I don’t feel like the blurb for The Devil’s Prayer does it justice. But I also think it would be really hard to do a blurb that really did tell you what this book was about. Some of the book is fairly typical fare. Deals with the devil, prophecies, and the possible end of the world. Then there’s the historical fiction aspect of it. Which, if you’re someone into religious history, provides enough actual facts to make you happy. For the horror hounds, there’s some of that too, around the second quarter. So, there’s obviously a lot going on.
The first three-quarters of The Devil’s Prayer were awesome. There was the mystery, the horror, the clues all coming together. We got the beginnings of an answer to a question that was asked early on. Once I really sat down to concentrate on the book, I read through 50 percent of it in one night. And the last quarter was good, too. But in a very different way. Unfortunately, the last quarter doesn’t really match with the first three in any way other than covering the relevant subject matter.
It felt like Luke Gracias got almost done with the book, and then decided to turn it into a history paper at the end. The material he covered was fascinating, and stuff I’d definitely look up in my free time when I was in the mood for it. However, when I’m three-quarters of the way through a fiction book, I’m not in the mood to come to a full stop for a preachy, hand-holding history lesson. My interest in what I was reading swiftly fizzled. Instead of getting the climax and story resolution I was hoping for, I was suddenly just hoping it would end soon.
The way The Devil’s Prayer is told is a bit flip-floppy. It’s told journal-style, interspersed with present-day action. My one problem with journal style – and I’ve had this thought with a couple other books – is that it feels unrealistic. No one is going to be as detailed in their journals about every little interaction as they are in these types of books. (And I know this is partially on me, for not being able to completely suspend reality, but it bothers me.) I was able to push it aside, for the most part, and just enjoy what I was reading. Luke Gracias does a good job of giving us a character we can care about in Denise Russo, even if we know she’s already dead when we start to get to know her. Siobhan is pretty much just an audience substitute in this book.
Overall, The Devil’s Prayer isn’t a bad read by any means. But it’s not exactly the smoothest read with the way it ends. Luke Gracias is talented, though, and obviously a religious history enthusiast. I think we’ll see some great work from him in the future. Also, I would be shocked if The Devil’s Prayer doesn’t have a sequel already being written. The book ends, if not exactly on a cliffhanger, without a feeling of plot resolution.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the author for review consideration.