The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

This is not a Christian book. Pub date is October, 2013.

Although I am allergic to foul language, I was very intrigued by this book because I grew up in Louisiana and currently live just a few miles from New Orleans. Many things mentioned in the novel, I recognized and it was neat. But, there is more than necessary foul words. You have to excuse Rice; he lives in L.A. where foul language is a common occurrence apparently since movies seem to be filled with it as well.

The story line is intriguing. Something in an Artesian  spring that feed a swimming pool attaches itself and makes people do strange and violent things.

However, when the character Shire describes Katrina he gets it ALL wrong. The hurricane did not last for days and days. There was no flooding in New Orleans from the hurricane. The flooding came from a burst levy and it did not flood all the way to Midtown (which Rice got right earlier in the novel).

I couldn't get past this gaffe. I tried reading more, even pages and pages more, but the gaffe kept me from concentrating. The main problem was when the reader is in Shire's head and Shire "recites the cold, clinical details of this cataclysm" (Katrina), he gets the "details" wrong. It's a show stopper, a story flow dam.

The character Marshall is very well developed, Ben is greatly loveable. The problem is that Rice tries to get inside the head of a young teenage girl and miserably fails. He tries to get inside the head of a black woman journalist and miserably fails because her thoughts seem trite and formulaic, rather like something he thinks would be in the mind of a black woman journalist. It doesn't ring authentic.

Rice has not mastered the art of head-jumping, although the transitions from one part of the story to another part are mostly smooth but not in every instance. One genuis example is when the story transitions from Marshall's vault through the window, and then Ben is looking out his window. That is such a smooth, effortless transition for a reader. Another one is when we jump from the black nurse Arthella to Shire the private detective. But there are numerous others that don't work well.

If you are not allergic to foul language and a graphic, almost-rape scene, along with some incredibly graphic descriptions of animal heads exploding do not bother you, then you'll probably read long into the night.

I give this 2 stars out of 5 stars. The reason is the foul language and graphic content. The story does not seem to have much value beyond those two things. Although, it is compelling, and character development is quite good for the most part.

I received this book from NetGalley to review for the publisher Simon & Schuster.

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