A Portion of Malice
Buckminster Publishing (2022)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (01/2023)
“A Portion of Malice” is the first book in the newest thrilling series known as “Ages of Malice,” and the debut novel from Lloyd Jeffries, that will likely keep you on the edge of your seat, or at least antsy as you sit comfortably in your favorite reading spot. Set between Biblical and modern times, the story begins with the reader being drawn in by mysterious happenings expected to be found in later pages. “A Portion of Malice” would be categorized in the Christian fiction genre, still, the reader will find similarities in artistic styles to that of author Dan Brown and American film director, Quentin Tarantino – while not initially seeming to go together, they surprisingly work.
The reader follows journalist and Pulitzer prize winner Emery Merrick, Cain, the brother of Abel, from the book of Genesis in the Bible, along with other minor and major characters in jaw-dropping happenings. Thousands of years ago, after Cain murdered Abel, he was marked by God detouring his life path and cursing him to roam the world for eternity. Not surprisingly, given the fact that he did murder his brother, Cain develops evil within him but keeps the hope of forgiveness of God close to his heart. As the years, decades and centuries pass, Cain decides that he needs someone around to record his life and sets plans in action to achieve his overall goal. What Emery witnesses throughout the story, and what Cain and his companions are willing to do is appalling; on the other hand, it proves what some people are willing to do to reach their goals, allowing nothing to stop them – both admirable and shocking.
The similarity between Jeffries’s work and Tarantino’s is the bloodshed and gore throughout the story; there is so much. Now would be a good time to include a trigger warning for readers and examples include violence (gunshots, torture, war zones), sexual acts/prostitution, human trafficking, grooming children for rituals, mental health/substance use, and foul language, to name a few. While these aren’t this reader’s usual go-to’s when choosing a story, I didn’t want to stop reading. Each chapter brings with it additional questions and answers related to previous chapters that keep you going.
Readers familiar and not familiar with the Bible and the stories contained within it will enjoy “A Portion of Malice.” Jeffries writes beautifully, and even when you want to look away, the chapters paint a picture of everything happening that you can only appreciate. A word of advice – nothing is as it seems, prepare to feel all the feels and don’t be surprised when you experience goosebumps. Also, be ready for the second installment in the “Ages of Malice” series, coming this spring (2023)!