Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book Review: Field of Blood

I don't read much CBA. Just a few titles here and there, for much of the same reason I don't listen to much CCM: I find a lot of it to be derivative, saccharine, preachy and boring.

Field of Bood is not that--by a long shot. Half a dozen times I shook my head, thinking, "A Christian house published this book?" Not that it's graphic, but there is more sensuality and violence than in all the CBA books I've read combined. That Wilson could pull this off, and that the publisher was brave enough to support him is amazing.

The First through Tenth Commandments for writers has long been "Show, don't tell." Next to this, the advice of Elmore Leonard stands out: "I try to leave out the parts that people skip." Wilson has mastered these two principles. No boring exposition, no masses of overblown description. But the novel falls on these points as well. It's almost as if he was writing in shorthand. There is little sense of place. There is little connection to the characters. A prime example: the horror that the main character's mother subjected her to is so fleetingly drawn that the reader has to constantly fill in the gaps.

I don't do well with this style. It's also why the films of Michael Mann don't normally appeal to me: lots of stylish showing but too little information on what is actually going on.

The premise was strong, his use of Jewish mysticism and Christian tradition was creative, and the pacing was pretty good. In the end, though, the novel didn't work for me for the critical reason that I didn't care about the characters. The protagonist was mean and snarky to everyone around her and showed little redeeming qualities until the very end, and by then it was too late for me.


  1. Eric Wilson said...

    Christopher, thanks for the honest review. I appreciate you taking the time to read my book, and while I'm sorry you didn't connect with the main character, I do hope you'll give her a second chance in the sequel, Haunt of Jackals.

    Again, it's great to have a review that is an objective critique.

  2. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Eric, thanks for stopping by the blog. I know how hard it is to write a novel, and that you have published as many as you have is a huge accomplishment.