(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Drummer in the Dark intermingles the bizarre and the mundane in both characters and story line to produce a tale of murder, politics, faith, and courage. Written in 2001, the novel portrays events that could very well be played out today. Grant Wells, the opportunistic governor of Florida, seeks to use the recent, disabling stroke of Congressman Graham Hutchings to advance his interests in Washington by nominating his brother-in-law, Wynn Bryant, as the replacement for Hutchings. Grant’s wife, Sybel, Bryant’s sister, also encourages her brother to run for the interim congressional seat, albeit for her own reasons. As a staunch enemy of Hutchings’s efforts to curb the out-of-control banking and financial industry, Grant instructs his brother-in-law to do only one thing while he is in Washington: to see to it that the Jubilee bill is killed. The bill was Hutchings’s attempt to restrict the banking industry’s ability to manipulate world currencies and thereby significantly reduce the debt of developing nations. In the meantime, Hutchings’s wife, Esther, hires a second-rate private investigator, Jackie Havilland, a former graduate student in finance who has an ax to grind with the hedge-fund industry leader, Hayek Funds Group. Esther wants Jackie to research the opposition to the Jubilee bill.

As events begin to control of the lives of the characters, Wynn takes his seat as a hapless puppet congressman of the Florida governor and quickly becomes the laughingstock of the staffers in his Washington office. It seems...

(The entire section is 631 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Eichengreen, Barry, and Donald Mathieson. Hedge Funds: What Do We Really Know? Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 1999. One in a series of books developed by the IMF to help laypersons and bureaucrats alike have a better understanding of the murky world of international financial markets. Because of the way hedge funds appear to operate like mutual funds, but with less restriction and oversight, they have been linked to several financial and currency crises around the world. Interview with T. Davis Bunn. Provides a biographical sketch of Bunn and an interview that surveys several of his novels, including his Heirs of Acadia series.

Mort, John. Review of Drummer in the Dark. Booklist 97, no. 21 (July, 2001): 1948. A lukewarm response to the novel, concluding that Bunn is “writing hurriedly in a style that strikes a high tone and then descends into stale slang and shallow characterizations.”

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Implication of the Growth of Hedge Funds: A Staff Report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Washington, D.C.: Author, 2003. This report, by the staff of the SEC, provides a comprehensive overview of the nature of hedge funds, their exponential growth, and recommendations regarding the management and regulation of such funds. An excellent primer for understanding the backdrop of Drummer in the Dark.

Zaleski, Jeff. Review of Drummer in the Dark. Publishers Weekly 248, no. 27 (July 2, 2001): 50. Notes that the novel succeeds in expanding Bunn’s traditionally Christian audience to a mainstream one.