Write In Between

Saturday, August 29, 2009

BLEEDER, a brief review

Last Sunday I gave myself the luxury of a quiet afternoon. The needs of the family had been met and they were all feverishly engaged in a few activities that did not have to include me... so I curled up on our back porch and read John Desjarlais' newest book, a mystery entitled Bleeder (Sophia Institute, August 2009.)

As I usually review non-fiction works in this space, and works of theology, I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised to find the Christian message and the Catholic theology alluded to in this book remarkably intact. Not to mention, I enjoyed the characters, the scenery, the pace and timing, and the turns the plot took.

What's more, I immediately identified with the main character, who had undergone major surgery on his hip, and as part of his recovery, escaped out to a little cabin in the middle of nowhere to "write".... something I had done just last year after my hip surgery.

As for the finer details of the story, I'll let the book synopsis do that for me:

When classics professor Reed Stubblefield is disabled in a school shooting, he retreats to a rural Illinois cabin to recover and to write a book on Aristotle in peace. Oddly, in the chill of early March, the campgrounds and motels of tiny River Falls are filled with the ill and infirm -- all seeking the healing touch of the town’s new parish priest, reputed to be a stigmatic. Skeptical about religion since his wife’s death from leukemia, Reed is nevertheless drawn into a friendship with the cleric, Rev. Ray Boudreau, an amiable Aquinas scholar with a fine library -- who collapses and bleeds to death on Good Friday in front of horrified parishioners. A miracle? Or bloody murder? Once Reed becomes the prime 'person of interest' in the mysterious death, he seeks the truth with the help of an attractive local reporter and Aristotle’s logic before he is arrested or killed -- because not everyone in town wants this mystery solved...

This book celebrates the fact that God, and people's faith in him is alive and well. And yet, while people still believe in the healing power of God, sometimes such faith can be misdirected... by placing it in people, rather than in the Almighty.

I also appreciated that this book is rated PG, if I can compare it to the movie ratings systems. It did not offend my senses with gratuitous licentiousness or vulgarities.

Bleeder's mystery is well-crafted, and a perfect escape for adults and teens. You can buy Bleeder, or read an excerpt, here.

I was introduced to John and his writing at the Catholic Writer's Guild summer conference a few weeks ago. Find out about more about author John Desjarlais, and his other books here. After Bleeder, I'm looking forward to reading his earlier works!

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