- Paperback: 338 pages
- Publisher: WaterBrook (September 19, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1578569117
- ISBN-13: 978-1578569113
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,012,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Best of Evil (Aramis Black Mystery Series #1) Paperback – September 19, 2006
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Aramis Black took a walk on the wild side in his youth, but now he is trying to make a go of conventional life in Nashville, not in music but as the proprietor and co-owner of a coffee shop. Unsavory types from his past stalk him, however, convinced that he knows the whereabouts of treasure buried long ago by Meriwether Lewis on the Natchez Trace. The Lewis material, speculating on whether Lewis' death was suicide or murder, gives some depth to what is otherwise rather a slight mystery. The Nashville setting is a plus, too, in this first of a trilogy. John Mort
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Praise for The Best of Evil
“With The Best of Evil, Eric Wilson reveals himself as THE author to watch. His writing sizzles; his characters grab you and won’t let go; his story intrigues, entertains, and makes you think. This is a page-turner you’ll talk about with your friends.”
–Robert Liparulo, author of Germ and Comes a Horseman
“The world through Aramis Black’s eyes is mysterious, rich, and brewing with surprise.”
–Brandilyn Collins, Seatbelt Suspense™
“Eric Wilson masterfully weaves together mysteries from past and present in this gutsy thriller. Wilson is an extraordinary writer with one of the freshest voices in fiction today. The Best of Evil is first-rate suspense.”
–Gina Holmes, Novel Journey/Novel Reviews
“A work of amazing maturity and skill.”
–James Byron Huggins, author of Cain, The Scam, and Sorcerer
“The Best of Evil is riveting reading–Eric Wilson at the top of his game. He combines suspense, history, a reality-game show, full-blooded characters and yes, palpable evil, into one addictive read. You’ll love his flawed but charismatic protagonist, Aramis Black, a man prepared to live by the sword and die by the sword. Quite simply, The Best of Evil is the best of fiction.”
–Randy Singer, author of The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney
“In The Best of Evil, you get the best of Eric Wilson–the only novelist I know who can make you wish you’d paid more attention in your seventh grade history class. Wilson manages to make Meriwether Lewis into a figure of contemporary fascination in this intriguing tale, set in modern-day Tennessee. Aramis Black is serving up hot coffee and sarcasm when a customer gets shot dead, propelling us into a story with all the twists and turns of a Smokey Mountain road. A stolen hankie, a pretty girl, a lock of hair, simmering family tensions, and a complicated hero with a dark past–The Best of Evil has it all.”
–Melanie Wells, author of When the Day of Evil Comes and The Soul Hunter
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Authors are often advised not to write in first person since the challenges are many. Wilson took on those challenges and ascended the slippery slope nicely. I really like first person POV (point of view) novels and think they offer readers an intimate look into a person's life. That technique in this story allows us to get to know Aramis Black very well. He certainly is no choirboy, Eagle Scout type, but despite his rough edges, he is a character who attaches himself to a reader's heart. A debate sometimes rages about whether a plot driven novel is better than a character driven one. Either can be good, so doesn't it stand to reason that a combination of those two would present the best of both worlds? This story has combined those paradigms seamlessly.
I was once told by an acquaintance that she knew a person who could speak twelve languages but couldn't say a thing of worth in any of them. I think some writers are like that. Their mechanics and manipulation of language is superb, but the value of the message they convey is of dubious worth. Like cotton candy, their prose possesses beauty but, in reality, contains no substance. In my opinion, Eric Wilson could never accurately be accused of producing cotton candy fiction. His penchant toward Proverbs type down-home philosophy and wisdom is never far from display. His insight into life and people is very evident. His style occasionally wanders from straight forward and concise to eloquent. His humor is low-key but very effective when employed. The salient nuggets of wisdom pass the fools-gold test.
I share this passage from The Best of Evil to give you an idea of the depth of Wilson's writing:
She gave a cautious laugh - that of a bereaved mother trying to wear a strong face for her little ones. Some who lose loved ones never rediscover that spring of genuine mirth, while others lay their stories of grief in the water's path, creating richer sounds of bubbling, gurgling life.
I believe the spring's out there, a source of heavenly strength.
Each day, in my own fumbling way, I look for it. And I listen.
I'd venture to say that Eric Wilson's The Best of Evil is a book that has plenty to say to you - if you're prepared to listen.
Donald James Parker
Author of All the Voices of the Wind
The story begins inocuously enough in the confines of protagonist Aramis Black's coffee shop in the city of Nashville, Tennessee. Then all heck breaks loose as a man is murdered there in broad daylight. Considering Aramis's checkered past (which Wilson amply describes in flashback sequences), this intrusion into his world forces him to confront those demons anew. (When you have twin tattoos on your arms sporting the phrases, "Live By the Sword" and "Die By the Sword," it's fairly obvious that those demons were not the average pencil-neck variety.)
Along with these demons of the psyche, Black is forced to confront the uncle he blames for his mother's senseless death. Juxtaposing this tension, a special someone enters his life, providing him with a chance for romance, preventing the novel's theme from completely sinking into black murkiness.
To top it off, Mr. Wilson's grasp on history (in his prior books, Dark to Mortal Eyes and Expiration Date, he tied the Russian Revolution and the Romanov Dynasty into their plots) is top-notch. This go-'round, Tennessee hero Governor Meriwether Lewis serves as the historical interest. Not only was I mesmerized and captivated by the plot, but I also learned a little about my country's past too. You've gotta love that.:)
Several shocking plot-twists near the end of the story (which I won't divulge upon pain of death) are Koontzian in their potency. By only an act of God, I was able to remove my jaw from the floor and continue turning the pages.
Next up for Mr. Wilson: the next Aramis Black book, release date Summer 2007. I can hardly wait.:)
Wilson does such a great job of portraying Nashville that the city seems like one of the main chracters. As in his first 2 novels, Wilson uses history as a backdrop and you can tell this guy does his homework. He also finds a way to mix in reality TV into an already complex plot and he really pulls it off. Very creative!
Eric Wilson fans will love the subtle connections to his first 2 novels, and while this story satisfies, you wll be hungry for more. I can't wait to see where Eric Wilson takes us next!
Oh yeah...read the last page very carefully!