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The Holy Hardcover – October, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
A detective goes demon hunting in this supernatural mystery from the bestselling author of Ishmael. Chicago sexagenarian private eye Howard Sheim is hired by millionaire Aaron Fischer to probe the existence of Baal, Ashtoroth and Moloch, "false gods" named in the Old Testament book of Exodus. The search leads him to a self-styled mystic who, after reading his future with tarot cards, refers Howard to a teenage seer, Richard Holloway. The boy tells him that there are those living among us-he calls them "yoo-hoos"-who are not really human, though he has no idea exactly what they are. After consulting a rabbi and a warlock, the skeptical Howard is about ready to throw in the towel and go back to his missing-person cases. The narrative switches to follow the quixotic odyssey of 42-year-old Midwesterner David Kennesey, who suddenly abandons his wife and 12-year-old son and heads west without a thought to his destination. Separately, his wife and son embark on their own quests to find him. After adventures in Chicago and Vegas, David stumbles into a mountain Shangri-La inhabited by a woman named Andrea and her coterie of oddball denizens. Back in Chicago, Howard-now with David's son-tracks David to Andrea's, where he finds out that the gods are alive and up to their old tricks. Quinn's playful metaphysical sleuthing and cast of chimerical figures are entertaining, but fans of Ishmael and After Dachau may feel that this book doesn't have quite the originality or moral weight of his earlier efforts.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Beginning with Ishmael (1992) and proceeding to After Dachau [BKL F 15 01], Quinn has used fiction to entice readers into questioning the increasingly destructive nature of Western civilization. In his sixth novel he wisely skips the bossy lectures that burden his earlier works and presents an electrifying, provocative, and dryly amusing thriller with cosmic dimensions. The quest begins when wealthy Chicagoan Aaron Fisher hires nearly retired private investigator Howard Schiem, an ex-boxer with the face to prove it, to undertake a very strange case: Aaron wants to know what became of Baal, Ashtaroth, and Moloch, the old gods whom the Old Testament castigates as false. Howard ends up having his Tarot cards read and helping young Tim from Indiana look for his father, who has inexplicably abandoned his orderly life and headed west. Howard and Tim follow suit, and the terrifying supernatural events that transpire on dark highways and rugged mountains, in neon-bright Las Vegas and a desert mansion, do indeed uncloak the old gods, and reveal the holy life force that blazes in everyday splendor right here on precious earth. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
Quinn seeks to open us to the heart of the mystery, and he takes us on a ride where dreams, nightmares, the improbable are all part of it and what we believe is real is the illusion. He does this well. Recommended.
That said, The Holy doesn't quite live up to its own expectations (the glowing self-review on the dust-jacket, for example). It's not as plodding as After Dachau, but it could have lost fifty or a hundred pages somewhere. Too much of the action is spoon-fed, and Quinn has yet to improve his characterizations of children (think My Ishmael).
Check this book out if you're looking for a great, epic horror ride-check out Quinn's first half dozen books if you'd rather rest on the brighter side.
The Holy is about the journey, the voyage, the search, fueled by something deep within, catalyzed by the concepts/dreams/witches/'yoo-hoos'/goblins, the "others" who are worshipped by some, demonized by many, ignored by most.
I find it hard to categorize Dan Quinn because he creates his own genre. At times he's off on a Stephen King riff, then he's writing the Mother of All Twilight Zone scripts, then The Magus influence creeps in, then into the breach with Carlos Castaneda, with Dean Koontz's macabre sense of place and dog, but in the end it's all Quinn, a writer with his own philosophical voice who takes us to places we never imagined, to challenge us with ideas about our own lives that we might not particularly want to hear. He's after his usual suspects - education that stifles creativity, civilization's willingness to destroy nature, any society that won't play the "what if" game. And "what if" is at the heart of Quinn's metaphysical adventure - in fact he's a master at the "what if" school of writing. Oh, to be in Quinn's head and look into a cactus and see what could be if...
There are much deeper issues and feelings running through this work of art than most will notice.
Take note, "The Holy" is not so much of a story in the similar vein as his first three famous books.
Yet it is....
I personally felt that "The Holy" was a wonderful experience and I treasure the time that I spent reading it.
I could spend all sorts of energy explaining every nuance of "The Holy" to you, but I won't.
If you want to open your being to yet another exciting and truthful story, read "The Holy"