Wednesday, November 27, 2013

REVIEW: "A Jealous God" - by Dee Wilbur (Fire and Ice Book Tours)

"Compellingly told from multiple points of view, A Jealous God follows Emma on her labyrinthine journey in search of the truth at all costs. A brilliant attorney with unflappable focus, she becomes consumed with learning who is responsible for several similar birth defects originating in her hometown. Her quest introduces her to a number of colorful characters. One of these is Jon, the local attorney whose largest client—Hays Chemical—is the target of Emma’s investigation. Jon embarks in pursuit of answers of his own, only to come to the realization that the suffering heaped upon these children dates back far further than he, Emma, or Hays Chemical could have ever imagined. It was, in fact, foretold in the oldest book of all."

A Jealous God by Dee Wilbur
Virtual Book Tour Dates: 11/1/13 to 11/29/13
Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Medical Mystery, Beach Read

A Jealous God … dishes up a fast-paced mix of mystery and intrigue.”
New York Times best selling author Ellen Tanner Marsh

“A thought provoking formula that will haunt your daydreams.”
Herman W. Brune, national award winning author

Beatrice Dee Pipes and Charles Wilbur Yates, Jr. write under the pen name Dee Wilbur, a combination of their middle names.

Both are Texas natives and both graduated from Rice University. Ms. Pipes runs And Take Names, a company that assists other companies with marketing, project management, and other tasks. She has been married to her husband Bryan for thirty-five years. They reside in Houston. Charles Yates is retired after thirty years in the practice of radiology. He has been married to his wife Sally for fifty years with four children and eight grandchildren. He tends his garden in Richmond, Texas.

Pregnancy is a good thing.  Elation at the successful union of sperm and egg is pretty typical - it's a pretty exciting thing to find out new life is beginning.  But what are you supposed to do when that new life brings nothing but sorrow, heartache, and a desperate need to know why?

Long Story Short
Dee Wilbur has here crafted a beautiful piece of writing that lifts readers up, crashes them down, and displays a side of humanity that is rather ugly in its brutal honesty.

A couple finds out they are going to be parents after years of trying - elation....followed quickly by heartache when they find out there is something "wrong" with the baby that means it will not survive more than a few minutes post-birth.  Another couple has a baby with the same issue.  Yet another couple has a baby with the same issue.  Their connecting factor?  Where they grew up.  A disturbing thing?  Most of them can remember a local chemical spill when they were younger.

This book tells the story of an attorney who is bound and determined to figure out who and/or what caused the birth defect that killed her baby son mere minutes after he was born.  What she finds out might destroy her, her career, and her sanity.

A supremely well-written whirlwind, this book is expertly crafted and tells the story from multiple viewpoints, often evoking raw emotion.  Few books can literally make me cringe.  This one did.

Overall I give this book a 4 out of 5 rating.

Long Story
Alright, are you prepared for my nit-picky its-late-and-i'm-tired snarkiness while I review this fabulous book?  Okay, then let's have at it...

I'm gonna talk design first, because the visual aspects of this book jumped out at me first. First, the frog on the front cover seriously made me stare for several minutes - does it actually have 3 legs or not (you look and tell me....go ahead, I'll wait while you scroll up)?  Second, the font on the inside is awesome.  As I'm too lazy and tired right now to go take a picture, you'll have to take my word for it.  I like the's cool.  :)

Let's move on to the writing style itself.  Honestly, it made me nervous when I initially was told this book was team written by two people.  Team writing either goes one of two ways: super positively or super negatively.  Luckily for everyone involved, this book went positively.  You can't even really tell there were two voices speaking into the plot of this book.  It is a rather seamless combination of two people's ideas, and I really liked it!

The writing style itself is very efficient and straightforward, which is good considering the very difficult content.  As a mother, my heart was aching after the first few pages.  We open to a couple who is birthing a child far too early.  We move on to read the gut-wrenching story of a couple who is trying to get pregnant...and then discovers there is something wrong with the baby.  This is the same thing wrong with the baby who was delivered too early from the first chapter, and the same thing wrong with a couple more babies that Emma, the main lady, discovers through some nefarious means worthy of a spy novel.

What do these couple with similarly malformed babies have in common? They grew up in the same community, a community which holds a history containing a chemical spill when these people were young.  Is exposure to the chemicals leaked during that spill to blame for these babies issues?  That is exactly what Emma wants to find out.  And when she finds out, whomever is responsible will pay.

But what will she discover?  And will she survive the truth?

Of course I'm not gonna answer the two questions above for you - you need to read the book to find out those answers.  I suggest you get reading.  The ending is something that I didn't see coming. It contains a plot twist that threatens to make the most seasoned readers nauseous (for more than one reason).  Its an ending fitting to the book - engaging, disturbing, riveting.  Go get reading!

Let's see, what is written in a very "real" manner, meaning that I could see each of these scenes actually playing out.  The main character reminds me an awful lot of Julia Robert's character in "Erin Brokovich", and she is surrounded by some rather interesting people and is on a mission.  When this woman is on a mission, everyone knows.  She isn't on track to become a partner at a prestigious law firm for nothing!  Like a bulldog on a bone, she pursues this matter to the bitter end...and then probably wishes she hadn't.

I'd be remiss not to mention the Biblical aspect, especially after this book closes with a Bible verse and the title specifically mentions God.  I have to say, I loved the rather non-conventional way of running with the verse mentioned (and if I mentioned the verse, you'd get too much of a this book yourself to figure out this unique, rather disturbing, disquieting, and compelling ending).  Wilbur presents an interesting way this verse can be realized in our modern a way that made my skin crawl, granted, but a way that could actually be realized.  *shudder*

Overall, this book is well written, compelling, addicting, concise, and surprising.  It should definitely go on your "to read" list.  : )

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
To some of you who are familiar with my blog, it may sound like I'm a bit of a broken record.  Sorry.

Anyway, my biggest quibble here is that characters sound too familiar.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - when characters sound too similar to one another, it is a signal that the author's voice is speaking too much instead of the characters' voices.  Each of these characters sounded exactly like one another, except for possibly the crotchety old man in New Orleans.  Not good.  It bugged me through the whole book.

Also, while almost everything else written is in a very direct, efficient manner, conversations were hard to track.  There were not enough "he said, "blah blah blah."  she responded, "blink blink blink"".  I had to keep backing up and tracking through the conversations with my finger to figure out who in the heck was talking at any given point.

Finally, this book is told from multiple viewpoints.  While this can be done well, here it is a bit splotchy and disconnected in some points.  I would have found it helpful to have a character glossary at the end so I could keep track of who was who.  Perhaps, however, this is symptomatic of my mother-of-a-toddler-tired brain, so I'm willing to give this book the benefit of the doubt in this arena.  : )

But don't let me distract this book!

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