of judge is he? Is he honest? Corrupt? Is he up to something?
The relationship between the beautiful, leggy Nikki and nerdy Wellington is uproarious. The author has them play off each other to the hilt, to the chagrin of Nikki. These two become my favorite characters. Not to be outdone, the characters on the island are portrayed in such a way that you would most likely recognize them on the street if you saw them. All their quirks, characteristics, physiques, qualities, and every event they encounter are delineated with intricate detail.
Besides the feisty old Judge Finney, I enjoyed ‘Swami’ with his personable personality. Kareem’s personality was a great contrast, causing more consternation than the others put together. All of them have their own personal secrets, which are exploited to develop a deadly game. It’s those dangers that cause Judge Finney to find a way to get cryptograms off to Nikki.
The author utilizes even the titles of the book sections to cause you to critique what was to come next in the reality show and to up the ante for the contestants. Tracking the book through a trial process was genius! It truly was a Trial by Faith!
Agendas The Contestants Cross-Examination Rebuttal Verdict
To accelerate your involvement, the author adds cryptograms within the text, challenging you to figure them out either before or with Nikki and Wellington. He is very thorough in capturing and connecting your imagination and presenting the suspense at peak level from beginning to end.
This book was provided free by Susan Sleeman of The Suspense Zone in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.