Davis tells the story of police detective Harvey Lawson, a seasoned member of Portland, Maine’s Priority Unit. Lawson is investigating the strange disappearance of computer programmer and software designer Nick Dunham. Parralel to this case is the investigation of several bombings which Harvey, together with his partner Eddie Thibodeau, eventually discover are connected.
Along the way, Detective Harvey, who has been divorced from his wife for a decade, meets the young, intriguing Jennifer Wainthrop. However, Wainthrop is indelibly connected to Lawson’s investigation, as she is the last person to have seen the missing computer programmer alive, a fact which eventually leads her into danger. What follows is a tale of suspense and romance, along with an insightful look into Lawson’s walk with God throughout the trials and tribulations of the investigation.
Christian book review writers note that the author does an exceptional job of incorporated the characters’ spiritual walks into the larger narrative. Harvey’s life is complicated, and while he is an intelligent man, instead of relying on his own wits, the detective turns to God for strength and answers. It’s a powerful way of showing readers that even strong characters can and should lean on the Lord, and that faith and prayer are just as important as our own talents and abilities. Furthermore, the romantic subplot offers comfort for readers who are struggling with divorce and the complicated feelings that surround falling for a new partner.
While the book successfully incorporates religion, romance, and action, some readers may be dissatisfied with the balance. Covering so many themes in a single book is difficult, and whether or not the author succeeds in giving each point equal attention is ultimately up to the reader’s taste.
Readers should keep in mind that this book is intended for a mature audience. While the book stays true to its Christian roots and does not stray into grotesque descriptions of sex or violence, it does deal with mature topics like murder and divorce. Priority is a detective mystery centered around a kidnapping, so readers shouldn’t be surprised at the serious tone.
That said, author Davis succeeds in keeping her book clean while still managing to enthrall the reader. The darker portions of the story serve to highlight its spiritually uplifting aspects. Detective Lawson remains firm in his faith in spite of the dark circumstances that surround him, thus making him a positive Christian character that will inspire readers in their own walk with God.
The Priority Unit is an expertly crafted novel with:
- moral, Christian characters
- A hopeful message about the power of faith
- An intriguing, mysterious plot
However, some readers may be put off by:
- Dark subject matter, including murder and suicide
- Questionable balance between romance and action
Maine Justice is an excellent series, and this first book of the author’s collection sets the tone for the other stories. Priority offers readers plenty of romance and suspense, with a powerful undercurrent of faith and Christian values.