The Acolyte

Nick Cutter. ChiZine (Diamond, U.S. dist.; PGC/Raincoast, Canadian dist.), $16.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-77148-328-5
Scotiabank Giller Prize–nominated author Craig Davidson, writing under the Cutter pseudonym, adds another title to his growing repertoire of genre fiction. Unlike his previous two novels, this is not a horror story per se but rather a dark dystopian tale of a theocracy run amok. Jonah Murtag works in the city of New Bethlehem, in what appears to be the U.S. in an unspecified future. as a member of an elite religious police force called the Acolytes. While on a routine assignment, Jonah witnesses an extraordinary act of terrorism that forces him to question whom he trusts and what he believes. Jonah must hurry to discover who is behind the bombings before they reduce his city to rubble—and before he loses his own head in the process. Though the premise is promising and Cutter's imaginative capabilities are undeniable, the story buckles under the weight of subplots, tangents, and disappointing sentimentality. New characters and new plot lines are introduced throughout, as are digressive notes about life in New Bethlehem, which on their own may be interesting but mostly serve to distract readers from an already complicated narrative. Cutter masterfully manages the atmosphere of his grim vision, but his lack of focus is tiring and his underlying message about the unshakable nature of faith is uninspired. (May)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Compact Disc - 978-1-4945-1056-5
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