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Got about five more pallets over here, Greg.

13 January 2015

Yesterday, I talked about the backlog of awesome things I’ve seen and read that I need to talk about. In the spirit of kicking my ass back into regular blogging, I’m going to start at the top, with the awesomest thing I saw during my blogging hiatus.

If you know Star Trek like I know Star Trek (as in, if it was a person, it would be going to a judge to renew its restraining order against me), you’ve definitely seen Victor Bevine before. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you’ll recall I’ve mentioned him once or twice — he’s the extremely talented actor who brought 47 Echo and Supercritical to life in audiobook form.

I don’t remember how long ago, I noticed that Victor had a book coming out. Good for him, I remember thinking. I’ll definitely have to read that when it comes out. When I saw it was released, I picked it up for Kindle, where it sat for an embarrassingly long time before I had a chance to read it.

It’s always tough reading books friends and acquaintances have written, because you’re somewhat terrified you’re going to hate them. Then, when that friend asks you, “Hey, what did you think of my book?” you’re stuck in the position of either lying or competing for the gold medal in the 100-meter Subject Change.

I don’t lie well, and I suck at sports… so I’m more in the position of hoping they don’t ask or immediately hiding behind a potted plant if I do see them.

Fortunately, Victor didn’t put me in that position. Oh, not that he didn’t ask what I thought, and not that I didn’t hide behind the Internet version of a potted plant anyway… but for totally different reasons. I hid because I wanted what I thought of the book to be shared with everyone, and here it is:

Holy shit, you guys.

Or, to put it in more specific terms: Certainty, Victor’s novel, is fan-fucking-tastic. It’s set in the time of America’s entry into World War I (a historical period I feel needs to be covered more in fiction anyway), and concerns an attorney agreeing to defend a clergyman in the midst of the backdrop of the Naval Training Station at Newport, RI.

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One of the toughest things for me — especially when I’m reading anything that can be considered historical fiction — is the beginning. I constantly feel like I’m being told all of the historical information in a ham-handed way as I get to know the characters, and man, it can be tedious. No such problems here; I was in from the word go. The characters and setting fall together effortlessly, and the scenes play in my mind like a well-done film.

As you read through, you can tell that Victor is someone who truly understands story, and I’m not just talking plot. I’m talking the entirety of story — plot, characters, world building, everything — and weaves them together in a way that instantly puts you into the novel, and keeps you there all the way through.

Like I said, I saw and read a lot of cool things over the break, but Certainty was the undisputed best of the bunch. You owe it to yourself to go pick up a copy — I linked the Kindle edition above, but you can get it in whatever way you choose to consume books (including, of course, audiobook — there’s no way he could have left that one out).

Also, you should look up Victor on the Internet, because he’s who I want to be when I grow up (if I ever decide to grow up, that is).

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