Unholy Hunger, Lure of the Serpent Series #1
By: Heather James
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Kregel Publications
I like gritty fiction and the inner workings of minds fascinates me. When I was offered a chance to read Heather James's Unholy Hunger I hesitated, the subject matter is tough and not something I'd ever seek out to fill my brain. I avoid immersing myself in the darker portions of our culture because seeing and reading about the ways people harm themselves and others depresses me. But the intrigue of the book cover copy caused me, knowing up front that the subject matter would be closer to hellish than the heavenlies, to ask for a review copy.
Let me tell you why I strongly liked this short novel. I have to say liked because I don't know that the subject matter could ever put this into the love category for me.
Heather James is an excellent writer. Her prose is tense, tight, snappy and full of sense triggers. Her characters are multidimensional and even though the entire story plays out through the eyes and angst, soul and senses of Evelyn, the reader gets a clear understanding of the motivations and drives of the other characters in the book. Tension pulled at me so the pages turned faster and faster as I both dreaded and couldn't wait to find out what happened next. James handles the subject matter with sensitivity and with grace, giving just enough detail to get the point across without assaulting my heart.
The basic plot-line or skeleton of the story is this... a small child is abducted and murdered and the mother, Evelyn, completely unravels. As Evelyn comes undone she finds the depth of darkness in her own soul and her marriage unhinges, too. But there is more to the story....the flesh and heart of the story, beyond the all too real darkness, is the light that is altogether more powerful. The horror in the storyline is secondary to the redemption that comes when God bleeds, literally and figuratively, into the lives of humanity.
The subject matter includes child abuse, abduction, molestation, murder and there are moments of horror as things are revealed. I would not recommend it to anyone who is raw with emotion. And those who look for inspirational fiction full of light and innocence aren't going to want to go there. However, if you've read The Shack and loved it or if you love gritty, well-written fiction, read it. Kudos to the editors/publishers/marketing folks who brought this book to print as well as Ms. James's hard work in pouring her heart and soul into the computer and tightening the prose until it zings.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer