Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scars on the Face of God

C.G. Bauer has a gift for conjuring memorable characters and creating a subtly-textured sense of place. His new novel, Scars on the Face of God (Drollerie Press, 2008) is a first-class example of this skill. The narrator and protagonist, Johannes "Wump" Hozer, is an expert at all things menial. For example, he knows, among other things, that "Dog shit has a natural chemical in it that helps soften animal skins during the leather tanning process." Of course, Bauer doesn't just insert such bits of trivia for fun (though they are, in fact, fun). They serve a purpose -- they make Wump's world come alive for the reader. And come alive it does. The plot of Scars on the face of God kicks into gear when a brick wall unearthed at the site of a restaurant collapses and a flood of raw sewage carries forth hundreds of human bones. Drawing heavily on his knowledge of Catholic arcana, Wump takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of the bones... And to rid himself of the haunting childhood memories that plague him. Overall, Scars on the Face of God is a fast-moving, highly engaging paranormal mystery with spooky undertones and a haunting aftertaste -- the perfect read for a winter evening by the fire!

No comments: