Book Review - As the Darkness Deepens by Michael Cale


Newton's Third Law of Motions states that "For ever action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Michael Cale's latest novel, As the Darkness Deepens, is an interesting study in this universal law as it relates to the forces of good and evil. While this is a common storyline, Cale's strong characterization and the powerful climax give an otherwise trite subject substance to formulate a solid story.

We first meet the unassuming Christopher Jones walking his seven-year-old daughter, Sally, to school. After hugs and a kiss, Christopher sends his child across the street, when suddenly a careening car slams into Sally, mortally wounding her. In the terror of the moment, Christopher draws upon a mysterious power to heal his daughter, saving her life. This act of love creates an equal and opposite reaction that literally births the story's primary antagonist.

Christopher discovers a renewed sense of self and direction. He transforms from a soft-spoken pushover to a man filled with the need to use his new power for the good of humanity. Eventually, word of his powers spread, and he attracts hundreds and thousands of the hopeless, the infirm, and the insane. Christopher becomes nothing more than a pinball, bouncing off those who want to help to those wanting to take advantage and back again.

Cale, whose 2001 novel, The Room of Shrunken Souls, was an Eppie Finalist, knows how to construct a solid story. Here he does a satisfactory job of blending the good and evil in greedy entertainment executives, religious cults, and the Catholic Church. When all three of these groups collide in the dramatic finale, the reader is given a powerful overview of the morale fallacies harbored in day-to-day dogma. Effectively using the dingy backdrop of south Los Angeles, he builds an array of vivid character that overflow from the 150 page novel.

Despite several annoying dialogue tics and a sometimes sloppy narrative style, Cales nails the characters and setting. I would recommend As the Darkness Deepens to readers as a study in the evil side of morality bringing destruction to good.

Published by LTDBooks
ISBN: 1-55316-138-6
150 Pages
$14.95 Hardback, $5.00 eBook
http://www.ltdbooks.com

Jason Sizemore is the publisher of Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, a quarterly magazine of dark science fiction, interviews, book reviews, and essays. You can read more about Jason and his writing at members.iglou.com/jasonb/index.html">http://members.iglou.com/jasonb/index.html. Apex Digest has its own website at www.apexdigest.com">http://www.apexdigest.com


MORE RESOURCES:
According to Barnes & Noble's survey, 77% of Americans read at least one book, newspaper or magazine during Thanksgiving or other holiday travel, while 60% of travelers usually bring, buy or borrow reading material specifically for travel on Thanksgiving Eve. Some 73% of respondents said they felt that traveling on the day before Thanksgiving is a "good time to bring a book they would enjoy and be able to read," and just over a quarter of Americans feel that "bringing a book along for Thanksgiving could give them a way to get out of an uncomfortable or awkward conversation with a relative or other guest."

Anuk Arudpragasam has won the prestigious ?DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 for his novel, "?The Story of a Brief Marriage", published by Granta in the UK, and by Flatiron in the USA

Arudpragasam was awarded the $25,000 (£18,830) prize along with a unique trophy by Hon'ble Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, minister of finance of Bangladesh ?at the Dhaka Literature Festival in Bangladesh.

Little House on the Prairie Fans will likely enjoy Publishers Weekly's article, "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Laura Ingalls Wilder."

The national book awards for 2017 have been announced.
The winners are:
Fiction: Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
Nonfiction: Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
Poetry: Frank Bidart, Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016
Young People's Literature: Robin Benway, Far from the Tree

Annie Proulx received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Indies First/Small Business Saturday 2017 and the start of the holiday shopping season are just a week and a half away (Nov 25), and more independent bookstores around the United States are finalizing their plans for the annual celebration of bookselling and small businesses. Shelf Awareness rounds up some of the planned activities...

Bookstore sales declined 6.5% this September, compared to September 2016, according to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday morning. Sales in September were $1.01 billion, down from $1.8 billion a year ago.

The Observer newspaper continues its 2+ year project to review what it deems to be the top 100 nonfiction books of all time. The series began in February 2016 with their No. 1 pick, Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction and is on track to complete by the turn of the year. The most recent review is for The Diary of Samuel Pepys coming in at No. 92.

The Observer is the sister newspaper to the better known British newspaper, The Guardian. The Observer publishes on Sundays, The Guardian publishes on all other days of the week. Both newspapers combine their content into theguardian.com website.

With 4 million or 17% of all online ebooks being pirated, novelists including Maggie Stiefvater and Samantha Shannon say theft by fans puts their books at risk.

The playwright Tom Stoppard has won the David Cohen prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature, hailed as a "giant of 20th-century British drama" with an "outstanding and enduring body of unfailingly creative, innovative and brilliant work."

Howard Jacobson in the Guardian asks how many of us still read a book in bed?

thatware.org ©