I was provided a free copy of ‘A Light In The Desert’ in exchange for my honest opinion. This will be a (mostly) spoiler free review. Please find more of Anne Montgomery’s and her work here.
Anne Montgomery’s novel ‘A Light In The Desert’ is based on a true story. I think that part is important because of how well researched the event as well as the area surrounding is. The story itself is ‘small’ and what I mean by that is it only encompasses a couple of key characters in a small town. The way that Montgomery paints the portrait of this environment and these people is precise and detailed. It can be a little ‘academic’ at moments. The average reader may have to look up a few words, but it’s worth diving into the dictionary. …or the internet.
The most interesting character (in my opinion) in the novel was Jason Ramm, a veteran suffering from pretty intense PTSD. He has settled in a small town trying to achieve some normalcy in his life when things get twisted upside down by a domestic terrorism incident. Jason Ramm could be Jason Bourne in one of his many minor adventures. He’s engaging but intelligent, suffering but charismatic, gentle but dangerous.
One of the more interesting twists in ‘A Light In The Desert’ is that it is split in two, with wildly different takes on the story happening around the characters. As soon as you get comfortable with one set of characters another set, equally engrossing, dives in. There is a lot of religious overtone in the story but presented in a realistic and digestable way. Just as soon as it seems to be getting over the top or preachy it knocks the zealotry back to the ground with characters who think along the same lines as everyday people.
I do have some minor quips, the other main character, a pregnant teenager, is not nearly as interesting as Ramm. Not underdeveloped, just not engaging. A couple of side characters run along the lines of a stereo-type, but it doesn’t detract from the story. The ending was a little abrupt, but only because Jason Ramm took a back seat.
Overall I enjoyed the novel and would recommend people interested in emotionally driven tales that doesn’t require romantic undertones to read it!