One of the great things about conventions is that occasionally people hand you things once they know that you a) read and b) review things. This was the case with this book, the author and I have floated around similar circles for a while, both being writers and local to the Nashville area. So I was handed this novel and wow what a ride it’s been.
Picture a world where a super serum transforms three college students into heroes. Superheroes that took to the street and fought crime and racked up a body count that the mobs could only dream of. What if you had someone who was dedicated to ending this experiment by any means possible, to wiping out anyone tainted with the serum permanently.
The titular character of this book is such a person. And I will tell you that this book is gripping and well-written. Alan’s craft is solid and good, the imagery is incredibly vivid. This character, however, this Bishop who’s alternate persona of a goodly local priest… Eric Raven is a horrible human being.
Because this book, this series of interconnected short vignettes, is about the rise and eventual fall of Father Eric Raven, The Bishop of Port Victoria. A man who hates the supers so much that he will murder babies in their sleep to prevent the super bloodline from propagating. He is the worst kind of human and just like a horrific car crash happening in front of you on the freeway, once you pick this up, you’ll have a hard time looking away.
It’s not an easy read by any means, and it hits especially hard, given the current climate of fear and hatred that permeates our country at the moment. Father Raven is the embodiment of the darker uglier sides that exist in this country. I was not sorry to see how he eventually winds up.
If you like darker fiction and the gritty pulp styles of writing, give this a try. If you are at all sensitive to racial/religious violence and/or violence against women, I’d stay away from it. It can get triggery in places.