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Book Review: Only the Holy Remain

Only the Holy Remain. Alverne Ball. Vital Narrative Press, November 11, 2016, Trade Paperback and Kindle, 304 pages.

Reviewed by Jessica Cage.

Alverne Ball is a Chicago native who attended Columbia College, where he studied fiction. With this publication, his dedication to his studies shines through. Alverne uses his knowledge and experience of Chicago, having grown up on the West Side, to bring readers a gripping thriller set in the gritty city. From the first turn of the page, the reader is thrust into a mystery that raises questions about both the victim and the main character, Calhoun, a former chaplain in the U.S. Marines.

Even as one reads Calhoun’s story, there is a sense of suspicion due to his background and unfortunate relationship with his father. He is a flawed character with a lot of emotional baggage that often seems to influence his judgement. He makes rash decisions and acts on emotion, which ultimately gets him into a lot of trouble. Even though his actions seem irrational, and you find yourself wanting to shake him, you hope like hell that things work out in his favor and that he finds the answers he is seeking.

The story is well written, fast paced, and well balanced between action and character development. The author provides a clear picture of the main character and what drives him as well as what may lead to his downfall, such as his shaky relationship with his father and his stubbornness and resistance to following orders. There were a few scenes that felt a bit rushed, and I would have liked to explore the characters in those moments a bit longer, but other than that, it was a great read. The structure of the book, with short chapters, made it a page-turner that fit the pace of the story.

Overall, I would recommend this book to readers looking for a great mystery with characters who are real and honest.


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