Wow! It's amazing the messages that can be conveyed nowadays by simply adding some music to a visual image. I just had a look at the video clip that was created by Tyndale House Publishers as part of the marketing campaign for this book, and I think that it captures the heart of this story perfectly. Check it out here:
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. ~ http://chrisfabry.com/not-in-the-heart
I really enjoyed this book. I agree with a comment that this book is very good for a discussion group. It certainly made me think as much as I read this book for relaxation. The further I read, the more I found myself searching for the true meaning of the title Not in the heart. Was it about the attitude of a man who just didn't have the courage to face what his life had become with a dying son, or was it about the heart condition of his son; that it just didn't have it in it to do what a healthy heart should do? Was it simply not in the hearts of his family to forgive him for all the time he'd been running away from his responsibility as a father and husband, or could he not find it in his heart to do what was right as the realization of the clues he discovered dawns on him?
I mean, just imagine the choice you are faced with when you discover that the very heart that was promised to save your son's life should rightfully be beating in the chest of the man who was willing to make such a sacrifice, and leaving your son to do what... die?
At one point in the book I got a bit caught up in the investigation and felt like I had lost track of how the execution clock was ticking. That component - I thought - was an important part to setting the pace of the book. Without it, it could easily become a bit dull.
Then, near the end, as it starts to wrap up, all my wondering about the title is wrapped in in three words. A-HA!! And suddenly all your perceptions/perspectives change and everything seems to fall into place.
I won't lie: I love happy endings, but I mean, really - a boy who will die without a heart transplant, or a man who will die on death row... what's the odds of someone not dying, right? However, the beauty of this is the surprise element and the greater sense of purpose - that even bad things can serve a good purpose - that all things do work together for good... eventually. Sometimes that journey is more necessary than we could ever know, and 20/20 vision is only (mostly) in hindsight, so don't miss the moments in between.