Cover image for Dread champion
Dread champion
Collins, Brandilyn.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan, [2002]

Physical Description:
413 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Chelsea Adams has visions. But they have no place in a courtroom. As a juror for a murder trial, Chelsea must rely only on the evidence. And this circumstantial evidence is strong--Darren Welk killed his wife. Or did he? The trial is a nightmare for Chelsea. The other jurors belittle her Christian faith. As testimony unfolds, truth and secrets blur. Chelsea's visiting niece stumbles into peril surrounding the case, and Chelsea cannot protect her. God sends visions--frightening, vivid. But what do they mean? Even as Chelsea finds out, what can she do? She is helpless, and danger is closing in. . . . Masterfully crafted, Dread Champion is a novel in which appearances can deceive and the unknown can transform the meaning of known facts. One man's guilt or innocence is just a single link in a chain of hidden evil . . . and God uses the unlikeliest of people to accomplish his purposes.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The quality of Collins's writing slips in this evangelical Christian thriller follow-up to Eyes of Elisha, but she still spins an interesting tale with plenty of suspense. Californian Chelsea Adams has the supernatural gift of visions that show her events others are unable to perceive. She's dismayed to be selected as a juror at the murder trial of Darren Welk, whose wife, Shawna, has disappeared. Chelsea's visiting niece Kerra Fraye attends the trial and strikes up a romance with a man whose innocence is increasingly under scrutiny. Chelsea and Kerra's lives are about to intersect with that of 20-year-old Rogelio Sanchez, the birth father of a baby girl whom he signed away for adoption-a decision he now regrets. The story is compelling, but the prose is not up to Collins's usual standards. She overdetails physical movements ("air puffed from Erika's offended mouth"); characters repeatedly blink and their throats, stomachs, guts and mouths do peculiar things ("Rogelio's stomach gelled"). There are odd, lengthy descriptions ("The jury pulled at his eyes, but he focused on the judge as she positioned her computer keyboard just so and generally settled herself like a hen over eggs"). Collins inserts plenty of intrigue and false trails, although the novel's ending fails to take into account one character who is notable by her omission. Evangelical Christian readers will applaud the character of Chelsea as an example of how God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways to accomplish his objectives, but Collins fans may be wondering why her strong writing skills are not showcased here. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Fans of Collins's Eyes of Elisha will cheer the return of psychic Chelsea Adams, although this time out, she's not the one in danger. A juror on a sensational murder trial, Chelsea has promised the judge and attorneys to be guided only by the evidence and not by her supernatural visions. The circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that Darren Walk killed his wife in the dark waters off a California beach, but Chelsea senses that there may be other possibilities. When Chelsea becomes the holdout during deliberations, her fellow jurors belittle her faith. "But the Lord is with me like a dread champion; therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail." These words, taken from Jeremiah 20:11, support her against their anger and assuage the horrific visions she's having of her niece, whose attraction to Walk's son puts her in the crosshairs of a ruthless killer. A riveting mystery and courtroom drama will engage the attention of readers who hope to see more of Chelsea's visions. Recommended for most collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Stan Breckshire's right shoulder throbbed. The pain crept up his neck to the base of his skull and all the way down to his fingers. Great. His pinched nerve was cheerleading another touchdown, and the game hadn't even begun. Rah, rah, pretrial stress; let's give Stan another mess! In the prosecutor's seat behind the counsel table, Stan held his arm out from his side, rotating it at the elbow. Then rubbed the pressure point in his neck. Not even through with jury selection yet, and just look at him. Today's panel of potential jurors had been the lousiest he'd ever seen, and apparently the worst was yet to come in the search for the second and final alternate. The courtroom door opened behind Stan. He resisted the urge to look back, although both defense attorneys did so. With such pleasant faces, he might add. Stan worked to keep his own expression as pleasant as possible. He was well aware of the twelve jury members and first alternate already seated in the jury box, watching the attorneys' moves with morbid curiosity. "Come on in, folks," Judge Carol Chanson greeted the last two stragglers as a bailiff led them in. "I know it's been a long day for you. If you'll have a seat at the end of the first row in the jury box, I'll explain how we might need you." Stan's eyes darted to the two people taking their seats. One very impatient-looking man. And a knockout of a woman in her mid-thirties. Shoulder-length, cinnamon-colored hair and matching eyes. Clear skin and a trim figure, well fitted into an expensive-looking green silk shirt and off-white, belted pants. She fairly oozed grace and intelligence. Stan's heart sank. Chelsea Adams looked even worse than he'd imagined. Quickly he shuffled papers before him. Anything to keep from staring at her. He wondered if T. C., as he privately called lead defense attorney Terrance Clyde, or his sidekick, Erica Salvador, had any hint of who this woman was. As fate would have it, the defense shared the same sinking boat with Stan--they'd used the last of their preemptory challenges allotted for alternates. Stan almost smirked. Nice little irony to their demanding a change of venue. Monterey County had its share of eccentrics, but it would have had to work mighty hard to spit out a sample the likes of this woman. Knowing T. C., he'd probably used one of the minions on his fat payroll to run a check on the names of summoned people as soon as the attorneys received their lists that morning. All by his lonesome, Stan had wheedled help from a gum-snapping secretary in the district attorney's office. With rolling eyes, she'd finally agreed to check his list against the criminal clerk's records, finding out which people had previously served on a jury. But of course that's not how he'd heard the stuff on Chelsea Adams. Rather it was the I-know- something-you-don't-know look on the face of some deputy D.A. he'd run into during break just fifteen minutes ago. Someone in county records had noticed an infamous name on the list and had said something to her coworker, who'd said something to someone else, who'd run into said deputy D.A. during lunch hour. As in every county, gossip was alive and well within the courthouse walls. Stan had heard an earful and reentered the courtroom with rising panic. Stan rubbed his arm, wincing. So what? At the very worst, the woman would only be second and final alternate. If she got past his questioning at all, which she wouldn't. Judge Chanson slid on her gold-rimmed reading glasses and, for the benefit of the newly arrived, began to read the complaint against the defendant. That in The People vs. Welk, Darren Wayne Welk was charged with second-degree murder under Penal Code Section 187, yada, yada. Stan forced his eyes to the judge, barely hearing her words. Not that he needed to. He'd heard them at least two dozen times since that morning, every time a new batch of potential jurors had entered the courtroom. "Okay." Judge Chanson exchanged one paper for another, her glasses still perched on her nose. The ends were attached to a purple chain around her ample neck. Her salt-and-pepper hair was cut short, leaving nothing to frame her double chin. "First we have Greg Seecham. Mr. Breckshire?" You're my boy, Greg , thought Stan as he pushed back from the table, automatically pulling his tie. He hustled to the podium that faced the jury, making eye contact with Mr. Seecham. "Good afternoon." The guy looked almost too good to be true. A yuppie white businessman, every prosecutor's dream. Brown hair perfectly coifed; the drawn, beleaguered face of stressful success; and a designer suit--right down to the magenta power tie. Stan knew that yuppies tended to fear crime, be fiercely protective of their property, and usually hadn't suffered enough to be sympathetic to some defendant. Unfortunately, the man also brimmed with impatience, obviously not happy at missing a full day at the office. Stan opened his mouth to begin questioning, hoping against hope that Seecham wouldn't claim work hardship. "Your Honor, I have a real problem with staying." Seecham addressed the judge as if Stan weren't there. "Since I received my summons, things have now changed at my start-up software company, and I'm the only one there who can . . ." Uh-uh, too late for a sob story. It was the end of the day and every-one was tired. Besides, these two were it for the panel. No one wanted to wait for another group to be called. "Let's talk about this, Mr. Seecham," Stan pushed in before the judge could reply. "Court usually ends around five o'clock, and this case is only expected to take about two weeks. Can you manage to work in the evenings just for that long?" "No way; that's not enough time!" the man replied, as if the mere thought were ludicrous. "Well, is there a coworker who can fill in for you?" "No. As I said, I'm the only one who knows how to run the place." "And the staff can't do without you for just a few days? Surely you have a cell phone. You could check in during breaks." Seecham's face compressed. "I can't run the office from a courtroom. We're right in the middle of some very important projects, and I have to be there all day." "Could you possibly--" Excerpted from Dread Champion by Brandilyn Collins All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.