Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Deepening Shade / Jake Hinkson

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Crime Fiction/Short Story Collection

Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words

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Chicagoan Jake Hinkson writes crime fiction. In addition to this short story collection, he has three novels available. For more, visit Hinkson’s website.


In this short story collection “desperate characters grasp for moments of grace: A lesbian couple running a homeless shelter try to save a young woman controlled by a self-proclaimed prophet. A stripper commits a terrible crime to protect her sister from going to jail. A Pentecostal snake-handler avenges his daughter’s murder only to find himself tormented by his own unbelief. An alcoholic cop, drunk on duty, attempts to stop Dick Cheney from robbing a gas station. In these stories and more, which range from the heartbreakingly tragic to the bizarrely funny, characters struggle violently with each other, and with themselves.”


A fun and different kind of read. As the full description on some retail sites mentions, Hinkson’s first novel, Hell on Church Street, combined religious fundamentalism with crime fiction. Many of these stories do the same to varying degrees. This is a strange juxtaposition and prior to reading I was curious as to whether the stories would slant towards a positive or negative portrayal of religion. While every reader is going to view the answer to that question through his or her own personal lens, to me the collection as a whole didn’t do either. Instead, religion was an integral part of the characters or setting. Not likely to offend or please either non-believers or the more faithful, while still adding to the story. A varied collection that should please fans of crime fiction.


Adult language and situations.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four Stars

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