March 1 2022
***Note from Jamie Tremain - most of this letter was put together before the horrible situation erupted in Ukraine and we would be remiss not to mention that our hearts and prayers go out to the leaders and brave people of Ukraine and like everyone else we hope and pray for a peaceful resolution!
This month has Spring in it! And here in the Northern Hemisphere, we eagerly await its arrival.
Liz's Book Review - Crimechurch by Michael Botur
This is an author I'd never read before and I was asked to provide a review. While this is not a book I would have likely picked up because of the subject matter, I'm not sorry I read it.
MichaelBotur, 38, is from Whangarei, New Zealand, and is a fiction writer and poet. As of 2020 he has published two literary fiction books, traditionally, and has self-published five short story collections, one poetry collection and has received numerous accolades.
The book description for Crimechurch -
I’m exhausted and overwhelmed reading this harsh tale of gang life in Christchurch, NZ, and I feel as if I have just emerged from a freakish carnival roller coaster ride. Moments of intense graphic violence were relieved sporadically when I uttered a laugh at unexpected, but totally appropriate, humour. The book is populated by inhumane and psychopathic gang leaders and those who would do their bidding, who occasionally show a glimpse of sentiment. A bungee-cord ride from start to finish.
Gritty, raw, and bleak don’t even begin to describe the general tone of this remarkable account given life by the author. Entering gang life – as a choice, drug use, violence as a means to an end and a never-ending string of creative profanity – this is not a life I would ever care to be part of. Knowing it exists is bad enough, but I applaud the author’s ability to peel back some of the layers of lost lives to bring them to a very realistic level of believability.
His weaving of several distinct character voices is well done, bringing different points of view to experiences shared by two or more of these characters.
Yet some of these messed up, and beyond-lost gang members find a way to connect with the reader so that there is an engagement that makes you want to see how their messed-up lives will end.
As in real life, some lives are restored, and others are forever lost. This is not a book I will easily forget. Marty, Winston et al will lodge in my brain for a long time.