I read quite a bit. Mostly in my genre, but really, I’ll try just about anything (except the Grey books, you’ve gotta draw the line somewhere). And while I enjoy lots of books and lots of authors, it’s rare that a book takes my breath away.
Chris Fabry’s “Not in the Heart” did just that.
At first I just marveled at how well Fabry handled some tricky, writerly stuff. He created a hero–Truman–who was thoroughly unlikable. Except that I kind of liked him because he was really funny in the midst of his awfulness. And then there’s the scene where Truman is letting his estranged wife drive even though he thinks she’s a terrible driver. They’re having a really serious, life-changing discussion while Truman is making a herculean effort not to back seat drive. It’s fabulous.
But as the last page approached I kept thinking there was no way the story could end well. Truman is a has-been journalist writing a book about a man on death row who wants to donate his heart. To Truman’s dying son. Except the man just might be innocent. I mean, it was obvious someone was going to die and I wasn’t going to be happy about it.
As it turns out, the book didn’t end well. It ended perfectly. One of those endings that made me close the book and look for something else Chris Fabry wrote in hopes it’ll be just as good. Or even almost as good. That would still be plenty good enough.
I’ll keep plugging away at this writing business, but having finished “Not in the Heart,” well, I see I have a ways to go.
P.S. Chris Fabry is from West Virginia. Of course he is.