Thursday, July 28, 2011
Book Review: Sleight of Hand by Deanne Blackhurst
Daniel Cabrero does something in the beginning of this book which, in the thousands of books I've read, rarely happens to the main character at that point--he dies. Adding to the mix is that Daniel isn't an innocent person. He's a cheat and a cad, a con man who has spent his life caring about himself far more than others and treating his fellow men (mostly women) as rungs on his ladder to success.
Right away, Daniel meets his guide, Jonah, who takes him to a place called Wasteland. The setting is beautiful and peaceful, surrounded by nature. At first Daniel loves it there, but soon realizes that his idyllic surroundings are not all they appear to be. The con man is condemned to his fate unless he humbles himself and is willing to make some tough choices.
Deanne Blackhurst has a fantastic imagination, and all the detail added a rich dimension to the setting. I could picture everything as I read. A lot of the book didn't jive with my personal belief of the afterlife, but that's partly why I enjoyed this story. It made me think about the legacy I'll leave my family and the end results of my choices. I enjoy stories that make me think, "What if?" Sleight of Hand is like nothing else I've read before, though if Christian speculative fiction is like this, I want to read more of it.
The book needs a thorough proofreading, as I kept stumbling over editing issues. However, the story was so intriguing that I had to keep reading. I thought about the book when I was away from my computer and I looked forward to going back and finishing. The fact that I wanted to keep reading in spite of the editing scores major points for the author, as poor editing is usually a deal-breaker for me.
The only thing I would have liked to see more of was the conflict inside Daniel's soul. Part of the process he goes through includes reliving old memories of things he did. Instead of Daniel being thrown back into reliving most of the memories as they first happened to him, I would have liked to see him viewing his actions from an outside perspective more often. I would have been more sympathetic toward Daniel if I could have seen more of his emotional processing. However, I found his character very interesting and the whole book quite memorable.
Deanne is a great storyteller, and I'm very much looking forward to more books by her. I'll be thinking about Sleight of Hand for a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
(Heads up: some of my readers might want to know that there are a few very minor swear words in this book.)
Until August 31st, you can purchase an e-book copy of Sleight of Hand for only $1.99. Go here: Smashwords and enter code MX73D.
**I was given a free e-book for the purpose of this review. I have not been compensated in any way for my opinions.**