Jaimie Piper is a twelve-year-old girl with a powerful gift that is driving her crazy. She can detect evil in other people. This dark, overwhelming force has tormented her for years. When its latest manifestation threatens, she turns to her favorite teacher, Crocket Grey, for help.
His efforts to help Jaimie soon land Grey in the hottest water possible. He is accused of possessing child pornography and of molesting students. He is soon the target of a kidnapping and murder investigation. All this threatens not only his freedom, but his relationship with the son he loves.
Quickly, Crocket and Jaimie are swept into a cauldron of intrigue and death that reaches to the highest levels of the Vatican.
I have long been a fan of Sigmund Brouwer. His novels, The Weeping Chamber, and Wings of Dawn, are among my favorites. I looked forward to reconnecting with him in The Canary List.
I give this novel 3.5 stars. Brouwer's style remains strong but the novel has the feel of being agenda-driven. He explores the role of demons in our world and especially within religious institutions and organizations. Through the experiences of his characters, we see how insidious the work of evil can be.
The story is well-written, the pace keeps moving, and Brouwer fills it with amazing twists and turns. The final twist is both a surprise yet inevitable in the context of the story.
There are many things to like in this book. Jaimie is a very believable twelve-year-old. One of Brouwer's writing strengths is his ability to realistically portray children and teens. He rivals Orson Scott Card in this area.
Jaimie's psychiatrist, Dr. MacKenzie, is another well-developed character. The influence of her own history on her actions is well-played with subtle hints so that the ultimate reveal catches the reader off guard yet makes sense.
Also well-done are the hints of potential romance between MacKenzie and Crocket.
While the story has the feel of being agenda-driven, Brouwer gives an honest portrayal of the Catholic Church. As a former Catholic, I don't sense any overt church-bashing or condemnation.
There are some areas that make it difficult to give the novel more than 3.5 stars. One is the story bogs down on occasion with long expositional dialogue on the theology and history of demons, on the political machinations within the Vatican, and on the sexual abuse scandals within the Church.
Even though Crocket Grey is presented as the protagonist, he does not come across very strong in the role of hero. There are occasional flashes where he is determined to fight for his freedom and for his relationship with his son. These help the reader develop empathy for the man. But, except for these flashes, Grey seems to be carried along by the events in the story, rather than assuming a more active hero role. He does take bold action at times, but always gets caught and ends up in lower status positions with the rest of the characters. At the end, he is given a moral choice to make. The decision is clear, but the process he went through to make it is not.
To me, the real hero is Jaimie. But she is made almost a side note to Grey's struggles and is off stage for long periods of time.
Overall, this is a good read that could have been better.
Crockett Grey is a school teacher with the unfortu
February 9, 2012
Crockett Grey is a school teacher with the unfortunate tendency of mourning his deceased daughter at the bottom of a bottle of liquor. When one of his female students arrives at his house in the dead of night, terrified and begging for help, those memories of his daughter compel him to help her. This simple of act of help drags him into a world of false accusations, physical assault, and political and religious intrigue.
I read this book quite a while ago and meant to write a review, but then so much happened and the next thing I know, it's months later and I find this book on my desk covered in papers and pencils and pens and sticky notes. So I figured that it's about time that I posted a review.
I make a point to request books that are of Christian writing. And that's why I requested The Canary List. However, after reading it I found it very difficult to categorize as Christian Fiction. It does has some Christian influence in it, but mainly it just felt like "Catholic bashing". Not exactly sure how I feel about that, but I do know that it wasn't one of my favorite books I've ever read.
I'm trying really hard not to tell you guys much about this books, because I think that you should all go out and read it and come up with your own opinions! But, if you were to really beg me to tell you what I thought about it, I would say that I give it a 3.5 out of 5. Even though I didn't like that it wasn't very Christian even though it was advertised as such, it was still a great fiction story. There, how's that?
So are you going to go read it? I think you should!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
In the book The Canary List a twelve year old little girl must face her fears of detecting evil and come to grips with her special gift. With the help of her psychiatrist and teacher she will encounter things better left kept secret. One night after an evil man comes looking for her it pulls them deeper and deeper into things better left untouched.
This book will keep you interested with its many twists and turns. I enjoyed the book but at some points it was confusing.This book is a mystery and even at the end it will still keep you wondering. I recommend this book for book clubs and group discussions.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
This was a very interesting story about how evil could infiltrate the Vatican and the Catholic Church in general. I appreciated the true facts that were incorporated into the story along with the various quotes and further reading given in the back. I liked that the story was told from the viewpoint of a complete skeptic about God but he was drawn into this whole spiritual battle which he did not believe in. I enjoyed to various characters that were apart of the story. Even the minor roll character of Nanna was completely lovable. I personally think the ending was brilliant. It brought full circle the whole point of presenting the two quotes in the beginning. The first being Eph. 6:12 acknowledging we have a bigger, spiritual battle going on. The second being C.S. Lewis saying people are either completely fascinated by the existence of demons or don't believe in them at all and both are very dangerous. The whole book seemed to deal with each ends of the spectrum and the end presented both viewpoints. For me, it made this book go from a 4 star story to a definite 5 star.
I received this book free from blogging for books in exchange for my review.
The Canary List is a fiction book about the connection between the spiritual forces, the physical world, and the humans that straddle the two. Do demons exist? Do our beliefs about them - whether belief or skepticism - affect us, or them? At the opening of the book, C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying:
"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight."
Crockett Grey is not looking for an adventure, he's not looking for a cause; he's not even looking to leave his house on the night Jaimie Piper comes to him for help. He's looking to get drunk and to grieve the anniversary of his daughter's death. Jaimie is looking to escape the Evil she believes is hunting her, and she cannot reach the person who has promised to help her, her psychiatrist Madelyne Mackenzie. Crockett, instead, gets swept up into a whirlwind of scheming, and plotting, and politics of the Catholic Church, not to mention the question of supernatural forces of evil.
I don't normally read suspenseful books, mostly because I can't afford the lack of sleep due to the intense need to read "one more chapter" to find out what happens. This book definitely kept me up later than I should have been. I was intrigued by the characters, and the action kept moving at a pace that made it hard to put down. I do not like heavy foreshadowing, or predictable plots, and this had neither. There were several reveals that, while logical based on the story, had not been the obvious outcome.
Until the conclusion of the book, I probably would have come away fairly satisfied with a good read. There were sections of the book where I felt a bit too in-the-dark about what was going on, but it seemed true to the character's point-of-view from which I was experiencing the story. However, some loose ends and an unnecessarily complicated ending left me displeased. I wanted to know what became of the other characters, I wanted to know how the remaining question was answered, and I wanted something deeper - something to spark the reader to question their own beliefs in the spiritual realm.
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.