Not too long ago, I dove into Daniel Taylor’s award-winning novel, Death Comes for the Deconstructionist. This is my first of Taylor’s books to read. As the synopsis offers, the novel is a “tragicomic mystery, a detective story that is at once suspenseful, provocative, and emotionally resonant.”
Death Comes for the Deconstructionist tells the story of one Jon Mote, an older, divorced, grad school dropout who does private investigative work on a part-time basis. Many might identify Mote as your quintessential loser: divorced, jobless, friendless, living in a houseboat. I’m actually surprised that he is not presented as having some major alcohol addiction or something of the sort.
Mote has just been hired to investigate the murder of his mentor, Dr. Richard Pratt, an academic, literary theorist. He is the deconstructionist to which death has come. Mote’s investigative partner is his very own sister, Judy. But there’s a little twist to the partnership – she is mentally handicapped. Accordingly, Judy serves less as a crime-solving partner and more as Mote’s lone support in life.
You see, Jon Mote has lost faith. Or you might say that his faith has been deconstructed, helped along by the now-dead Dr. Pratt. And, in the dark despair of a failed marriage and academic career, Mote has begun to hear voices in his head. Perhaps it is Mote’s mental stability that is waning over and above his sister’s.
In her simplistic, childlike measure, Judy has maintained a deep faith throughout life – even in the midst of a dysfunctional, abusive family upbringing. As Jon Mote and his sister journey through the cities of Minneapolis and Memphis in order to solve this mysterious death, a deeper investigation is taking place. Perhaps, in the midst of the deconstructionist’s death, something new is being constructed in the heart and mind of Jon Mote.
For the best price, grab the novel from Wipf & Stock.
I’m also looking forward to the Jon Mote sequel, Do We Not Bleed?
Also, check out this trailer for Death Comes for the Deconstructionist.