They Shall See God by Athol Dickson

they shall see God

I first encountered Athol Dickson’s work back when my husband and I had our bookstore. (See previous post if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about).
He has several titles under his belt. Of the three that I’ve read, a pattern emerges. The writing is fast-paced, the setting is New Orleans, and they have C-R-E-E-P-Y and dark themes. Also, they end on a hopeful note. (Thanks, Athol!)

In They Shall See God, Dickson tells the story of two childhood friends who witness a gruesome murder, testify in court, and see the accused locked away for 25 years. That day in court marked the end of their friendship and they don’t reconnect until the murderer has served his time, is released, and a series of new and unusual murders begin to take place.

Now, I’m about to show my ignorance or naivete in something. I’m old enough now to not really care about how this makes me look, I mean, we’re all ignorant about some things, right? So, in this book, there is a fair amount of protesting going on. But this protesting was of a different nature than I typically see. And maybe this doesn’t really happen, since this IS a work of fiction, but either way you go, it was thought-provoking, and thought-provoking-ness is a good thing. Am I right?

Back to the story….Ruth and Kate are best friends in childhood. After the murder, their parents prevent them from seeing each other again. The story opens in their adulthood and you find that Ruth is a reformed Jewish Rabbi and Kate is a born-again Christian. The protests that take place are the Christians rudely and loudly and obnoxiously protesting against the Jews, every day, outside of their Temple. Signs, marches, chanting, the works. These protests are what was so strange to me, and a little hard for me to buy into, initially.

I recognize, though I could never say I fully understand, the historical plight of the Jewish race.  God’s chosen people have been enslaved, annihilated and despised from their beginning. As a born-again Christian, from the age of 12, I have never encountered New Testament Believers who have anything but respect and gratitude for the Jewish people and their heritage. Yes, there are fundamental differences in our faiths but there is also an overwhelming amount of common ground, and really, an undeniable acknowledgement that without the Jewish faith, Christians would not have their own! So it was strange to see these two sides pitted against one another, with the antagonizers being the Christians.

It turns out there is a plotted reason for all the protesting that has it’s origin in the murder escapade 25 years previous. There is a cool revelation into the pattern of how the new murders are taking place. There is anger, insanity, wild animals; lions and tigers and bears, (oh, my!) and a slow but meaningful coming to terms and understanding between Ruth and Kate. It takes a while to untangle the truth that has been knotted up for so long but they get there. And it’s a really creepy and dark process along the way.

I read this one as part of my 2018 TBR Challenge. I’ve now read 8 out of the 12 books on my list and I’m getting a little nervous about being able to finish. Sigh…

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