I had the honor of reading an advance copy of Kevin St. Jarre’s soon-to-be-released novel, Absence of Grace and wrote this review in hopes that other readers will find it useful. If you like fast-paced adventure stories with horror, supernatural, metaphysical, and/or religious elements, you’ll enjoy this one for sure.
ABSENCE OF GRACE by Kevin St. Jarre is a whirlwind of an adventure story constructed with horror, metaphysical, and religious/spiritual elements, both familiar and obscure, to dark and delicious effect.
Following a pattern of evil that he believes he’s uncovered, former police detective Jack Killarney races from a coastal Maine town to far-flung places like Nairobi, Greece, and Israel. Jack’s goal is to locate, understand, and possibly stop an evil force personified in the figure of a “dark man” who is present at horrific crime scenes and large-scale human tragedies. As he travels around the globe, Jack encounters many friends and foes, learns about ancient belief systems, and ponders philosophical questions about evil and its source.
The book is a twisty, wild ride from start to finish, and St. Jarre’s prose is uncluttered and solid enough to bear the speed and directional changes, keeping this reader firmly in her seat, if on the edge of it. Unlike other books of this sort that offer only a weak, ambiguous conclusion, St. Jarre comes through with a satisfying ending that answers enough of the questions asked while offering a hopeful message that resonates and inspires without being preachy.
A bit X-FILES. A bit Stephen King. Incredibly readable and at the same time intellectually satisfying, ABSENCE OF GRACE exemplifies (as do his other books) what I’m beginning to think of as the “St. Jarre Spice-Mix,” a potent concoction of humanism, philosophy, and religion that this reader, at least, finds irresistible.
I rarely give 5-Star reviews on any platform, reserving them for the very best of the best when it comes to prose style and emotional punch. However, this is a solid 4-Star novel, i.e. well above average, and one I would highly recommend to general readers who enjoy fast-paced, adventurous novels with supernatural and horror elements. I truly enjoyed it.
ABSENCE OF GRACE can be pre-ordered from Encircle Publications and on Amazon.
If you read it, drop me a line and let me know what you think!