If an author titles a book with an adjective, or verb, you automatically expect it to be full of action, fast pace and a book you cannot put down. I looked up the adjective frantic and dictionary.com defines it as:
"desperate or wild with excitement, passion, fear, pain, etc.; frenzied."
Well, I reckon Dellosso delivers this definition with this novel. It reads at a frantic pace, the action just the same, the characters well developed; believable and relational. Ifound myself identifying with the emotions and desperation of the main characters of Marny, Ester and envied the confidence born from the gift of faith of William, the younger brother of Esther.
Marny finds himself in this frantic pace after seeing the troubled desperate face of Esther as she sits in the back seat of a car as Marny is filling the car up with petrol. He is intrigued by this woman and her look and finds a note on the ground after the car leaves, which says, "He is going to kill me".
Now if Marny had not acted on this message, he would have gone back to his mundane life, just waiting for the next curse to affect him, just as his grandfather has predicted at his birth, "...Marny's life would be stormy, full of rain clouds and lightning strikes."
The story then continues with Marny acting on his decision to investigate the note left by Esther. This is when the pace of this novel really revs up. Marny tracks Esther and the car to a house in the woods where he meets up with Esther's captor, Gary. He manages to rescue Esther and in the process her younger brother, William, who is the subject of Gary's purpose in life, to protect and develop the gift of faith that William possesses.
What follows is a cat and mouse game where Marny, Esther and William attempt to outsmart Gary who in turn attempts the same to recapture them and deal with Esther and Marny so he can continue his quest with William.
Interspersed through this is flashbacks into the past complicated life of Marny and the various "rain clouds and lightning strikes" or curses that dotted his growing up years and through these flashbacks you discover what makes Marny tick and the way he is now. This adds to the credibility of Marny as the hero that Esther claims him to be.
We also find out, again through flashbacks, the motivation behind Gary's role as protector and mentor (but seen as oppressor) to William and his gift of faith. This also serves to describe Gary's past and contribute to who he is and why he is driven to succeed at all costs.
Dellosso adds a further twist in this plot and further supernatural elements when Marny, Esther and William seek the help refuge of Esther's father. Here, at first look, we feel they may find refuge, safety and support from the pursuit of Gary. But to no avail. It turns out that Esther's father, Harold, is involved in a bizarre cult and seeks to use the desperate situation of Esther, Marny and William to further the needs of this cult.
So more twists and turns, more frantic pace. You cannot put this book down.
I gave this book four stars as I found a few things that I stumbled over. I would have liked Dellosso to have explained, even briefly, the gift of faith that William has and how this enabled him to heal Marny from his bullet wounds and resurrect him from the dead. I say this as we just do not see this in Christian circles in real life and I firmly believe it is possible through prayer, faith and the Holy Spirit. So this stood out to me in the story due to this fact.
The other aspect of the story, while adding suspense, action and to the frantic pace of the plot, is the supernatural freezing of the interior of the house as Marny investigates the whereabouts of Gary. This was lost on me as to the importance of this to the plot and to Marny.
But despite these two issues, it is a great story of faith, redemption over evil, spiritual abuse and the evil potential of the fallen nature of man.