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Literary Hall of James GoodRead Review: The Book of Cain

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The Book of Cain

The Book of Cain by James Pressler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Full disclosure, I belong to the same local writers’ group as the author. This is the third novel that I’ve read written by a writers group member but the first of which I’m doing a good reads review.

I love the unique premise of this book. It’s based upon the biblical account of Cain and Abel. God placed a mark upon Cain, the first murderer in world history, (Genesis 4:8 Holy Bible) that insured no one he encountered would harm him. (Genesis 4:15) As a result vengeance wouldn’t be taken out on him for killing Abel.

The mark also kept any and all would be avengers from even judging him for his murder or anything else. Somehow the flood didn’t take him out, so he remains among us in the present and goes by the name of, wait for it- Mark Cain.

The lack of retribution that would seem a blessing is actually a curse. He wont die and to his chagrin he don’t die. He from the story’s beginning is weary of life. He express his life fatigue with an amusing term to convey envy and contempt toward those he knows who die.

He fills his time by penning his epic “Book of Cain.” He seeks divine reconciliation by doing good deeds and survives by being the onsite building super for a sleazy slum lord. Cain’s life hums along until atonement seems possible by a murder committed at his job/residence location. (it wasn’t him-this time)

H e sees possible redemption in the guise of Inspector DeVries who he believes is an other worldly angelic like being. She may be as such but her earthly designation is that of a good cop and the other main character to his story.

I couldn’t tell where this story was going. But its humor, eclectic collection of characters including resident "entrepreneurs" who called him “Super Mark” and lively writing kept me reading. The enjoyable read throughout had me thinking “Jimdandyier” before the end.*

The ending here made sense of everything that happened throughout the book. Also, the finale provides a “ Miracle on 34th Street” type revelation for Inspector DeVries that cause her to question all that she believed prior to meeting Mark Cain. That makes this special, a “James Gang” quality piece.**

*Jim Dandys are typically given 3 star ratings. Jim Dandys that stand out due to a distinct element such as subject or character receive 4 star ratings and as such are "Jim Dandyers."
** James Gang- This is a very good read i.e. special but it stops short of being a classic.

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