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Book review: ‘Conviction’ is a dynamite book about a missionary imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit

"CONVICTION," by Robbin J. Peterson, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 269 pages (f)

Elder Neal Christensen isn’t all that positive that serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is for him. Ukraine isn’t anything like he expected and he’s there with the guy in high school he hoped to never see again.

Robbin Peterson is the author of "Conviction."
Robbin Peterson is the author of "Conviction."
Provided by Covenant Communications

As Neal struggles with the language and some of the people, he starts to doubt his ability to tough it out for two whole years. At a pivotal point, he makes a decision he thinks will solve all his problems in “Conviction.”

But Neal’s life changes in an instant when he’s hauled away to jail, charged with stealing an expensive piece of jewelry. Incarcerated, Neal must choose between becoming bitter toward God because of his circumstances or holding on to his faith with even greater tenacity. With only his scriptures to call his own, Neal learns who he can trust as the country he was called to serve in escalates in political turmoil.

Author Robbin J. Peterson’s book is an amazing one. Mystery, faith and realistic relationships are all thrillingly contained in “Conviction.” Peterson makes sure that reading about Neal’s growing closeness to God and how his choice to continue his mission while in prison is interesting, not preachy.

As he stumbles across clues regarding who set him up and where the missing jewel is hidden, “Conviction” then moves from a serious novel to a thrilling suspense mystery.

Although a relative newcomer, Peterson reads like a veteran author. With believable scenarios, tight writing and no dilly-dallying, “Conviction” is a page-turning novel that can delight readers of vast genres.

“Conviction” contains clean language and minimal violence. Although prison beatings are referred to, they aren’t detailed. Romance is limited to a brief kiss.

A graduate of Utah State University, Peterson lives in California with her family.