Innocent Blood, James forces you to think about evil and its horrific consequences, which makes it a very painful read. While listening to the audiobook I had to fast forward several parts that were too gruesome and sordid to bear.
Virtually every character is a product of extreme brokenness. They hopelessly and selfishly navigate through life, unable to give or receive love. The crime doesn't just happen. The underlying hate, fear, and lust had been embedded in each character a long time, working its way into every corner of their hearts. I was nearly knocked over at how expertly James introduced the only true picture of love into her story. Maurice, a staunch atheist, tells how a heavenly Father sent his Son to die for a world lost in the muck and mire of sin. Maurice is incredulous and unbelieving, which only magnifies the effect.
I am in a conundrum. I can't recommend this book because of the yuck factor, but at the same time it treats fallenness truthfully and well. In a world where atheism is a fast growing religion among our young, this book shows where it leads. And it clearly shows that there is no possible redemption for damaged lives just by trying to do better. The only deep change is through faith and belief in God. That this message is imbedded in the story (from such an unlikely source) left me in awe.
Families are becoming more and more broken as we drift away from absolutes in our culture. As I read, I kept wondering what needs to happen to prevent events like those in the book from happening. If this book is any indication of the outcomes we will see in our lifetime, oh, how we need to break the cycle! The message of the cross is the only answer. From the mocking lips of the unbeliever comes the only remedy. Innocent blood was shed for all of us.
(This is a guest post by fellow missionary and book lover - who also happens to be my sister - Grace Ensz.)