Sunday, November 15, 2009

First Book Club Book! Body in The Baptistry by Jim Wilcox

TABR is excited to review our very first book club book. Readers have until 12/15/09 to aquire and read a copy of Body in the Baptistry by Jim Wilcox. On the 15th, I will post a Book Club template for all participants to respond to, and formal commenting will commence on this site from 6-7pm, Mountain Standard Time. Commenting will be ongoing, so if someone failed to get the book read by the 15th, or cannot participate in the live comment period they can add their comments at any date after.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Review: Body In The Baptistery (A Gideon Grant Mystery) by Jim Wilcox

Book: Body In The Baptistery (A Gideon Grant Mystery)

Author: Jim Wilcox

Release Date: September 2006 (Tate Publishing)

Genre: Christian Fiction; mystery (soft-boiled)

Pages: 318

Review Date:11/11/2009

Book Synopsis (Back Matter)

What's Gideon Grant to do now that his mentor in his newfound faith has been assassinated? What any red-blooded ex-cop turned PI would do--find the cold blooded killer. Jim Wilcox's Body in the Baptistery takes you along for the chase with danger at every turn. Betrayal and death test Grant's new faith, but he perseveres with the tenacity of Jane Marple and the patience of Hecule Poirot. On his first plunge into the waters of mystery writing, author Jim Wilcox dives into the deep end of the pool and doesn't come up for air until a series of murders is solved. Take a deep breath when you open Body in the Baptistery--it will keep you submerged in mystery to the end.

Review: Baptistry was overall a fun and enjoyable read. It is set in several US cities including Houston and Springfield. Gideon Grant, the ethyl sipping addict of the past turned reformed Christian and tenacious yet reluctant private detective works off his own demons while fighting the demons of others as a tale of mafia, mayhem, and generally criminal chaos challenge the nascent Christian’s belief in a higher power.

On the writing style: Baptistry is written primarily as mass market trade (detective), with one liner zingers that really are clever and add a good zest to the storyline. Wilcox does a remarkable job with subtle life observations cloaked as sarcasm on the at times silliness of human interaction. For instance, characters in the book will perform immensely human tasks such as discreetly parking in the “guest” spot of parking lots which they do not qualify for, and other mild human mores. Baptistery does at times deviate from genre fiction with at times subtle and at times more overt Christian narratives which will likely be enjoyed by those of the Judeo-Christian ideological spectrum, but may be tangents or at times challenging to those of non-Christian faiths.

On the Target Audience: As just alluded, the main audience is likely to be fans of Christian fiction, and especially those aligning with Protestant paradigms. However, in my opinion the book is broad enough to be enjoyed by general fans of mystery and suspense, and should not be considered only for Christian Fiction Readers.

On the best parts: The most enjoyable aspect of this book includes the sarcastic banter scenarios and also the structured chapter endings. Wilcox really does a very nice job punctuating the ending of nearly every chapter, which is a difficult skill many authors have not mastered, but which Wilcox does very well. The storyline itself is also fun and reminiscent of classic conflict structures, but superimposed with a modern retwinking that makes for an authentic feel.

Closing thoughts and overall summary: Baptistery is a worthy read that will not be a waste of time or effort to the interested consumer. I highly enjoyed the story and easily recommend it to others. Baptistery does not have gratuitous violence or sexuality, but does have real substance when this type of narrative is needed to push the story along. At times the plot sequencing is a bit formula driven, but not in a bad way. In other words Wilcox appears to value the character sequence more than the plot, and so the book is more about figuring out how the characters will deal with the ending, rather than what the ending is itself, per say. (In analogy we all know Perry Mason is going to win the court case, but the discovery is more in the backward looking details and how the lives and personalities came to the story climax, which Wilcox does brilliantly). It is easy to see why Wilcox lands another two books in the Gideon grant Series, which I look forward to reviewing soon on this site! Good read!

Heath Sommer