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by Kimile Aczon

Category: Fiction / Horror
252 pages; ISBN: 1581128614

Rating: 7/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kathryn Lively


Here is a novel, not really a mystery unless you consider the fact that you are dying to know who or what BJ is while reading, that was recommended to me not long ago, one that somewhat qualifies as a horror story, perhaps an apocalyptic tale. After reading the book, I get the sense that closure is not complete, that perhaps Ms. Aczon is writing or planning to write a sequel. I suppose we will know soon enough.
Anyway, BJ begins on September 6 at exactly 12:42 PM, when various people are impacted simultaneously by different happenings in their lives. For Denise and Wesley Johnson, a married couple living hand-to-mouth in the projects of southern California, it is the exact time of the conception of their child; for their neighbor, five-year-old Troy Shadale, it is the exact moment he begins to speak after a year of silence. For a Catholic priest in Africa, it is the exact moment the Devil comes to tempt him from his vows, and for other characters (an aging woman mourning the loss of her looks and a homeless man nursing the scars of Vietnam) this time marks the beginning of new conciousness and a desire to seek something that could hold answers for everyone.

This "something" turns out to be Denise's baby, and throughout her pregnancy she begins to experience attacks of a psychological and sinister sort, as if an evil force is trying to mess with her mind and her environment, hacking away at her sanity and health to get to the prize: her unborn child. Whether her baby is the hope for a future world or the anti-Christ, it is never determined, but as Denise fights to survive the various characters who shared that one moment in time with her converge to find her, and protect her.

As far as horror writing goes, Aczon knows which buttons to push to project feelings of terror and suspense. Characterization and dialogue is real, especially when each character is introduced: it was easy to understand the depth of pain Donald Hemingway and Wilda Elvers, for example, had harbored over the years and how their own demons tried to take advantage of these weaknesses. This said, however, I must point out a few things: 1) there are a few instances of explicit sexual scenes, which I usually gloss over when reading (I'm quite the prude these days), so bear this in mind before you hand this book to a minor; 2) one thing that nearly kept me from enjoying the book was the number of typographical errors, as well as the occasional spelling error (a restaurant, for example, is described in the book as sheik instead of chic. I imagine needs to check and recheck before they go to press.

Who, or what, is BJ, you ask? You'll know at the end of the book. It may surprise you.


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