Like some of the other reviewers, I am from Chicago, and it was fun to recognize intersections and places. Aside from that, though, this was a fun page-turner with memorable, drawn-from-life characters. It was hard to put this book down. I read it probably over eight days, and like a lot of people, I am a busy person who has to make time for reading. I made time for this book because I was so curious to see how things turned out for Detective Frank Calhoun and this confounding mystery. The pace was perfect--fast, but not so fast that I couldn't keep up. Alverne Ball let the story play out at a thoughtful pace that made sense with the setting and the events that transpired. I hope to read more from Ball very soon, either with this same detective or whoever else he comes up with.
First of all, crime novels are not what I typically read; i'm more Fantasy/sci-fi/YA/Dystopia, but Only the Holy Remain kept my attention and read fast enough that I forgot that it was a crime novel. If more of the genre was written like this I would have another category to add to my go-to book genres. I love that this is clearly book 1 of a series, because there are a few characters that I'm dying to know more about, and if Frank will find peace. I love that it was centered in Chicago with hints of the suburbs when necessary. If you don't think you like crime novels, you should really pick up Only the Holy Remain!
Great read, kept my attention from beginning to end and being an avid book reader sometimes that's hard to do. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. Also being from Chicago it was great seeing streets and landmarks that I know. Alverne Ball is officially one of my new favorite authors. Can't wait to read his next novel.
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.