Michael Stewart travels back in time through a mysterious tunnel in an old church. He again finds himself in biblical times. His teenage daughter soon follows him through the tunnel where she must fight a cruel Roman soldier. She does not know her father has safely returned to the present. Michael must fight his own battles as blood found in his car makes him a suspect in his daughter's disappearance.
Reading this book was a difficult exercise for me. First of all, it is a sequel. It was not identified as such or I would not have offered to read it. The author is not skilled in weaving enough of the first book into this one so that I could easily understand what was going on. There were many allusions to events in the first book, but not in a way that helped me to understand what had happened in that book.
Secondly, it is just not that well written. The dialogue is stilted, repetitive, and not very interesting. Action starts off going somewhere and then abruptly halts or goes backward. The writing is not polished. For example: “He whacked her so hard...” (130) (Really? Whacked?) The main character, Michael, is not a very quick thinking man, is full of anger, is rude, drinks way too much wine, and in general is just not very likable. The book lacks good editing. For example: “There was answer.” (142)
Thirdly, I have theological issues with this book. Starting on page 97, Jesus begins to talk, saying things not recorded in the Bible. Now, that might be acceptable, except that Jesus says things in this book that are the opposite of what is recorded in the Bible. For example: “My father's Kingdom awaits everyone.” (98) “...[M]y Father's Kingdom grants eternal life to all.” (172) Jesus actually said few would find the way. Jesus gives a cloth to Michael that is to be used to “cleanse your soul from the troubles of the past and invigorate your heart.” (102) A dove rises from a Roman soldier's spear. (98) When Michael talks to his wife who died many years ago, they share their regrets. When they want to hold each other, Jesus makes it happen. (117)
And lastly, the twist at the end, I mean on the very last page, is unsatisfactory. It is almost as if the author thought he needed to make a lead into a third novel in the series, so totally reversed the situation in a matter of a few sentences.
These books Sullivan is writing are somewhat biographical, based on his childhood and adult memories. I am sure it must be cathartic to write about one's troubled childhood. I just did not find reading the book to be a positive experience.
Michael John Sullivan graduated from St. John's University with a communications degree. He was homeless at the age of 23 after watching his mother, his protector in a dysfunctional family, die from cancer. His father asked him to leave a year later. He road the New York subway at night. During those bleak days he began writing about his childhood and adult memories. He was eventually rescued by an aunt and uncle. After spending the last two decades raising their daughters while working at home, he returned to his notes in 2007 and began writing his first book. Necessary Heartbreak was published by Simon & Schuster. Sullivan lives with his family in New York. Find out more at www.MichaelJohnSullivan.com.
Fiction Studio Books, 326 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from The B&B Media Group for the purpose of this review.