“Derailed” by Neta and Dave Jackson, book review

“Derailed” by Neta and Dave Jackson, Book review. Windy City Neighbors #2

Harry and Estelle are settling into their lives, and their problems seem to be behind them. Harry is really liking retirement and Estelle is still cooking at Manna House. Grandson DeShawn is doing well in school and being a great part of the family. When out of the blue, the captain from Harry’s old police department calls with a job offer. But Harry is retired. He quickly says no.

They begin to think about moving because now that they are a family, not just Harry, the flat is becoming smaller by the day, especially as DeShawn grows by the day. They eventually buy a 2 flat and plan to have Harry’s mother move in downstairs. This is a win-win, as it will have her closer as she ages and help with mortgage. But before the moving truck can get loaded, Mother has a stroke and later dies. Harry’s son, who has been in prison, is released to come live with him, and Harry is just overwhelmed.

To make ends meet, Harry takes the job. It is an undercover detective job on Amtrak trains. He uses a drug detection dog as a guide dog and his cover is that he is blind. He just rides the rails and sniffs out drugs. He is actually quite successful, nabbing his first arrest on the L while traveling home from work.

Derailed is a light-hearted, but down to earth story of a modern American family dealing with real life situations that could be disabling, but when covered with prayer and wise counsel, prove to make the family stronger. This is the 2nd in the Windy City Neighbors series and covers the same time frame as book #1, just focusing on a different family.

I enjoyed the book. It was easy to read and follow. I had read book #1 and was a bit confused at the beginning, as the characters and even some of the events seemed to be the same in book #1, until I realized that it is a parallel book using the same characters.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher, Worthy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Worthy Publishing (October 8, 2013)


Dave and Neta Jackson


As a husband/wife writing team, we are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together we are the authors or coauthors of over 120 books. (You can see our Publication Record by clicking HERE.) In addition to writing several books about Christian community, we have been privileged to coauthor numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

But over the years the we have especially enjoyed writing for children and young people! This includes our award-winning TRAILBLAZER series, historical fiction about great Christian heroes and heroines for young people ages 8-12, and the four-volume HERO TALES: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Great Christians, and the companion book, Heroes in Black History.

Somewhere along the way, our own children grew up! Son Julian is Director of Experience Design for the Alder Planetarium in Chicago where he “provides the experience of exploring space” for visitors. He has two sons, Liam Isaac and Elijah David. Daughter Rachel graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and after working in the field of rape-crisis prevention went on to earn a Masters Degree in counseling from the University of Illinois. She is now a counselor at “Uni High School” in Champaign, Illinois. She is the loving mother of Havah Noelle (our first grandchild!) and Noah Zion, our youngest grandchild. The Jackson family also includes a Cambodian foster daughter, Samen Sang, who has four children.

We live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years we were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. We are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.


Forced to give up his hard-earned retirement, Harry Bentley goes back to work as a detective. Receiving a bizarre undercover assignment that sends him across the country by train. Things suddenly go awry when it appears one of his new neighbors may be part of a smuggling ring and suspicion rises about his own son’s involvement in a major drug cartel.
The second in the Windy City Neighbors series, Derailed is a contemporary, and often humorous, tale in an urban setting, featuring ordinary people wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. Intersecting with Grounded (book one), the Jacksons employ their innovative storytelling technique of “parallel novels.” Though each book follows its own drama and story arc, the characters’ lives become intertwined and affect one another. Derailed transports you to Beecham Street—a typical, isolated American neighborhood . . . until hope moves in.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Derailed, go HERE.


About dwolters

mama to 4 wonderful kids. live on a farm and raise sheep
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