Original Books

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Stain by Harry Kraus

Dr. Seth Berringer has just gotten himself into a bigger mess than he ever intended to get into. While returning home drunk one night, he stumbles across the body of a teenage girl, which, in his drunken state, proceeds to run over with his van. The authorities later reveal that the accident was a hit and run, and Seth remembers what he did that night. But telling his secret would potentially jeopardize his reputation in the town and his growing relationship with a beautiful woman. But little does he know that he has gotten himself caught up in a scheme to clone the blood of Jesus of the Shroud of Turin. The more he finds out, the higher and more dangerous the stakes become.

I usually frown upon plots involving the supposed Shroud of Turin because it is unlikely that God allows such things as Jesus' DNA to still exist on the earth. Besides that, the Shroud of Turin subplot does not hold much bearing on the core plot. In the end, it becomes very unnecessary.

Seth's "accident" at the beginning of the book serves to create early imperfection in him. However, he is the only imperfect character besides the villain. All of the other characters are just entities and plot devices. This book was obviously written before Harry knew how to develop good characters. There are also a handful of unnecessary characters that bring along worthless subplots that only serve to make the book longer but bring nothing worthwhile to it.

Seth's imperfection is the only original aspect of this book. All of the other aspects are typical and copycatish. Things work out for the good guys; things don't for the bad guys. An unnecessary romantic subplot also leads to a last-chapter conversion to make it work. And all of this happens without the unnecessary nature of the Shroud of Turin subplot.

So as you can see, when the unnecessary parts are removed from this book, there isn't much left, showing signs that this was a book written early on in Harry's writing career. We can all be glad about how far he has come by reading The Stain. But other than that, this book is a waste of time.

2.5 stars

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