Book Review: The Trouble With Being God by William F. Aicher

I’ve been wanting to read this book since before it was released really (at least this edition of the book, which is the 10th anniversary edition), because around the time I started to follow Aicher he was designing this cover. He was doing polls on his Twitter, letting people vote on variations of this one, and I was interested right away (I think I initially voted for a cover that sported a knife somewhere in the graphic, but I think this one suits it best in the end).

The story follows journalist Steven Carvelle, who when a priest is found dead, naked, and crucified, is pulled into a string of horrifying murders as he tries his best to both report, and help his friend Detective Miles, investigate.

Aicher’s writing is pretty perfect, judging by my taste. Quick, to the point, definite, but allowing itself to be beautiful and descriptive some of the time. It leads to a good pace, yet a strong, flesh-out story, but at the same time it doesn’t get boring. It’s a difficult balance, but Aicher manages it perfectly.

There’s a few mistakes in this book, typical errors, and some beginner’s mistakes. We all have them, there’s no getting away from that, and Aicher even acknowledges it in the back of this book. Because this was the first one he wrote, and even though this is the revised 10th anniversary edition, he didn’t want to alter the story too much. He didn’t want to take away from it that roughness that makes it his first book, and I get that. The errors are minor and easily overlooked anyway.

Aicher’s writing is gripping. This story pulls you in right at the fucking start, no question about it. I read it in two sittings, more than half of the remaining book in one go. In one sense, the books feels very short, and fast-paced, yet at the same time there’s so much stuff happening all the time. I don’t understand how he does it, writing a book that feels short, but reads long. It’s weird.

But yeah, this is a very exciting book, and I’m very happy I got the 10th anniversary edition. There’s some notes back there that I really loved reading. And the ending is absolutely amazing. I loved it, I really did. In this version of the book there’s an alternate ending at the far back, but Aicher says he doesn’t want people to read that, so I didn’t. The ending is perfect as it is.

If you’re looking for an amazing indie thriller, get this. Get it. Right here.

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