Review: Baptism by Fire

baptism by fireI’d been reading this book off and on for far too long. Part of what kept stopping me was the beginning. You’re waiting for me to say it was slow, dry, info-dumpy, or awkward, right? Well, it was none of those things. What kept me from doing my usual read ten minutes here, fifteen there, was how well done the beginning is. There is a finely-crafted emotional tenseness to this scene, and I just couldn’t read it casually. I needed to be able to sit down and sink into the story.

Oh… I got distracted! I’m talking about Baptism by Fire, by David Pascoe. This is a debut novel, but it doesn’t show. The plotting is tight, the action nicely paced, and the characters feel real. As you might guess, I highly recommend it. Also, if you have Kindle Unlimited you can lend it, so what are you waiting for? Once I had the time to sit down, I read this through in a sitting. It’s compelling, and you most likely will be surprised at the villain(s) as I know I was, not what I was expecting at all.

Now, I’m going to veer off on a diversion. As I was reading, it dredged up a deep, buried memory of a series of books by an author I would rather have forgotten. Have you ever read books that sent shivers up your spine? Well, I’m not a horror reader. I don’t like it. But at some point, I read books by this author, and it was a sick fascination. Like a train wreck I couldn’t look away from. I swore off the author close to twenty years ago because they made me – and I’m not sure how to phrase this – soul sick. Like an upset stomach, only psychically. Gah! That’s awfully flaky sounding. Hard to convey a sense of Wrongness that those books gave me.

Pascoe’s book didn’t have that. It felt clean. I enjoyed the people, I watched with interest as they worked through the conflict, and cheered at the end. But it had some of the elements. Demonic activity, a religious theme that was lightly handled and worked without making the book preachy. The other series had a heavy-handed feeling, like it was smashing you in the face with sick nasty things and grinding them in. Looking back, I wonder why I ever read any of them, although I know the earlier ones were so over the top as to be ridiculous. It was the later ones that made my guts twist. I’m talking about Frank Peretti, which anyone who was trying to find decently written Christian fiction about twenty years ago may remember. For all that his topics were twisted and off, he at least could write, which is more than I can say about much of the “Christian Fiction” I have read over the years.

Bottom line, read Baptism by Fire. If you liked the MHI series, or my Pixie Noir,  you’ll enjoy it.