Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beware the Devil's Hug by Marvin D. Wilson: Book Review

This is a pit stop on Marvin’s Hugs Therapy Virtual Tour 2010.

It’s not easy to review a friend’s book, even an online blogger friend I’ve never met in person. What would I say if I hated the plot, despised the characters, and thought the writing was really bad?

It’s also difficult for me to review books because I write novels and tend to read with my internal editor on high alert. Not only do I want to insert commas and reword sentences, but I also want to “fix” things that don’t need fixing, simply because the author’s style and voice are different from mine.

For those reasons, and because I would never write anything but my honest reaction, I think Marvin was very brave to let me read Beware the Devil’s Hug and review it on my blog. However, I don’t think he’ll be too upset at the result.

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Beware the Devil’s Hug by Marvin D. Wilson: A Book Review
244 pages
ISBN: 978-0984615490
All Things That Matter Press (September 1, 2010)
Paperback: $16.99 Kindle edition: $3.19

“What if a homeless, smelly, ugly, unkempt old man had a hug so powerful it could cure cancer? Cause a prostitute to stop hooking and seek true love? Shake the demons of addiction free from a junkie? Make a Christian want to embrace and love a Muslim and vice versa? But rare is the beneficiary of his divine embrace – nobody wants to come near him out of fear.”

Iam is The Old Man incarnated to Terra with the power to change Destiny and to persuade a Muslim soldier and a Christian to join forces in a movement to recognize that all humans worship the same One. What does it matter if the cultural traditions vary and the prayers are whispered in different languages and different words? To Ali and Christian, after their first experience with The Old Man, it seems obvious. There is only One.

The prostitute, Destiny, is one of those who see beyond Iam’s outward appearance and accepts his embrace. She gives up her former lifestyle, falls deeply in love with The Old Man, and mends her relationship with her family. While Iam shares his healing hugs with all who are willing, he is saddened by those who would choose to destroy him. He never gives up, however, even when attacked and left for dead.

In an attempt to sabotage Ali’s and Christian’s movement and organization, a terrorist group infiltrates their ranks and plans a horrible attack that will kill a large number of people. Can Iam do anything to help? I’ll let you find out for yourself. Two separate times I thought I had the ending of this novel figured out, and I was wrong. I liked that.

If I had to pick one thing about Beware the Devil’s Hug to criticize, I guess it would be one of the relationships in the book that seemed unnecessary, even a bit distracting. It’s a small complaint, and it did not lessen my enjoyment of Iam’s story in the least.

Everything else about Beware the Devil’s Hug is interesting and intriguing. The character names made me think and the plot twists kept me turning the pages. It’s a complex tale that held my interest from beginning to end.

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Author Marvin D. Wilson has a widely varied and rich life experience background - from Hippie Rock and Roll musician, to nightclub entertainer, to Zen Buddhist minister, to carpenter, to small business owner, to network marketer, to sales and sales training, to skilled trades instructor and adult education teacher, to public speaker and motivational coach, to now in his chosen “golden years” career, a writer and multi-published author with the self-proclaimed, “audacity to write novels”.

To see the schedule for Marvin’s blog book tour and learn about the contests, prizes, and giveaways, visit the Hugs Therapy Virtual Tour page at The Old Silly’s Free Spirit blog. The blog also features more reviews and information about Marvin’s other books.

Be sure to visit Sylvia Dickey Smith’s blog today and tomorrow for more about Marvin and his book.

You can order your copy of Beware the Devil’s Hug in paperback or Kindle e-book at amazon.com.

24 comments:

The Old Silly said...

Nice job, and thanks, Pat! For a writer/colleage and 'e-friend' for along time, I know it was quite a task to write an honest review, and I think you did it well. I'm just glad you LIKED it, lol ... it's awkward (been there, trust me), when you review a work of someone you feel close to and the book is not quite up to your par, hmm?

But all is well, thanks again for hosting and doing such a fine job with the post overall. I'll be back later in the day to interact with your readers.

Patricia Stoltey said...

It was my pleasure, Marvin. I like the idea behind Beware the Devil's Hug. This novel is a bit like a mystery or thriller with its plot twists, but with more of a message. Thanks for letting me be a part of your tour.

Kissie said...

Initially I thought he wouldn't like your review and I was making a mental note to not ask you to look at any of my work. :-)

Can a relationship (any) ever really be unnecessary?

Salvatore Buttaci said...

The message in your book can benefit all readers! What we see and judge is not always what what we get!

Kissie said...

By the way, Patricia, I'm looking to move to the Mile High city very soon ... so I will be paying attention to your site for anything I can learn about my future state! :-)

Thank you and have a great day, FYI ... I'm big on relationships and believe we can get the lesson when we can't get anything else.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks for this review. I agree with you that it really is difficult to review a book written by a friend. You did a terrific job, and the story sounds intriguing. It sounds, too, like a story with a lesson, but the lesson doesn't overwhelm the plot. That takes a delicate tough.

Marvin - I look forward to reading this.

Margot Kinberg said...

YIkes! Sorry! I meant, "That takes a delicate touch." Not enough coffee yet :-(

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi, Kissie -- When I said "unnecessary," I was talking about the relationship's relevance to the plot. The story would have been the same and the underlying themes intact without it. Not everyone will find this side story a distraction, however, so it's not very important in the big scheme of things. Marvin wrote an intriguing novel, and that's the important part.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Salvatore -- you are so right. We need to do a lot more than make judgments based on appearances.

Kissie -- I try to write a lot about Colorado authors here. You'll find blogs for several of them in my blogrolls. Many of us post from time to time about this wonderful state.

Hi Margo -- I don't do many book reviews, so this was an adventure.

Karen Walker said...

You're brave, Patricia. I've written reviews and posted them on Amazon for people I know, but this is much harder. Good job.
Karen

Kerrie said...

This book sounds fascinating. Thanks for the great review.

KK Brees said...

The best reviews are the honest ones. This is a book I'm going to read. Thanks to you both!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Karen -- I've been very negligent about doing reviews for Amazon and B&N. I need to get on the ball.

Hi Kerrie -- Beware the Devil's Hug is one of those stories that surprises us and makes us think. It's worth the read.

KK -- This was fun, but I could never be a full time book reviewer. Too much responsibility goes with being honest and fair to both the authors and our readers.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great premise for a book - and it sounds like he pulled it off! :)

The Old Silly said...

Sal - that is SO true, hmm?

Margot - thanks for the comment and knowing about 'delicate touch' - I look forward to hearing from you after you've reade Hugs!

Pat - you're not the first person to react negatively to the 'strange' relationship, the mild lesbianism, but then others find it fits within the worldly nature of the story, and you know me ... I'm a tell it like the real world is writer who likes to stir up contorversy for the sake of healthy dialog and debate. But I can appreciate your--especially as an analytical writer--feeling that the story would have been fine without including the physical attraction between Destiny and Angel. That IS what you meant, I hope anyway! lol

The Old Silly said...

Karen - Pat IS a brave one isn't she!

Kerrie - thanks, hope you'll read it and find it as fascinating as it sounds.

KK - awesome, would love to hear your feedback after reading Hugs!

Jemi - thanks, it was a special book idea indeed, I felt, and glad so many people are thinking, after reading it, that I DID pull it off. Feels sooooo good. :)

The Old Silly said...

Kissie - moving to Mile High? Hmph, when were you gonna tell The Old Silly?

Teehee, hey - bet you'll love it out there - Colorado is an awesome state!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like a book that doesn't telegraph the ending!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Yes, Marvin, I was talking about Destiny and Angel, and trying not to give away too much of the story to potential readers. I do hate reviewers who publish spoilers.

I think the main reason the relationship distracted me and made me feel uncomfortable is because to me it made the two gals seem disloyal to the guys they claimed to love so much.

Women bond, become the dearest and closest friends, hug and love each other, without the sexual attraction. For me, that deep loving friendship would have worked better. But that's just me. It makes for an interesting discussion...

Arlee Bird said...

Thank you, Patricia, for your fine review of this book. I will be presenting my own take on Marvin's book next Thursday 10/28, the day after Marvin visits my blog.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Patricia Stoltey said...

Oh, good, Arlee. I'll put a note on my calendar to make sure I don't miss it. I'm always interested in different reactions from readers (and critique group members) about any book I've read or something I've written. We readers all come from a different place, and that's a good thing for writers to remember.

The Old Silly said...

Patricia- I can see now what you felt, although I must respectfully disagree with the unloyal aspect of it. Both women stay loyal and true to their men, they just have a kissing and hugging relationship, and nothing beyond that - it happens, cuz I've seen/experienced it first hand in my own relationships and friendships.

But we DO agree it inspires conversation and questions re: the characters and relationships, so in that respect all is good, that aspect of the book is doing what I hoped it would.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. I enjoyed your review & honesty re the characters .. but seeing that I'm here rather late in the day .. I can infer what you were anxious about .. I shall enjoy reading Hugs ..sometime (definitely) anon - thanks .. good to read reactions and interactions that the two of you obviously have .. Thanks to you & Marvin .. Hilary

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hilary, I hope we didn't give away too much. At least I can assure you there's lots more to the story that we didn't spoil in our discussion.