Connie Corcoran Wilson,
The Color of Evil
(Quad Cities, 2012)

I recently had the less than satisfactory experience of reading this book in two days while I was hunkered down in front of the wood stove during the Blizzard of '13. When I began reading, The Color of Evil struck me as a YA novel, judging by the writing, but it later became apparent that this is not intended for the younger set after all. You'd never know its target audience is actually adults from the first half of the book, which is set entirely in a high school and concerns the kids, not the adults. One of the cover blurps states that this book should bring to mind Stephen King's Carrie. Simply put, don't expect anything like King here.

The story takes a long time to get going. Eight-year-old Tad McGreevy, who sees auras around people and can tell the nature of a person based on the color of the aura he sees, is terrified by a clown hired for his birthday party, which opens the book. For the next two months, he is tormented by night terrors in which he sees the evil clown doing unspeakable things. Although all of his visions eventually come true, it's all chalked up to coincidence and, for telling his visions to adults, Tad suffers a brief stay in a mental institution. It takes him a year to recover, and Tad chooses to keep his visions to himself from then on. Jump ahead eight years, and Tad is 16. He has never stopped seeing auras; it's just something he doesn't share. Here, we are introduced to a whole host of high school characters, and so begins the sappy high school soap-opera that dominates most of the book.

Near the middle, I had high hopes that this novel was going to grow up quickly and become gripping when we finally gain entry into the minds of the sadistic killers who, unbeknownst, pass each other at the same secluded location like two ships in the night. In this page-turning section, we actually do hear an echo of King, but unfortunately, the suspense ends quickly. There is another fast-paced section near the end when the killer clown has Tad's crush Jenny in his clutches, but even the stand-off with police becomes tedious and, again, the suspense is frustratingly short-lived.

Even more irritating is the constant repetition throughout the book. We hear the same descriptions of people, places and events over and over. There are big, gaping holes in the story, and the book is riddled with discrepancies. Names, dates, even hair and eye color in one chapter are contradicted in another. The author didn't think a few other things through, either. How does a man well over 300 pounds easily swim out through a car's window? And just exactly what happened to Cassie Chandler's car? Incorrect information is given. For instance, Carrie Underwood's song "Jesus, Take the Wheel" is mentioned. Carrie Underwood won American Idol in 2005. This story is set in 2003. The author should have checked her facts a little more closely. These kinds of easily corrected mistakes, so constant throughout the book, are unacceptable to me. The author should find herself a good editor. And Tad's special talent hardly ever surfaces at all.

This all-hell-breaks-loose tale of two murderers run amok in a small town really tries hard to be a full-fledged horror story, but misses the mark. There's too much irrelevant prattle and not enough horror. It is hard for me to believe that a college professor penned this mish-mash of soap-opera and (attempted) horror that is so riddled with inconsistencies and easily identifiable mistakes. In The Color of Evil, author Connie Corcoran Wilson falls short in her attempt to bring me spine-tingling terror. I understand this is book one of what will become a trilogy. Based on a slow-moving, soap opera-like first edition filled with characters I never really came to care about, I think I'll have to pass on the rest of the series.

book review by
Lee Lukaszewicz

16 March 2013

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