Written by Ed Odson, Care Taker is a wonderful piece classified as dark paranormal fiction, as you can tell from the cover image--which is very cool, if you ask me.
I wouldn’t call it a strictly ‘religious’ read but it does include a number Christian themes. I’m talking spiritual warfare and demonic impression. It’s like an awesome sci-fi interpretation of the faith. There are just enough secular aspects to blur the lines between faith and fiction but the atmosphere is still family-friendly and entertaining.
The story centers on three key characters; Randall Price, his daughter Mary and her husband Owen. Randall is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which places him in the care of his daughter and her husband. It’s not long after his move in that things begin to change—quite dramatically.
Not to spoil things for any readers, but this is where the supernatural comes in. One of the lines from the book; “Then I realized this wasn’t my memory, it was Randall’s. He was pumping his memory into my head, and I was looking through his eyes as he relived that day.”
This is definitely one of the turning points in the book. I won’t call it the climax but it sure comes close. Before this point everything had been cool. Nice and chummy, wonderful jokes and silly banter between Mary and Owen. Then all of a sudden we are sucked into Randall’s world, which is so much darker, so much more emotional than everyone else’s.
One of my favorite things about this book is that it contains a good amount of description. I’m one who likes to be completely immersed in a book and Odson’s writing did just that. He has a wonderful way of stringing things together. He made me love his main characters and see my faith in a different light. As a fellow Christian, I thought this side of religious fiction was rather interesting. It was something that Christians and those who aren’t Christian could enjoy together.
Odson is something of a funny writer. One of the lines that made me laugh out loud; “If I hadn’t met Mary, I would have ended up pretty much like Nolan. The only difference-I’d have been a drunken hillbilly with a very high IQ, which would have made it all the more depressing.”
The characterization in Care Taker was wonderful. In getting to know Owen, and especially Randall, I got to know and understand two things I wasn’t quite familiar with before. The first is Alzheimer’s disease. This book does well to properly define and demonstrate just what this illness is and how it effects an individual. I think using this disease was a really wonderful way to embrace the underlying paranormal themes laid out throughout the piece.
The second thing I came to understand more closely was the effect Alzheimer’s disease has on others. Care Taker is definitely dark, it is paranormal fiction—and sometimes a little scary—but it also has a gentle side. I loved the interactions between Owen and Randall, you have a man somewhat struggling with a drinking problem but he becomes a genuine ‘care taker’ with his ill father-in-law. No pun intended!
I mentioned that this book was little scary. It wasn’t enough to keep me up at night but certain parts gave me the chills. One of the lines that made me shiver; “There were no nightmares that night. None I remember anyway. The nightmare was waiting for me when I woke up the following morning.”
Now that may not be scary on its own, however, that line was the end of a chapter. You’re thinking everything is fine and everything is going well and then you reach the end only to find out things are just getting started! That’s a very nice arrangement of progression if you ask me. Just another example of Odson’s keen eye as a writer and a reader.
There are many twists and turns and things you have to pay attention to to grasp the full meaning and depth of this book. You will appreciate it as a piece that demands your attention. I took a great interest right away and found it hard to keep track of time as I read.
I would most definitely recommend this book to any fan of paranormal, fantasy, even sci-fi nerds. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotion and thrill but Christians and those who enjoy religious fiction will appreciate this book the most. Regardless of your faith you should give this piece a chance!
This book is available on Amazon for only 2.99
*I received a free copy of Care Taker in exchange for an honest review*