C.G. Bauer,
Scars on the Face of God
(Drollerie, 2009)

Johnnie "Wump" Hozer was born in Schuetten, Pennsylvania, in 1899, and he grew up in St. Jerome's orphanage. The story starts in 1909, with 10-year-old Johnnie and his friend running unpleasant errands for the local tannery, the town's main employer. When Johnnie and his friend see a woman throw a baby-sized bundle off the railroad bridge, Johnnie jumps in to save the baby. Underwater, Johnnie has a horrifying experience that stays with him all his life.

The story then jumps to the same town, but now called Three Bridges, in 1964. Wump Hozer is the handyman for the church, the orphanage and the rectory. The horrible experience from 1909 repeats itself, but this time it's much worse. The unraveling of that horror will change Wump, as well as the town, and it has the potential to change the world.

With an amazing climax that is the ultimate good-vs.-evil showdown, Scars on the Face of God is amazingly complex yet coherent. The story never lags, but it does build slowly and inexorably toward the climax. The characters are developed and interesting, and the setting is described well. This is premium religious horror.

book review by
Chris McCallister

24 March 2012

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