Hush Child

Hush Child, Kindle Direct Publishing, a mystical, spiritual, mystery of a somewhat allegorical nature by David Halverson.

Plot: The tenure of the story is set with a quote from Malachi 5:4-6: “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents: or else I will come and strike the earth with a curse.” The story then opens with a man whose face is marred with distinctive scars placing his hand on the prostitute’s shoulder and saying “She will be named Anna. I will return when she is eleven.” He leaves, drives his Jeep from Manhattan to a West Side high-rise apartment where he moves to his balcony and begins taking pictures with a high-powered camera of an adjacent apartment. The view is of a woman, man and young girl sitting at the breakfast table. It is the girl Mara’s 5th birthday. In the next chapter the reader finds the disgruntled teen Mara glancing at the clock and deciding to leave a restaurant because someone had not shown. She passes a vagrant who “gawps” at her and asks “Are you Mara?” and follows with “You look just like your mother.” He is late for their meeting, persuades her to return to the restaurant and he continues that his name is Judah and had been married to her mother Cora, and would explain why he had lost touch. From this point the story unfolds as we follow this man who had been incarcerated for eight years and until now had not discovered anything worth sobering up for until this daughter becomes the 25th victim of a serial kidnapper/killer. He along with Summer Durand, a street smart detective, embarks upon attempting to find her along with Summer’s own daughter who also becomes a victim. Along the way, Judah becomes a ‘born again Christian’ and the tale gradually expands to involve numerous other characters. Some are victims, others, many in high official positions, enter the story and the author additionally expounds on many factors including involvement in the moral state of existence as encountered in today’s society, a look at humanity’s future as it lies under the “Curse”, and as with perestroika in Russia, one “…cannot bring about sweeping change in government that has been long entrenched within their respective mode of operation and not bring about cataclysmic chaos and wreckage.” He then continues with details about “the Perestroika Movement that erupted within American scholarship in the year 2000.” The action continues shifting from scene to scene and includes quite graphic details of sadistically motivated anatomical destruction along with the other activity as Judah somewhat emulates Jesus and eventually a number of the secondary ‘protagonists’ proceed together “…to begin to usher in a new era, where the curse will begin to roll back.”

Discussion: The author has set forth a scathing, and quite probably true, assessment of society as it exists today. It is a story of good versus evil with the good embodied in a derelict who ‘has seen the light’ to become ‘a man of God’; the evil, a depraved, sadistic, Satan-like character. A large part of the tale is presented in a somewhat unreal (?), ethereal (?), spiritual manner and as a whole in a way that no doubt will intrigue readers with a certain mind set. Regrettably, although the thoughts behind the story are totally embraced by this reader, a somewhat more ‘disciplined’ approach would have made it more enjoyable. A caveat also must be provided for readers with respect to the inclusion of graphic anatomical destruction and also perhaps for the reader who may be ‘uncomfortable’ with religious discussions.

3* 4* Intriguing, scathing assessment of today’s society enjoyable for most; caveat(s) as explained.

Voor Elise, Memories of the ‘Lo

Voor Elise, Memories of the ‘Lo ISBN: 9781457552632, first offered by Dog Ear Publishing, a memoire in e-book by Denise Keustermans and Henry Sienkiewicz.

This is a story “about seven children left orphaned after their parents’ deaths” and their struggles “to find their own paths, paths that went across borders and oceans.” And “They each found their own route without losing sight of one another.” The storyteller’s grandfather was “the eldest of the seven; Elizabeth (Elise) was the fifth in line” and the person around whom most of this story centers. It begins in the very small Belgium town of Kessel-Lo (‘Lo) in the early 1900’s with the hard life of the poorer families, progresses through the brutal effects of WW I and proceeds to her meeting an American soldier. It then follows her marriage and move to a small Texas farm where life not only is brutally hard but increasingly difficult in the extreme because of a dominant mother-in-law and a husband who drinks heavily and is having an affair. Her subsequent activity is presented in some detail along with her constant attempts to maintain contact with other family members, especially with her often responding brother Michael. Vignettes of the grandfather are included as are pieces about the other members of the family. An Epilogue provides bits about the story teller’s husband as well as her children, their activities and that of the grandchildren.

The memoire ends: “Rather than diminishing over the years and across the miles, our connections have deepened. Elise’s children have remained in contact with their cousins. Our ties to the ‘Lo have only deepened, and the families across the oceans are as one. In the words of Elise’s pastor, we have let peace and happiness rule our hearts and we are glad that we could call this lovely woman our mother.” This is followed by Authors’ Notes which for some undefined reason regrettably stop in mid-sentence.

3* 4*Depressing but poignant for readers appreciating mitigating effect of familial ties on hardships.