Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Falling Away, (Thomas Nelson), by T. L. Hines

A recluse who has visions and can't die. A lonely woman who sees the dead. A misfit who lives in the crawlspaces of life. Four individuals entwined by subtle quirks of fate and chance, and now an obsessive-compulsive veteran hooked on pain meds, an “embedder” who lodges bits of metal under her skin to control her fear, and demon-possessed cult leaders.

All in a novel's work for T. L. Hines, because when you pick up a Hines' novel, expect to embark on a journey to nowhere normal. Like his character in Unseen, Hines' stories live in the cracks between things, or to steal a line from a Gary Braunbeck novel, they take place in corners of the world where the “edges aren't quite squared”. Hines' characters are wonderfully flawed and human, but it is through these flaws that they are blessed and find their ultimate salvation.

Dylan Runs Ahead has done nothing but that – run ahead, run away from his demons. He ran away from shame and his Crow Reservation to the Army. After a terrible accident claims the life of a fellow soldier and friend and smashes up his leg, he runs away from nightmares and pain into the cozy embrace of painkillers. He runs away from bad memories by banishing them to the “Kill Box” in his head. And now after bad business has gone sour, Dylan Runs Ahead is running again.

He can't run from destiny, however. Dylan Runs Ahead is a Chosen. The problem is, no one seems to know for what. Eventually, however, Dylan Runs Ahead will need to stop running and hold his ground, face both the demons within and without, before Something Awful decides to choose his destiny for him.

The Falling Away is a fresh new spin – finally – on spiritual warfare and demonic activity. Also intriguing is the pattern that seems to be developing through Hines' novels; that people dismissed by society as “strange” or “misfit” are really unsung heroes who triumph BECAUSE of their flaws, that instead of being outcast from society they've been set aside for special, eternal work. In any case, another novel by Hines – another trip into Noir Bizarre – is something not to be missed by anyone who wants something different in spiritual fiction.

Visit Buy it today.

Kevin Lucia is the Review Editor for Shroud Magazine. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies. He's currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children. He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles. Visit him on the web at

No comments: