Eric Wilson, Author . WaterBrook $12.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-57856-744-7

In this bizarre thriller for the Christian market, a jilted old woman with a hatred for men has a deadly secret that could wreak havoc upon the population of the Oregon coast. Framing his novel around chess strategy, Wilson introduces Josee Walker, once given up for adoption rather unbelievably by her wealthy parents, Kara and Marsh Addison. Now a cynical artist and poet in her 20s, she's come upon a canister that will make her a pawn in a horrendous scheme. The canister holds a poison for the body and the soul. "Hidden things are at work here," cautions Marsh's mother. "Elements that remain dark to our mortal eyes." Things get creepy, with blood and vaporous green mists like serpents showing up in unlikely places. To help defeat the forces of evil, Josee must rely on the fragments of a faith she's mostly left behind. Quirky twists delightfully catch the reader off-guard throughout the story, and Wilson nimbly sprinkles clues throughout. Strong verbs carry the text, but the slangy dialogue turns stale down the stretch. Occasionally, the writing veers off into the genuinely strange, and at more than 400 pages, some cutting would have helped the pacing. The ending disintegrates into prolonged mayhem, with some light gore and a predictable showdown with the bad guys. Still, Wilson's fresh voice holds promise, and CBA thriller aficionados should welcome this debut. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 315 pages - 978-0-307-55213-6
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