Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Fast-Paced Storytelling: An Early Review of FRANTIC by Mike Dellosso (Coming February 2012)
HE'S GOING TO KILL ME
With those words written hastily on a crumpled piece of paper, Marny Toogood is thrust into a frantic rescue mission of a beautiful girl named Esther and her mysteriously gifted little brother William. What starts out as a desperate fleeing attempt from a violent madman named Gary turns into a full-throttle grasping for survival in the midst of a disturbing plot the reader will never see coming. Violent death has been following Marny his whole life, a curse that touches everyone he cares about. Will find Marny find the faith to be the hero and put an end to his curse, or will the violent and the crazy, the frantic thirst of death, claim Esther and William as well?
FRANTIC shows Mike Dellosso's growth as both a writer and a storyteller. It's easily the best story I've read by him and gets me excited to see what else he has in store. At times when I was reading FRANTIC, I felt like I was reading something akin to a Ted Dekker thriller. Dellosso continues to show that Christian writers can tell great, suspenseful, and sometimes dark stories that shine the light of Jesus into the dark places.
Dellosso's pace in this story is remarkable. I love his short chapter lengths that almost always end on a cliffhanger. Just when you think you're going to put the book down at the end of a chapter, curiosity gets the best of you and you just have to find out what happens next. If the goal is to get readers to keep turning pages, Dellosso has really hit on how to make it happen.
The suspense and mystery keep mounting further and further throughout the story. At times it reminded me of the TV show LOST, which was great given that LOST was really great and emotionally stirring storytelling.
Like LOST, I couldn't help but love the characters in FRANTIC. Each of them seemed to have a past that they were both running from and being shaped by. Marny is an unexpected hero, and you really start to sympathize with all the heartache he's experienced in life. Esther is a strong heroine who loves in the face of incredible hate. William is a picture of innocence and faith in the midst of impossible odds. Then you have the antagonists. Gary is deeply disturbed, yet even his past breeds a measure of sympathy from the reader. There's one more villain to the story, but the reader will want to discover that on their own. I'll just say that I didn't expect what the story turned into.
Additionally, Dellosso's descriptions really created a vivid image of what was going on in the story in my mind. I knew this was true because a few days after reading a scene in the book I was reminded of something I had seen on TV earlier in the week, only I couldn't remember what it was. But I could clearly picture whatever it was. I finally realized that it wasn't something I had seen at all; it was the scene I had read in FRANTIC.
FRANTIC was a story that starts out as one thing and gradually grows into something else entirely. I absolutely loved the progression of this story. If you love a story that keeps you guessing until the end as it seeks to draw you closer to the heart of God, you'll want to check out FRANTIC. Then you'll want to check out Mike Dellosso's other novels as well.
FRANTIC doesn't come out until February 2012. As a member of Mike Dellosso's Darlington Society, I got the opportunity to read it early. I'm grateful I did.