Friday, September 14, 2012

Scars on the Face of God: The Devil's Bible by C. G. Bauer

Scars on the Face of God: The Devil's Bible
by C. G. Bauer

Hex signs protect every barn and outbuilding. The local tannery spews its poison on land and in the river. And babies disappear at birth. An orphan and one-time felon who earned his nickname from the sound a crowbar makes when it hits a man’s head, Wump Hozer is now the custodian of Our Lady of the Innocents parish in Three Bridges, PA. Wump is old and tired. He’s fought all his life against the tannery’s waste, against God, and against the blind eyes of his good neighbors. Nowadays he tries to ignore the old monsignor’s exploits with the young women of the parish and the strangeness surrounding the local orphanage, and does what good he can for his wife, the church, the nuns who run the orphanage, and the poor orphans themselves. Childhood memories and strange presentments begin to plague him when a brick wall unearthed at the site of a new restaurant collapses, and raw sewage carries hundreds of bones into the pit left behind. It looks like the Devil’s made Three Bridges his new playground. A blasphemous bible will tell Wump why.

 By Horror Reader

The title Scars on the Face of God: The Devil's Bible intrigued me and I put aside another novel to read this one. I was not disappointed. I loved the main character Wump and associated with him, right from the prologue. Bauer fleshes Wump, as well as the other characters, out carefully with a complex background that drives the characters throughout the story. I never once felt a character's actions were contrived.
Wump is a powerful narrator in this novel and Bauer expertly uses the character's vernacular to validate the character's behavior, immersing the reader and Wump into a horror spanning 100 years. I found myself devouring this novel to reveal the clues and watching the clock to see if I had time to finish before bed. I raced through the book to the end. Bauer nicely wraps up the ending and does not leave anything unexplained or what the reader can deduce.
There are no 2-d characters in this book; all of them have history and are intricate to the story, which helps with the suspension of belief as the reader falls mercilessly into the river and sewers with the characters to discover the horror of dead babies with lips that move. There is very little opportunity for one to catch one's breath as this story builds in suspense, but Bauer manages to weave into the story all of the background and flashbacks without once slowing the pace as the book nears the climax.
A note on editing: I'm never without my Kindle and I read constantly. A good deal of eBooks lately have not been edited well, or not at all. That irritates me and I usually make a note of the author so as not to make the mistake of reading them again. This novel is wonderfully edited and certainly contributed to my enjoyment.
If you want to read a good book, this is the book for you.
Mr. Bauer has some new books coming out soon that I am looking forward to reading. I can't wait for his next novel.

About the Author
Chris Bauer is editor of and a contributing author to the short story collections, Crappy Shorts: Skid Marks and Crappy Shorts: Number Two. He's also author of the horror novel Scars in the Face of God: The Devil's Bible (2010 EPIC Awards runner-up for best in eBook horror), which horror novelist Scott Nicholson dubbed "hotter than the flames of hell." Raised in Philadelphia, he now lives in Doylestown, PA, with his lovely wife Terry and their supermutt Rory. His short fiction has appeared in Thuglit, Shroud Magazine and 100 Horrors, and has been podcasted by Well Told Tales. He's been recognized by the National Writers Association, the Writers Room of Bucks County and the Maryland Writers Association.
For further insights, read an interview with the author.