On June 11th, I did a partial review of a debut work of gay fiction by author Michael Chavez, Creed. Life was nuts for me then and I didn’t get to finish it. I promised a full review by that weeks end (the 16th). If you’ve been playing along, you know that June 16th was Columbus Pride and that I was heavily involved in that. I went from crazy family stuff to coordinating the efforts to get 16 people and a dog to a parade and through said parade. I thought the family stuff was off the wall, nuts! It doesn’t compare to coordinating group participation in Pride!
I finally got to finish Michael’s book and now I’m back with the promised review. I apologize for such a lengthy delay but, I hope you’ll find it was worth the wait.
Creed is the story of Theo (Jaquez), a young, gay Latino trying to find his way our of his childhood hell and into a “normal” life free of abuse and suffering where he is free to be himself. If it were only so easy! Unfortunately, it’s not for Theo…not even close.
As a young man, Theo is befriended by a Catholic priest, Father Bonafacio. Through the priest, Theo finds a way up and out of hell he suffers daily with his family in New Mexico to live a better life. His past comes back to bite him in the butt though when, to honor the request of “Jude”, a former world traveling reporter friend who dies all too young of cancer, he gets involved in events he could not possibly have foreseen and cannot begin to control. So many forces are working against him in ways he can’t possibly imagine. For example, a brief, random chance meeting on an airplane paints him as a suspicious character to the other passenger, a retired federal investigator, who later, completely unknown to Theo, witnesses two small parts of an innocent transaction on Theo’s part and then some time later reports them to a cop with political aspirations trying to build his name who, in turn, turns them into the eyewitness proof of a major crime in the making. All of that while Theo is totally unaware! The whole book is full of these totally plausible but completely incredible twists.
If I had one beef with this book, it would be only this; Michael jumps backward and forward in time in the story, sometimes needlessly. The story takes place in many places. Events are going on simultaneously; I get that. What was hard to follow sometimes was when an event would begin, like the trial for example, and then the story would go backward into the detail of an event that took place months before the trial – the interview of a potential witness. Flashbacks are useful, yes, agreed. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about events that could have easily been described in order like that scenario, to keep the story flowing and to make it easier on the reader who has to “switch gears” so to speak, when this happens. Now, this is my only concern and, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a minor one…a small annoyance.
I wish I could tell you that I couldn’t put the book down. Obviously I did because it took me three weeks to read it given the craziness of life but, rest assured, I didn’t want to put it down. It’s a truly great story. Michael Chavez has very real writing talent. I hope he left a little in the tank for another book because I can’t wait to see what he dreams up next!