Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blindfolded: a Free Book review

I did not think I'd like Earle Ashley Walcott's Blindfolded when it showed up on LibriVox. The description sounds a bit like an early version of Little Miss Marker. But it was one of Roger Melin's contributions, so I tried it anyway.

To begin with, I'll add to Melin's description. The kid doesn't tag along in typical adorable waif style. That's a relief, anyway. And our hero, Giles Dudley, is soon treated to a box seat at a murder. As a special added extra, he gets a good look at the murderer's face. He turns to the police and gets nowhere: they aren't about to go after the guy he saw.

So he vows vengeance, only to find himself swept up in someone else's scheme under another identity--one he can neither maintain perfectly nor dispose of without danger. Who is behind the scheme? What is it about? Why does the owner of the face he saw at the murder apparently want him to act as his confidential agent in stock manipulations? Who can he trust? We're all in the dark with him.

The plot twists sound as though they should be frustrating, especially when he picks up a romantic interest he cannot pursue and various people realize he isn't who he's supposed to be. But this is a well-plotted and paced story, and the maze does eventually resolve.

I like the story. It's not specifically Christian, though it is generally moral and ethical (moreso than some modern Christian fiction). There's an unexpected scene near the end that is very effective and scary--a kind of reverse deathbed conversion--that points in a Christian direction. And against the prejudices of its day, there's a pointed exposition of the fact that Asians do not all look alike--it's part of an overarching theme very important to the story, but that point aside, it's quite well done and a good counterpoint to a prejudice that still lingers to this day in some quarters.

I should mention that there is a fair amount of violence. It isn't particularly graphic or gory, but it is plentiful. There's a lot of action in general and suspense, too.

The scenes of stock market operations in the late 1800s are informative--you can trace the development of modern practices without much trouble. Also, the depiction of China Town in that era, though brief, is fairly well done.

All in all, it's worth a look, and Melin's audio version makes the text proper even more accessible for busy people.

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