by Randy Alcorn
362 pages, Contemporary
Reviewed by Ariel_of_Narnia

Great story, great values, great theology, and a great God.


Note: This book is a novelization of the Sherwood Pictures movie of the same name. Also, certain themes are more elaborated in the book than are in the movie.

Five men with five different lives, but all with the same duty: to be good fathers to their children and good husbands to their wives. Their journey will take them from "good-enough" fathers to fathers in pursuit of God's calling on their lives. And that's on top of keeping the streets safe, finding jobs, and just plain living day by day.


The four policemen and a struggling working-man form a brotherhood. A resolution to godly fatherhood is written up and the men are admonished not to take this lightly. The men hold each other accountable.

Nathan is deeply devoted to his children. He loves his wife and is very family-oriented. He mentors a couple people. His wife counsels a pregnant high-schooler; he joins her to advise a couple about to have an abortion.

Adam starts out thinking of his teen son as being stubborn and falls for his little-angel daughter. He also experiences some amount of children-related tension with his wife. These change over the course of the story. His anger against another man is set right when things are put into perspective. He is determined to set things right when he finds evidence of discrepancies.

Javier loves his family and longs to provide for them. He refuses to lose his integrity even when his job is at stake.

David comes to "man up" in more ways than one.
The sheriff passes along stats of the effects of the absence of fathers in the home. He encourages his officers to leave work behind when they go home and be good spouses and parents.

A boy pushes the idea of a date on the girl he likes even though she doesn't want to lie to her parents about the subject. A man helps a woman he didn't like; she also helps him out when he needs it. Early on, Shane and Adam have a discussion about a job situation in which Adam suggests that Shane could have claimed having done something he didn't (Shane told the truth despite the consequences). At times, his views are skewed. The wrong is clearly portrayed as wrong and the good and good.

Spiritual Content

Adam and his family are church-going Christians who are pretty relaxed about their faith; this changes. Shane is also a church-goer. Nathan is a firm Christian. Javier has his problems, but always takes them to God. Another character comes to Christ. Adam shares his faith with a fellow cop. Good theology is spoken at a funeral. Caleb Holt (from "Fireproof") is mentioned and he talks about how God saved his soul. He also designs an accountability sheet.

Shane's dad was a church usher, but not serious about his "faith". Nathan has a spiritual mentor. One character goes to his pastor for counseling and gets a mentor of his own.

One cop is an atheist with a low opinion of Christians. At one point, he also remarks, "I feel like a pork chop at a bar mitzvah." One man is afraid of demons coming after him.


This is a story in which four of the five main characters are policemen.

Cops-and-crooks chases and tackles are part of the job. Tasers are used a couple times. There's a shootout and fistfight between a couple cops and gang members. One cop's main tactic involves major head-butting.

The story opens with a struggle for control of a car, resulting in the vehicle hitting a tree and two people bleeding and dazed (though nothing serious).

A baddie has murder in mind a few times and a gun collection to back it up. A gang initiation rite involves beating up a new member for a couple minutes; apparently, a previous boy had died as a result. Those who squeal on their gang members are beaten up. There is a gang fight, resulting in a few fatalities and nightmares for one character. David is beaten up by a couple gang members(though not too seriously). A couple gang guys try unsuccessfully to take a little girl hostage.

A woman is attacked by robbers and threatened; she fights back viciously and a cop comes to her rescue with a great many threats to her assailants. A dog successfully protects his master and is wounded as a result. One character considers suicide and another goes through with it (the latter is unwitnessed).

Drug and Alcohol Content

The cops deal with crack-related crimes. A couple known characters sell the stuff. We come across people who have taken drugs at varying degrees (most of these are not seen at a personal level). There are a couple drug-passes.

Shane recalls how his dad smoked and told Shane that he'd better not catch him drinking...while holding a beer himself. The gang celebrates a "victory" with alcohol. One character drinks some cheap wine. An accident is caused by a drunk. Adam takes a couple sleeping pills at one point.

Sexual Content

Caleb Holt mentions how God saved him from pornography. It is also made known that he and his wife seem to be unable to have children.
David reveals that his dad had an affair. He is also a result of artificial insemination.
Nathan's parents were never married and he has five "siblings" from a total of three different women; he also states that other "siblings" may have been aborted (and therefore implying more potential affairs). He wants to protect his teen daughter from the possibility of a "two-legged mixture of oozing hormones" making "the move on her".

Another character had unmarried parents. One character reveals that he "hooked up with" a girl, resulting in an unintended pregnancy. A high-schooler comes to realize that abortion is not an option. The gang leader says that the gang women were more than just "you mama and sisters"; the person he's speaking to fortunately doesn't understand.

A boy holds a girl's hand, kisses her on the cheek, and briefly one-arm-hugged her when they know that her parents don't want it. (She's hesitant, but accepts the affection.)

Whether it's exactly sexual or not, an officer says that he's seen a big-name fellow "in a couple of latrines".

Crude or Profane Language or Content

These aren't exactly crude, but it's mentioned that, at a gang meeting, music "celebrating sex, violence, and cop-killing" is played. One man says, "Messin' with me's like wearin' cheese underwear down rat alley."


Again, in some areas, the book is more intense than the movie (eg: blood is drawn, there's a lot more on drugs, etc). But even though there's more of these, there's also a lot more in the way of filler scenes in which we see more of the families, their struggles, and their growth. Throw in a couple extra characters and embellish some elements from the original story, and the characters have more to them by way of personality, history, theology, and drive. It's a call to the fathers out there to man up and be courageous for the Lord. Not that it benefits only the men. It's also a call to dedicate our lives to God and step up to our responsibilities to not only God, but those around us.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: adult

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