Those of you who know me, know that I shy away from book reviews. I only post reviews about books I absolutely adore, usually with no promises beforehand.
When I’m approached by a colleague who wants me to review their book I go into small agonies. It’s like that terrifying moment when an acquaintance says, “Want to see pictures of my newborn baby?” Before the reveal, I’m already crafting non-specific banal compliments to trot out in case Junior turns out to be a Halloween mask with legs. How can I tell an adoring parent that their baby looks like “JoJo the Dogfaced boy?” It’s much the same way with authors and their work. It’s their baby, so I panic —afraid to say mean things about their precious bundle of prose!
I had NO such reservations, however, when RB Wood asked me to review his new book “The Prodigal's Foole,” and host it on my blog. I’ve done work with RB before, specifically for his Word Count Podcast, so I was confident that RB would knock my socks off.
So here for you today, with a clear conscience and a load of fired-up excitement, I present a review and interview for the launch of...
Symon Bryson is part of a rag-tag band of plucky misfits trained by the Catholic Church to fight demons. Then it all goes to Hell (literally). Ten years later, Symon is forced to regroup with his more sober and more mature gang to save their mentor and save the world —kind of a High school reunion from the 8th circle.
Symon is our guide through the book as a Peter Venkman-meets-Scott-Pilgrim mystic, full of giggle-worthy observations and dry wit. RB peoples this book with well-developed characters including interesting women (a MUST for me), and heart-winning mentors. It’s all lovingly depicted in a Cambridge Massachusetts so vivid that I want to go visit. RB also doesn’t shy away from the gross, gritty and the horror elements which were truly terrifying. Not for the faint of heart! The Catholic Church is neither over-praised nor vilified, but handled in a direct, realistic manner that makes this story all the more absorbing and a very rewarding read.
Highly recommended to all enjoy Urban Fantasy, Horror, and a good laugh (I’m looking at you, Dresden File Fans!)
So without further ado, here is RB Wood!
R.B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy. His first novel, The Prodigal's Foole is now available fo Kindle at Amazon.com. Mr. Wood is currently working on the second book of his Arcana Chronicles series and is host of The Word Count podcast.
R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, his dog Jack, three cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.
You can find his blog, R.B. Wood, Tales of an Indie Writer, HERE
ME: First of all, I have to admit that I was on tenterhooks the moment I realized that your book’s plot centered around the Catholic Church. I’m a practicing Catholic myself and I’ve been burned before by people like Dan Brown and a few others with their books about Catholics. It was a huge relief that you created an honest cast of characters with real flaws and foibles without tearing the Church to ribbons in the process. Any reasons you chose to go with Catholicism and how did you research the subject-matter?
RBW: I figured that Magic had been in the world for a while and was very rare. Who would've wanted to control that power? Well, the Church would have had the resources and the power to do just that. I'm focusing on the Catholic Church, specifically because of their influence for so many hundreds of years. However, there are far older religions that will be having their say as well. Stay tuned. :-)
ME: Your book is also centered around the Cambridge/Boston. I love when authors bring their own backyards into their work.
RBW: The Boston area is one of Thirteen magical hot-spots in the world I've created. Since I live here, research makes it easy. The city is (By US standards) an 'old' city. There is a history of Magic in the area (Salem Witch trials, anyone?). Besides, New York, Chicago and L.A. usually get the crazies. About time for some insanity in Boston.
ME: (You forgot D.C. Whole crap-ton of crazy here in D.C.) Some pretty freaky demonic weirdness in this book. How much was research and how much was pure RB-flair?
RBW: A lot research, then imagination. The Skratta in the book, for example, is the mythological Icelandic hobgoblin and my own imagination.
ME: Speaking of weirdness, I can tell you’re no stranger to the terrifying and bizarre. The images you made my imagination conjure were pretty pants-wettingly frightening in some places.
RBW: Awesome quote…"pants-wettingly frightening." I must use that somewhere. Thank you for the compliment. The world Symon was brought into was 'cool' from his perspective as a youngster. Far from cool, there is some scary sh*t out there in the Shadow-world. I've only shown a very small portion that awaits my poor hero…and that's all you get for now.
ME: ("Poor" is right. You really do like to beat the snot out of Symon. It's probably why I like him so much.)The priests I know have never shied around the subject of mysticism, exorcism and the existence of demons. To the church both are real occurrences in our world. What’s your opinion on that?
RBW: I certainly believe that there are things we cannot explain away easily. Open mind is key. I respect what the Church believes, but I don't necessarily believe in their take on mysticism. I still haven't forgiven them for that whole 'threatening to torture Galileo for being right,' thing.
ME: Since you’re a believer, does it get scary writing about demons and Hell at times? Depressing?
RBW: Depressing, no. I love constructing a story and researching the elements and the details. Scary? Nothing like a good scare to keep you honest! :-)
ME: True that. The characters in your book hint that the turmoil we've been seeing in the world in the last decade(wars, disasters, economic collapse) are a sign of bigger badder things evolving. I've actually heard this from a lot of people from all faiths—Heck I had a Jehovah's Witness at my door yesterday telling me the same thing. What are your thoughts?
RBW: My thoughts are this: Stay tuned, but you're on track.
ME: Okay, fair enough. Final question. Say the world IS all going to Hell in a Honda and you decide to spread the word a la Rorschach in "Watchmen." What does your cardboard sign say?
RBW: "Watch. Listen. Pay attention and ask questions. Otherwise, you might be a casualty."
ME: Thanks again for your time and congratulations on writing and publishing such an awesome book, RB Wood. I look forward to the next installment and good luck on your inevitable success. I leave you all now with my favorite quote from "The Prodigal's Foole" by RB Wood.
“One of Charles’ many repeating themes he preached was that evil was everywhere. I’ve seen it firsthand. It permeates spaces and individuals and things on levels that most ordinary people could never comprehend. Many of the old stories, myths, legends, and yes, even the scariest portions of the Old Testament, are based on truth. According to Charles, only those of us born with magic in our souls can protect the world from falling permanently into the abyss.”
You can purchase The Prodigal's Foole on Kindle HERE