Wednesday 27 May 2015

#bookreview: The Blasphemer by John Ling

I have to admit that I took a very long time to getting round to reading this book.
I first received an e-copy when it came out (way back when) as part of a giveaway on my friend's blog. It was always - "I must read it", but it got buried under more urgent reads, more enticing blurbs. I do read thrillers, but not as often. And then he offered free copies (again) as part of, I think, NoiseTrade so I decided it was probably time to get to it.

Well anyway, here it is.

The Blasphemer: The Complete NovelThe Blasphemer: The Complete Novel by John Ling
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When Abraham Khan is attacked by a Muslim fundamentalist for releasing a book condemning radical Islam, Maya Raines is put on the job to keep Khan and his wife safe. Maya's ex-partner, Adam Larsen, is tasked to keep his ear on the ground and find out who else might be after Khan.

One good thing about The Blasphemer is the diversity Ling brings into the book. It's more complex than the generic white American Christian vs Fundamentalist Muslim thriller, bringing up the all too real tension that exists between progressive Islam and radical, fundamentalist Islam. The cast is also varied, taken from a wide spectrum of ethnicities, reflecting the growing globalisation and multiculturalism of city centres.

I quite enjoyed The Blasphemer as a short-ish, fairly light read. Not as heavy as the Le Carre I'm currently reading.

Ling, however, has a tendency to either turn a little didactic in his narrative, especially when talking about Islam. Perhaps he feels that people need to know more about the religion and the tensions that exist within the community, to show the world that Islam isn't all bad. That's not a bad thing to bring up. It's just that he often comes across as a little preachy.

The writing also tends to get excessively choppy in certain parts of the book, as if Ling is trying to up the pace and tension, or maybe to sound a little more... conversational? For some reason, this didn't really work for me. It just grated. Maybe I just like long sentences.

So, while I did think The Blasphemer was a pretty okay read, I don't know if I'm enticed enough to read more of his books.

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Note: Because April was full up due to the A to Z challenge and I had several other book reviews already in line, this only got scheduled to today.
But apparently, John Ling has released a revised version of The Blasphemer. So this review is probably obsolete. Unless you have a copy of the earlier version.

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