Showing posts with label Luke Gracias. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Luke Gracias. Show all posts

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias

Rating: WARTY!

I was completely misled by the book blurb here. I know that's what book blurbs do: it's their job, and you can't blame the author for them unless the author self-publishes, but a blurb usually has something to do with the story it's purportedly describing. This one really did not - at least not as judged by the first fifty percent of this novel, which is all I could stand to read.

I thought I was getting an advance review copy of a supernatural story: the Devil and all His Works kind of thing - but it turned out to be nothing more than a slasher book, worthy of the Halloween and Friday the 13th movies. I gave up on it at fifty percent because of this. I was thoroughly disgusted with it and completely turned off by it.

The blurb tells it like it's all about Siobhan, the young daughter of a nun who committed suicide, but the first half of the book is not about Siobhan at all, except in the most cursory sense. It consists of long, tedious excerpts from her mom's secret diary, which are told in first person voice - the very voice I most detest.

One major reason I detest it is because of the utter lack of credibility in first person accounts which are unbelievably detailed and far too precise to actually be a first person account. Any cop listening to a story like that from a witness would immediately dismiss it as made-up at best, and outright lies at worst. No one tells a story of something that happened to them in this manner except in novels and it's so unrealistic that I cannot stand to read it. It's very rare to find a 1PoV novel that's worthy of reading. This one didn't even come close.

The worst part was the account of the rape. I've never been raped and I can't pretend for a second I can speak for anyone who has, but speaking from my own PoV and from what I have read about this topic, including people who had been forced to suffer it, this account by Siobhan's mom was ridiculous in the extreme. To me, it was insulting to those who have been violated like this and cheapened the real horror and brutality of it. I recommend that the author read some of those accounts, and completely rewrite this section of the novel, and then he might avoid clunky dialog like, "As my body was violated I felt defiled." Seriously?

Even if this had happened to Siobhan's mom the way she said, I honestly could not believe for a minute that she would write the account of it the way she did in, so much lurid detail with word-for-word conversations - not in an account intended for her own daughter. It felt like she was telling a story rather than recounting something horrific which had actually happened to her. And why would she? Why not just say "I was raped and made a pact with the Devil, and I took my revenge on those who attacked me"? It made no sense whatsoever that she would write it like this for page after page, after page, and it made me fully aware throughout the entire time that I was reading a sensationalized and revoltingly-misguided attempt to stir up sexual emotion rather then tell a realistic story.

This is the problem with 1PoV. Siobhan's mom could not have been present for some of this story, so there is no way she could recount what happened, and there's no way that someone who had been traumatized like that - broken and injured, and put into a coma - could (or would even want to) recall so much detail of what happened. Even if she did, I cannot believe for a minute than any mom would share all this to her daughter in so much gory and sordid detail. It was like the author thought that rape alone wasn't bad enough, and unless he went into immense detail about it, there really was no crime to "justify" her behavior afterwards - like this woman hadn't really been raped unless she was further violated with all the nasty fine points.

The diary goes on to describe not just the rape in excruciating detail, but also how her mom took bloody revenge on those who had abused her, killing them in brutal fashion worthy only of cheap B movies. It was too ridiculous and at this point was so far from what the blurb had told me I'd be reading, that I quit in disgust. I cannot recommend this book based on the misleading blurb and the fifty percent I read which treats rape so lightly. If you're into splatter-punk, then this might be for you, but if you wanted a supernatural thriller, you're in the wrong book.