“Blood on The Bud”
Sick as our Secrets by Jim Christopher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Author’s Journal | Pen Date 2.15.2022 | TW: Violence, Death, Drug Use, Language
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Jim Christopher returns with his second novel and things have changed.
Two years following the events of Season of Waiting, our story picks up with characters in entirely new situations.
Irene Allard never left Texas after her father’s death, because of her brother’s disappearance. In her search for Wes and answers about their father’s death, Irene becomes the tenant to Finch, a recluse whose entire body is covered in third-degree burns.
Meanwhile, Emerson, our mystical healer child lives with his mother, her boyfriend, and a man named Hawk. Using Emerson’s budding abilities, they build a compound to capitalize on growing legal marijuana.
The operation appears legit, but what lies beneath the farm is a mystery capable of shaking characters to their core. Questions will be asked. Trust will be broken.
And secrets will be unearthed.
Once again, Christopher’s characters teem with individuality in vibrantly descriptive settings. Suspense builds with ease, as POVs switch from one character to the next.
Yet, the book knows where it’s going while remaining mysterious enough to keep everyone guessing.
Most importantly, we get to see more of Emerson’s abilities in this novel as he comes to grip with the possibilities.
Sick As Our Secrets puts Christopher’s abilities as a wordsmith on display. However, the novel, much like its predecessor, is a bit verbose. Having only an advanced digital copy, it’s difficult to find an exact word count, but an educated guess puts it around the 90K mark.
Some plot points from the start of the book and the predecessor don’t receive much acknowledgment. Namely “the voice.” Though, more resolution may come in the next novel(s).
Lastly, there is the unorthodox change of no longer formatting chapters with the Character’s POV. It has little to no effect on the narrative, but poses an interesting stylistic change for a series.
Sick As Our Secrets is fast paced with plenty of twists and turns. The supernatural element, and the story in general, feel original, making for great mystery and suspense in an otherwise contemporary setting.
Readers who enjoy Stephen King characters that “shine” will enjoy Emerson’s journey as he copes with familial secrets, dark entities, and a world craving to take advantage of his abilities.
Sick As Our Secrets is well deserving of Four Stars, as it sets up the next installment in the Utopian Testament saga.
*Review is part of the Reedsy Discovery Program which aims to highlight and review the work of Indie Authors.
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