Heath Lowrance is one of the very best new writers around. Fact. His ability to tell a story and describe a setting is razor sharp and if his stories were a plate of chocolate brownies, you wouldn't stop eating until you were lying sick on the floor, clutching your stomach and pleading for mercy.
The Bastard Hand is first of all a brilliant tale, showing true creativity and imagination. Think of the big blockbuster films you've seen over the last ten years; great effects, make-up, score, acting (sometimes) but...shame about the story. If Hollywood had any sense (very doubtful) Lowrance would be grabbed with both hands, paid a fortune, given whatever creature comforts he desires and told to write. He's that good.
The Bastard Hand is an adventure, a thriller, a romance and has a bucketful of violence that will keep the toughest readers turning the pages. It also has lots of religion, the real fire and brimstone type, and two main characters, the right reverend Phineas Childe and Charlie, whose life changes when he mysteriously finds a bible with a hole shot through it in a laundromat.
The pair team up and head for a small town where the Reverend takes up his new charge, but it soon becomes clear that he's not exactly the type of preacher the congregation had expected and strangely, the bible found by Charlie belonged to the previous incumbent who disappeared under dubious circumstances.
You will be sorry to finish this novel, and you will probably read it in a couple of sittings, due to Lowrance's ability to depict believable characters set in a community of folks that, if you live in a small town, you will recognise.
Great stuff from Lowrance - go read!