Rating: 4 of 5
Author: William Aicher
Available: Paperback, Kindle
Brutally murdered, a catholic priest hangs crucified on the side of an abandoned brewery. Steven Carvelle, a feature reporter for the Courtsdale Courier, covers the slaying. One murder leads to the another, each one more heinous, and a serial killer is born. Tormented by his own internal demons while covering these cases, Carvelle begins having his own nightmares of increasing brutality. Subsequently, his relationship with his girlfriend, best friend, as well as his inner self deteriorates and his grasp on reality begins to warp. Carvelle questions the meaning of life, the purpose of religion, and what the slayings all have in common. Unfortunately, the answer may be one he is unwilling to face.
While reading William Aicher’s, The Trouble With Being God, I was reminded of the 1987 movie Angel Heart starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, and Lisa Bonet. Both feature a main character trying to solve the mystery surrounding a series of brutal slayings while evidence mounts pointing to them as the potential killer. Both also have substantial religious overtones.
Aicher’s writing is crisp and the novel moves quickly. There are a number of philosophical discussions between Carvelle and his friend Miles that recall the days of late night college dorm room discussions. Many of these involve religion and its role in society. However, not all are delved into as deeply as I would have liked. Also, for those expected neat and tidy closure to the various story arcs, you may be a little frustrated at the end. But realize Aicher’s focus isn’t necessarily the slayings themselves, though this provides the novels backbone pushing the plot forward, but the inner journey of our own occasional brutal thoughts and passions and how we choose to manage them.
Something unique offered by this novel to enhance the readers experience, are Aicher’s footnoted musical selections to be listened to while reading various parts of the novel. For this, Aicher draws on his experience as Director of Marketing for an online sheet music retailer and previous position as Editor In-Chief for an online music review website. The songs are available on the books website.
For those looking for a face paced read, while realizing the novel contains violence similar to that featured on an intense CSI episode, check out The Trouble With Being God.