Title: The Second Son
Author: John Inman
Publisher: DSP Publications
Pages/Word Count: 276 Pages
At a Glance: Despite the pacing problems, the bones of this particular novel are good, and John Inman is, undeniably, a great storyteller.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: It’s an old, old story: a tale of the consequences of good and evil. Plus the limitless power of faith and love, and how they can forever change an empty life.
When Charlie Strickland, a reclusive artist living in the backwoods of Indiana, opens his door to find a handsome young stranger standing naked on his front porch, an astounding odyssey begins.
It doesn’t take Charlie long to fall head over heels in love with his oddly innocent visitor. The young man calls himself Joe. Just Joe. But when amazing things begin to happen, Charlie soon comes to realize who Joe really is.
What follows will turn Charlie’s world, and everyone else’s, upside down.
Review: I have admired the work of John Inman from the moment I read the first story. This latest novel, The Second Son, is an inspiring story, one that will resonate greatly with some. It is not a traditional love story–after all one should remember it is from DSP Publications—an arm of Dreamspinner known for its eclectic work that often focuses on the plot, the storytelling rather than the romance. In this case, the one scene that was the act of lovemaking happened off the page and because of it’s singularity, almost seemed to become more a sweet yet torturous memory for both men than anything else.
I am unsure how to summarize this story without giving heaps of important plot points away. Suffice it to say a stranger arrives at Charlie’s door one day and changes him, irrevocably. Forever. Gone will be the drinking and the anger…forever eradicated will be his self-destructive ways and his self-centeredness. Replacing all this will be a love so pure and all encompassing that Charlie will never be the man he once was; in his place will be someone who experiences the love of his life, a life renewed and given purpose once more.
While this story was in parts horrifyingly graphic–the cleansing section in particular–and other parts almost spiritual, there was also a fair amount of repetitive passages that I felt slowed the story down, much to my dismay. While this could only be labeled a more cerebral and intensely thoughtful novel in terms of the way the characters often lived inside their own heads, rehashing their emotions and experiences, it could also be said that those same moments became a bit too similar. Often I found myself thinking that this situation or reaction had already been hashed out before. While some moments bore up under this constant scrutiny by the characters, others just became dulled by it, and the reading of it became monotonous.
When the more intense action kicked in, I was glued to the book. I must admit that I was less than thrilled with the ending, yet I know to keep the integrity of the story, no other resolution would have been possible. More importantly, the story left the reader with a real sense of hope, that good would always have it’s reward and evil would eventually have it’s comeuppance.
Despite the pacing problems, the bones of this particular novel are good, and John Inman is, undeniably, a great storyteller. I think that The Second Son will stand as one of his more introspective and thoughtful novels. While some may find it to be less than their cup of tea, the fact remains that at the end of the day, the love Joe has for Charlie and the world is beautiful and sweet–a saving grace for many.
You can buy The Second Son here: