Monday, December 12, 2011

The Canary List -review

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer.

Jaimie, a child of the foster-care system, is burdened not only with the struggle of being jaded from an uneasy childhood, but also a dark force weighing down on her. She can sense something evil in the world around her, and that evil is closing in on her, making her run for her life.  Crockett Grey, her teacher, is spending a night alone trying to drown the memories of his daughter's death in alcohol when Jaimie shows up at his door, alone and afraid. Everything spirals out of control on that fateful night when he made the decision to help this troubled student of his. With accusations springing up around him, and conspiracies to put the best conspiracy theorist to shame springing up, will Grey and Jaimie make it out of this mess unscathed? Meanwhile, trouble at the Vatican seems to be twisting intrigue and danger into Grey's and Jaimie's lives.

Overall, I thought this was an intriguing book that kept my attention until the end. Crockett Grey was an interesting character to follow. I do not know if I would say the same for every character (and there were quite a few), but I would say the story came together masterfully.

The Canary's List reminded me of the first time I read Frank Peretti's Piercing the Darkness. There were those elements of spiritual battle and suspense that rang familiar in reading this book, and it was just as captivating in this book as it had been in reading Piercing the Darkness. I would not say the books are amazingly similar, though. Peretti's book was much more spiritual and much less ambiguous than Brouwer's book was.  Peretti's was overtly spiritual, actually, and made it completely obvious this was a book centered around Christian characters in spiritual warfare. Brouwer's is a book with Christian characters (mainly Catholic) battling some sort of evil that may or may not be spiritual in nature. Really, the only reason I know this book was supposed to be Christian in some fashion is because it was published by Water Brook Press. Otherwise I would have simply thought of it as a book with Christians in it.

My main issue with the novel was the negative Catholic element. While it seemed like Brouwer was trying to give a balanced view on the novel (the church does good, but it is spoiled by a few rotten apples), it made me a bit uncomfortable, and I'm not even Catholic. While there is nothing wrong with writing fiction that is relevant to modern issues in the real world, I had to wonder if it was just laid on a bit too heavily.

Another problem was that there was a bit too much going on for my personal taste. I realize some people may like when stories have numerous plot lines occurring at once, with the author shifting from one to the other and back again. It's not something I particularly enjoy. Two or three plot lines at most is what I can handle, and having them clearly laid out so I know what is happening. I think this is simply residual hate from having to read the confusing The Sound and The Fury in Lit class in High School.

*I acquired this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers*