Book Review: Person of Interest


A cold-case detective was handed an unsolved missing person case. What happened to Tammy Hayes in May, 2000? Was her disappearance the result of her simply leaving the area or was it more sinister than that? How can even a veteran detective solve a case without a body? What skills could this detective bring to a case that had lain dormant for about a decade? Was there a person of interest that might be responsible for what happened to Tammy Hayes? These questions were presented to J. Warner Wallace when he was assigned the Hayes case by his police sergeant.

J. Warner Wallace served in law enforcement for over two decades, many of those years as a cold-case detective. He has been featured on the NBC crime documentary program Dateline. He brings a unique skill-set to his police work of both artistry and out-of-the-box thinking. His latest book, Person of Interest, displays these qualities.

Wallace was also handed another case which required a detailed investigation. He had been invited to church. Wallace had experience meeting Christians in the past and none of that had been good. But, this particular service was different. The pastor preached as though the New Testament was true. “Jesus,” this pastor said, “was the smartest man who ever lived.” The claims of Jesus spoken of in that service started J. Warner Wallace thinking. Could the case for Jesus be investigated? He learned that that there were many sources of information about Jesus. In fact, Wallace writes, “I didn’t need the evidence provided by the Gospels to know the truth about Jesus.”

In Person of Interest, J. Warner Wallace uses and details an investigative technique to discern what happened to Tammy Hayes and if the claims of Jesus were genuine. He illustrates this technique with a target, at the center of which lies sticks of dynamite. A long fuse trails from the center of the target to one side of the diagram. On the other side lies the fallout from the explosion. In the case of Tammy Hayes, the fuse illustrated the events leading up to her disappearance (the dynamite). But what about Jesus? The fuse in that case was events in culture, communication, and other factors which occurred before Jesus of Nazareth appeared on the scene. Wallace surveys the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures which point to a coming Messiah and uses them as reliable informants in developing his investigation.

What about the fallout? Certain events happened in the case of Tammy Hayes after her disappearance. Wallace goes through each of these events to see how they fit together in developing a theory of what happened to this woman. In the same way, certain events happened after Jesus of Nazareth left the scene. Wallace develops several factors which demonstrate the influence of Jesus on culture, education, art, and science. It turns out that Jesus impacted them all. One of the most noteworthy areas that were affected in the fallout was in education. Some of the oldest continually operating institutions of education and learning in the Western world were developed by Jesus followers. Significantly, world religions that came after Jesus, Wallace notes, “modified, mentioned, or merged Jesus into their worldviews.” Hinduism, Islam, and New Age religions all acknowledge Jesus in some way. But, Jesus does not acknowledge them at all.

Person of Interest leads the reader and J. Warner Wallace to making a verdict about the person and claims of Jesus Christ. Jesus, Wallace writes was more than just a good man or a great teacher of spiritual truths. Jesus was truly God who came to earth in human flesh and literally changed the world. Not only that, Jesus changed Wallace’s heart and life as well.

I highly recommend J. Warner Wallace’s Person of Interest.

#personofinterest #jwarnerwallace

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