Book Review: “Our Trespasses” by Michael Cordell

To break up the book reviews I will be doing on books by Barry Eisler (see my comments at the start of the review for “The Detachment”), I am doing a review of a book which I have actually only just finished, rather than one of the ones from earlier in the summer.

I got a copy of this book as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC), so knew nothing about it before starting to read it. It had been suggested that I may like it as I enjoyed “The Hollows” by Mark Edwards and for a long time, I was enjoying it. Rather than “The Hollows”, however, it began to remind me more of one of Mark Edwards’ other books – “The Retreat” (one of my favourite books ever) – as I wasn’t sure whether the book was going to turn out to be a horror book. I don’t read horror books and don’t watch horror films, so the genre doesn’t interest me.

While “The Retreat” turns out not to be horror, “Our Trespasses” is and so at the point when it went down that road, it lost me. I’m sure that many readers will love this – it’s just not for me. That it went heavy on Christianity to help frame the horror may also work for some readers, but not for someone, like myself, who is not a Christian. I kept reading the book and there were aspects that I really enjoyed, but for me there were other ways the story could have been done without going down the road that it did (here I was mentally drawing parallels with the recent discussions on the “Let’s Jaws for a Minute” podcast about “Jaws 2” and “Jaws: The Revenge” and whether they could have been better films with more focus on the PTSD of the protagonists and possibly not even having any sharks in them at all)

Having said all that, as I noted, there were aspects that I enjoyed about the book – including some of the lines in it. For example,

it felt as though years of emotions would soon be crashing over him like a tsunami.

I can really relate to the above – and the fact that it uses ‘tsunami’, which just keeps going and going, unlike a typical wave, works for me.

Given my interest in aviation (see my research about the JL123 crash and also my plane photography posts), I particularly enjoyed the following text,

The flight attendant announced the plane’s impending descent into Omaha, and expressed her sincerely scripted hope that those passengers whose final destination was Omaha enjoyed a pleasant stay.

I love the ‘sincerely scripted hope’ part. I also found the following line amusing,

It was probably unfair to call Claire’s father an ugly drunk, but at a minimum he’d been a damn unattractive one, constantly muttering under his breath about everything wrong in his life.

Again, relating to my work on JL123, but also to life more generally, I could also related to the comment that ‘Funerals are for the living anyway’.

But returning to one of my criticisms about the book – in terms of the religious content – I did struggle with the discussions about suicide and how it is viewed.

Overall, I enjoyed much of the book, and I can imagine some people who are into horror, for example, could enjoy it even more than I did, but it went too far down particular roads for me to enjoy it as much as I thought I was going to and could have done.

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