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The Ruptured Firmament Review:
We join Detective William Braden investigating  murders all within a single family a block from Central Park in New York. Right away the reader is thrown into a mysterious poisoning due to some weird substance. Outside the crime scene, he eyeballs a suspect that just looks wrong and his logic is right as the onlooker disappears in the crowd. As always, the culprit returns to the scene of the crime (to admire his work?) and two days later, Braden is there ready to apprehend him. He gives chase with Braden hot on his tail as the getaway on foot leads to a parking garage. In a full sprint, the suspects runs into a corner and disappears from sight. Braden follows and suddenly he disappears too.
What the heck? :)
If that sounds exciting, then strap on, Vessels writes a tale with a paintbrush colorfully planting you in scene after magical scene as this whodunit turns into a quest to save the world on the brink of extinction. This isn’t the classic detective story, as we learn Braden logic guides him to acquiring many tools in his arsenal including a ninety-year-old nun who proves a hero (heroine) can be any age. He also learns to ignore his logic and run toward danger. Sometimes we have to stand tall as calm as the eye of a storm during the storm. William needs all the help he can get to help confront a terror so menacing that the fate of the earth is in final jeopardy. Speaking of ninety-year-old nuns…
My favorite, favorite part of this story is the journey of Sister Beatrice Cloutier. Her opening chapter introduces us to the nun who has so much faith that she imitates her Lord and Savior by walking barefoot, old school discalced. During her long life of servitude, one thought has picked at her nonstop leading her to a crisis, her dark night of the soul. The moment which what you have stood on for years no longer holds you up. The tenants that held the house together suddenly crumble. Yes, she wore the mask of steadfastness with great pride, but behind the mask, a crisis as deep as the one facing Braden tugs at her heart. She answers this tugging of the heart by going into a deep prayer and meditation. I invite anyone to read this book not only for the adventure, but for how profound Stephen answers this quandary of faith through the experiences of Beatrice. As she closes her eyes to pray, Stephen uses his words patiently but with a delicate touch to guide her past the meaning of beliefs, words, sounds, and everything until she reaches a point beyond understanding, and she let’s go. If you read this with an open heart and mind, his words can chaperon you into that place. Many wise men, teachers, naguals, and shaman write about the journey into self. A place of discovery of who you are without the attachments. Who are you without the stuff, the identities? You are not what people call you: athletic, tall, short, white, black, fat, or skinny. You are not a mom, dad, writer, engineer, teacher, nurse. Who you are is beyond that, and before that. You are who you are. It’s a fascinating journey and as I learned, this letting go of what once was with the hope of what may be begins her quest. Her leap of faith from belief invigorates her to help Braden who she meets along the way. Her prayers are answered as joining Braden to attempt to stop the world threat also helps her find her new purpose. I should have written two reviews for this because there are so many layers to peel back. Stephen has written a fascinating book. A journey into the farthest physical reaches of man and simultaneously the farthest reaches of self. A vast treasure trove of discovery awaits under your own nose.