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Redemption Song (Last Days and Times) (Volume 2) Paperback – July 26, 2015
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
Stephan Michael Loy is a writer, artist, and amuck imaginarium. He has more stories buzzing around his head than he can possibly manage at any one time. They come from his long train of experiences starting with growing up as a projects kid in Indianapolis, Indiana. Projects, that's low-income/high crime housing. Pretty much, he grew up in the environment he often places his characters in. One finds a special perspective while living among gangbangers. As a kid, Steve learned the characteristics of various pistols and sub-machine guns by examining the firearms people threw into his yard while they fled from the police. His escape plan from that life involved college at Indiana University, where he graduated with a bachelor's in Journalism and a bachelor's and a master's in Art Education. Along the way, he served five years in the United States military as an Armor officer. That's tanks, specifically M60A3 to M1 Abrahms tanks. Just like the main character in Steve's novel Conqueror's Realm. While that character served in China, Steve Loy served on the East-West border in Germany. That was five years more akin to James Bond than to Audie Murphy. Dealing with the Russians was ... interesting. Steve uses all that experience to build the stories within his novels. He lives now in Indianapolis with his awesome wife Amy and a venerable rescued greyhound named Petra who is almost as gray as Steve is.
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Top customer reviews
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Redemption Song is an engrossing supernatural thriller with action, suspense, a hint of romance, and a dash of critique regarding the political exploitation of apocalypticism. The characters are diverse and distinct, and the action proceeds organically and plausibly within the story's supernatural premises. Also, it has a nice inclusive message without beating anyone over the head with it--the blonde Jewish protagonist has a black boyfriend and an austistic son. So it's not the story of two sexy WASPs having increasingly adventurous sex four times and defeating Satan in Armageddon. And that's refreshing.
In fact there's no Satan in the book at all, to the best of my knowledge. But watch out for Armageddon at the end!
Long Version (for people who like long-winded blowhards):
I recently read two supernatural thrillers: Redemption Song by Stephan Loy and The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell. Redemption Song was the superior story of the two, for a number of reasons.
1. Redemption Song was less formulaic than the the other book. When reading Redemption Song, I did not think, "Oh,this is the scene where the writer establishes this ability, which will come into play later. That there is the scene where the author inserts this motivation" Loy has written a story where the characters interact with each other organically. They're not cardboard cutouts hitting plot points at regular intervals.
2. Redemption Song's supernatural events were less silly than the other book. Both books employed biblical justifications for some of the action. Loy did a better job than Rollins and Cantrell of grounding his story in the real world and making his supernatural events seem internally logical. As a former graduate-level student of religion, I appreciated Loy's plot twists where I could say, "Yeah. I can see where someone could get that from the Bible."
3. Loy's characters were more lifelike than Rollins's and Cantrell's. In Blood Gospel, you've got the three crazy-attractive main characters all ogling each other in the midst of life-and-death situations. The cliched incipient attraction triangle was an obvious cliche aimed at a particular target audience, and it wasn't executed with any subtlety whatsoever. Loy's characters in Redemption Song behaved more realistically. There is romance and attraction in Redemption Song--actually, there are two pairings--but it develops much more realistically than what occurred in the other book.
4. I personally found Loy's action scenes more compelling and realistically depicted than Rollins/Cantrell's. They both employed military squads in combat, but Loy's scenes felt more authentic. I'm not talking about the supernatural threats. I'm talking about the actions taken by the military squads in response to whatever threats they encounter.
5. Redemption Song was more of a complete story. When I got to the end of Blood Gospel, there were lots of unresolved issues. It was clearly designed to hook a reader into reading a series. It was a marketing ploy, in my opinion. Redemption Song told a story about a set of characters that Loy wanted to tell. He left several clear clues that he intends to tell more about the exploits of his protagonists, but I didn't feel like I'd wasted my time at the end of the book reading the first installment of much longer story I never intend to delve farther into. I feel like if I never read another book about Sarah Reiser and Gary Lamonte, the story I read in Redemption Song was complete. At the same time, I'm more likely to read Loy's future installments because he's not just trying to string me along and get me to read the whole series. He rewarded my interest in this one tale.
6. The cast of characters in Redemption Song didn't make me roll my eyes. At the beginning of Blood Gospel, the instigating event occurs in Israel. An American archaeologist and an American soldier are specially chosen to investigate a newly uncovered crypt in the fortress of Masada. WHAT?? Why would the Israelis pick an American archaeologist? There are TONS of great Arab and Israeli archaeologists in Israel. And why would they pick an American soldier? The Israelis don't have anyone who can compare to US military forensics experts? Give me a break. Loy's utilization of a Americans in an international cast seemed much more organic and much less arbitrary, unlikely, and arrogant to me.