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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: The Abolition of Evil by Ted Richardson

aoeI am a HUGE American history (well, any history, really) fan, so when author Ted Richardson contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing his book The Abolition of Evil, was immediately intrigued – how many novels have YOU encountered that tie together billionaires with secrets, political drama, Lewis and Clark, and conquistadors?? My review copy was graciously provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.

The book description can be read on Amazon or the author’s website. I won’t rehash that – I’ll tell you why the description is only the beginning of what should catch your eye about this book (and Richardson’s other(s) in the series)… Let’s start with the characters – anyone who reads my reviews knows I am a fanatic for great characters. I like them well-developed, complex, and human. Richardson’s Matt Hawkins, the protagonist in this great series, is one such character. But he’s not the only one – the book is populated with them… Even the passing-glance characters (who, incidentally, often wind up being not so by the time the story plays out a bit) are multi-faceted and interesting to read. Some of that, for me, is probably due to the subject matter Richardson so adeptly introduces into the world of fiction. He’s one of a few authors I’ve come across who seems to delight in fashioning fascinating stories out of what would otherwise seem to be relatively obscure bits of Americana (example: black conquistadors – I have a father who is obsessed with American history AND pirates/explorers in all forms and loves talking about both, and I had nary an inkling such a group existed). He layers his history and his fiction deftly, placing just enough of each on the spoon at each bite to ensure you work your way through the entire presentation…

I must admit, there were a few points where the story got a little slow for me. There is a lot of detail here, and sometimes it felt a little dense. But by the time I reached the end, I came to the conclusion that it was all probably necessary to fully flesh out the history and the mystery in equal parts. This is the second in the Hawkins series; I didn’t know this when I agreed to the review. It’s a good thing, because I’m OBSESSIVE about reading series books in order, and I probably would have respectfully declined this one had I known. I didn’t realize it until I was probably a quarter of the way through this one – and not because of any failing or confusion in the story, but rather because I found myself curious as to whether there might be other books by the author and thinking that several of the backstory allusions would lend themselves to a fascinating book of their own (turns out, they do and have – it’s called Imposters of Patriotism, and is on my To Be Read list now). The ending quite strongly suggests there is way more in store for Mr. Hawkins – and Mr. Richardson (one volume – A Nation of Hucksters – is excerpted at the end of this one). I, for one, am delighted and looking forward to reengaging with both in the future!

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