Thursday, May 03, 2007

Blog Tour - Tribulation House

Some books just have a great concept that makes a reader wonder, "Why didn't anyone do this before. It's fabulous!"

Today's book featured in the CFBA is one such book. Tribulation House, the third book by novelist and magazine editor (and all around busy guy) Chris Well. I had an interview with him that I posted here. Today I want to review TH.

Here's the back cover blurb:

Mark Hogan has it all. The job. The family. A position on the board at church. All he’s missing is a boat. Not just any boat—a 2008 Bayliner 192.

When Reverend Daniel Glory announces that the Rapture is taking
place on October 17 at 5:51 am, Hogan realizes his boat–buying days are numbered. So he does what any man in his situation would do—he borrows a load of money from the mob. Not that there’s any risk involved: After all, when the Rapture comes, Hogan will be long gone. The mob will never find him. But when Jesus fails to come back on schedule, Mark Hogan finds the mob is in no mood to discuss the finer points of end–times theology...

You're smiling already, right?

Honestly, this could be a real one-note story that falls flat. Thankfully, Chris is a talented writer who keeps things moving by incorporating the story into the world of the Kansas City mob and the law enforcement trying to take them down - the world that was the setting for his previous two novels, Forgiving Solomon Long and Deliver Us from Evelyn. We get to follow along with lovable, comic book geek detective Charlie Pasch as he finds his groove. Detective Tom Griggs has some confrontation to do and a major surprise. Other new characters are brought in to fill out this tale, all connected to our Rapture-watching protaganist in various ways.

This is Well's most blatantly Christian novel, and pokes some good natured fun at those who stand around watching the sky for Jesus' return a little too much, while giving us a nudge in the right direction. Humor is hard to pull off, but he does it with just the right touch of speaking to serious issues as well.

One of his strengths is his unique characterizations. He seems to be trying to restrain himself as far as number of characters, but still does a great job of making each distinctive. For the most part he makes the mobsters believable creatures without making them vulgar (although one gangster calling another "dum-dum" didn't ring true). The main character gets so self-focused you want to smack him, but that is probably how he should be treated!

The ending will leave you wanting more, I can promise you that! (Grrr...) Again, Chris has a quick pace that carries you through the book, an enjoyable read that tickles your funny bone and pricks your conscience.

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