Friday, March 2, 2012

First Chapter Review: 30 Pieces of Silver by Carolyn McCray

I picked up a Kindle copy of this book for two reasons: it was free and its subtitle is, "An Extremely Controversial Historical Thriller." Who doesn't enjoy a bit of controversy? Historicals and thrillers are two of my favorites, so picking up a book that combines them seems the right thing for me. In addition, the Amazon description says you shouldn't read the book if you're disturbed by The DaVinci Code or The Passion of Christ's revelations. I remember the broowaha that surrounded the former, so I had to take a peek into McCray's book.

TITLE:  30 Pieces of Silver

AUTHOR:  Carolyn McCray

BLURB:  Frustratingly enough, I couldn't find an official blurb for this book, even at the author's website. Pretty much, it looks like review blurbs are what is being used to compel readers to buy the book. I did, however, find this overview on Amazon -

A Christian suicide bomber.

John the Baptist's bones inscribed in ancient Greek.

A dark secret carried from the foot of the crucifixion.

Can science solve the world's greatest mystery?

COVER:  Love it. The deep red cover with a slice through it that reveals coins definitely makes one think thriller and maybe some sort of mystery. The font used definitely gives the inkling that this is an historical novel. I don't believe this is the original cover, though. The one at the right is posted at Goodreads and also used in blog interviews, so I'm thinking the cover was redesigned at some point. Good thing. This other cover never would have attracted my attention, and for the most part, when I am scanning for free e-Books, I go by the cover and then read the blurb if the cover caught my eye.

FIRST CHAPTER:  I can't reveal too much about this opening chapter because it would ruin some of what transpires. What I can say is the reader meets Dr. Rebecca Monroe, who has been captured by maniacal warriors in Ecuador. She is currently staked to a pole, bleeding, and eagerly awaiting her end.

KEEP READING: I really don't know, but I'm leaning toward no. Writers are told that readers don't bother with prologues. I've always read them, but when they are overdone, I get irritated. This one spans a few pages. In order to fully grasp some of what this book is about, however, you need to read this prologue. And before you read the prologue, you have to read the short piece that precedes it, where the reader meets Judas Iscariot, who is considering the role he played in the arrest and Crucifixion of Jesus. So, before you even get to the first chapter, you have a bunch of reading to do, and what happens in the two parts that precede the first chapter have different characters and situations than it does.

Any author worth her salt will connect these pieces. Toward the end of the first chapter we see it already happening, but having so many characters tossed at you quickly and not immediately connected, leaves the reader with a disjointed feeling. In addition, the reader is told that Dr. Monroe's vision is blurry from a blow to the head, yet, the reader gets detailed descriptions of everything and everyone around her. It seems as if this is being told from her point of view, so either she can clearly see what's happening or she can't. A tiny nitpick, but it aggravated me as I read the descriptions. That said, McCray definitely knows how to paint a picture for the reader. You feel like you're right there.

After reading the three sections, I am intrigued by where this is going; how the dots are going to be connected; and what controversy might lie ahead, but I don't know that I am intrigued enough if the story is going to remain disjointed. I might be willing to give the next chapter a read before fully deciding to continue or not.

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 940 KB
Publisher: Off Our Meds Multimedia (December 22, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B004HB1W82
SRP:  $3.99

I downloaded a free copy of this book to my Kindle. I received no monetary compensation for my review.


Katie McCurdy said...

That first chapter seems to open with a bang -- I mean, tied to a stake and bleeding??

I'll have to check this book out sometime soon. Thanks!

Mayra Calvani said...

I dislike prologues too, especially when they're information and backstory dumps. This book doesn't look up my alley. Thanks for letting me know.