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Salvation Boulevard: A Novel Paperback – September 1, 2009
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Beinhart is a very savvy political observer in the real world, writing for huffingtonpost, opednews and other political sites. But he is brilliant when it comes to weaving stories that are built upon the politics, the characters and issues of the day.
Salvation Boulevard is a mystery and a.... not a thriller, though it has plenty of thrilling moments, not an adventure, though the story takes you on quite a ride... I'm not sure exactly how you'd categorize it. A theopolitical action story?
Beinhart walks you into the world of the evangelical right wing megachurch, into the mind of its members and its leaders and he creates a very believable collection of characters who learn to love, hate or despise.
Even if you're not interested in politics, there's a great story here. I understand it's been optioned to be made into a movie and that's not at all surprising. It should be put on the screen and when it is, it will be a hit I'll be sure to watch.
Given that...in a story of murder and mayhem, I hope for surprises. Here, I was only truly surprised by one plot development, which takes place less than midway through the book. I'm not saying I anticipated all the specifics. But the characters I expected (from the way they'd been portrayed all along) to be guilty of wrongdoing were in fact guilty of wrongdoing.
Early on, we're told a minor character has insisted on something's being worded in a certain way, rejecting another possibility. I kept waiting for that to have some plot relevance, but it never does.
Finally, while I can understand the author's wanting to end the story the way he did, the denouement was too long and dragged-out for my taste.
Carl, a former cop, his wife, Gwen, and his adolescent daughter from a previous marriage, Angie, belong to the Cathedral of the Third Millennium, a 6,400-member fundamentalist mega-church built of glass and steel and shepherded by the Rev. Paul Plowright. (Give you one guess who the bad guy is.)
Renouncing drugs, alcohol, casual sex and thinking for himself, Carl gives Plowright credit for saving his life and Jesus the glory for saving his soul. Harboring nary a doubt (uncertainty is for the faithless), Carl abides, for a time, in the love of God, family and the flock at CTM.
But abiding time starts ticking down when Carl is hired to investigate a murder that leads him into temptations of the flesh and the spirit. Here's how Carl describes his situation, "Look, I'm a Christian working for a Jewish lawyer who's working for an Islamic kid to find out who really killed the atheist. It's America, right?"
Beinhart, whose previous novels include WAG THE DOG and THE LIBRARIAN, both must-read page-turners for political junkies, takes aim this time at scoundrels behind stained glass windows who've had it coming.
For a high-speed excursion of America's search for meaning in these strange times, take SALVATION BOULEVARD. Beinhart will have you hollering "Amen!"
I'm an atheist raised as a fundamentalist Christian, so I was uncomfortable at first finding myself inside the mind of an evangelical Christian. But that's the protagonist, of course, not the author. Anyway, I was already hooked. The story unfolds over the wreckage of our legal system left after eight years of Bush's "war on terror" and the Bill of Rights. Using the Muslim student's arrest - he's already being called a terrorist - as the case in point, the detective's charismatic superstar minister paints a picture of holy war between "them and us," and the church brings every kind of pressure on the detective to drop the case. The detective, who believes the student innocent, is having trouble with his faith. And I'll leave the rest of the story for you to enjoy, while I read the author's other two books, "Wag the Dog" and "The Librarian."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
religious quotes too detailed and made reading tedious. Story line obvious early on..Born again in any faith is not something that falls apart this easilyPublished on May 14, 2014 by Al Jazz
Really enjoyed his book, The Librarian which I rate 4.5 stars, but whilst this was reasonably enjoyable
not a must read .
This is one of the most over-the-top, heavy-handed, smack-you-in-the-head-with-a-brick books that I've ever read. Here is the thinking behind it. Read morePublished on March 6, 2012 by Cynthia C.C.
I wanted to like this book . . . it is an interesting, thoughtful premise. But the plot wobbled all over the place, the initial plot mechanic got lost . . . Read morePublished on September 1, 2010 by Richard Berg
So what's the big deal with this book? My aunt saw some write-up or heard about it on NPR and felt compelled to tell me about it. Read morePublished on March 12, 2009 by B. J. Jones
a good story about what can happen when one is afraid to create her/his own religious views but instead rather blindly follows a religious leader; it's also about a person that... Read morePublished on February 17, 2009 by timwtheos
I have regularly checked for new Beinharts for years, ever since the wonderful Tony Casella trilogy (and why why why are they out of print? Read morePublished on February 16, 2009 by Alice Chalmers