John Aubrey Anderson File:
of Abiding Darkness
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
Wedgewood Grey by
John Aubrey Anderson
"...an involved, eye-catching plotline."
The spiritual war of Cat Lake, Mississippi continues as forces of good and evil clash in an epic struggle for the souls of this close-knit community, as demons incite those of weak and intemperate nature, while guardian angels strengthen the resolve of those who love the Lord and are committed to His righteousness. Anderson’s second novel interweaves the actions of humans and ministrations of angels and demons more subtly than Abiding Darkness, resulting in a more engaging, enjoyable narrative.
Mose Washington’s life has always been touched by the supernatural. Ever since the sacrifice of his son, Mose Jr., to save the life of Missy Parker, Mose has been acquainted with the sentiment, “I must decrease, so that He must increase”. Though trials have buffeted his life: the loss of his beloved son, a long stint on a prison plantation for a crime he didn’t commit, the death of his wife, lost time and heartaches, Mose has always trusted that God’s Will knows best. When he feels God’s urging to investigate a confrontation on a dark road in the middle of the night, he obeys without question, making sure his shotgun is loaded and at the ready.
When the dust clears and the gunplay ends, Mose finds himself on the run with a thirteen year old black boy – now an orphan, his mother dead at the hands of drunk college boys looking for fun at the expense of a black woman’s life – sought for questioning in the death of Oliver Bainbridge, only surviving son of United States Senator and vicious bigot, Halbert D. Bainbridge. With the FBI on their trail, Mose and the boy disappear into the Delta, looking to make new lives for themselves as they lean on God for support and care-taking.
FBI Special Agent Jeff Wagner isn’t like the rest of his federal agent brethren – he’s a mold-breaker who thinks on his own, rather than blindly following “all the rules”. This independent, open-minded perspective is Agent Wagner’s only chance of surviving the spiritual maelstrom that swirls around Cat Lake, as forces beyond his ken seek not only to destroy the lives of all those involved, but perhaps corrupt and ruin his own soul as well, while he labors to understand what really happened on a dark road in the middle of the night, and the part Mose Washington played in this horrible event.
Wedgewood Grey is a much more engaging story than its predecessor, Abiding Darkness, simply because the narrative stays in one time period, unlike Darkness, which spanned several generations and watched its principal characters grow up. As a result, Wedgewood Grey sports a more involved, eye-catching plotline that’s easier for the reader to “lock in to” and follow. This novel is more a work of mystery or suspense, and this makes it a much more enjoyable read, especially for those whose attention might be prone to wandering during the character-study that was Abiding Darkness.
The instances of spiritual involvement and manipulation are handled better in this novel; executed with a finer touch than in Darkness, which makes the story much easier to read without numerous interruptions by asides from the perspective of demons or angels. Ironically enough, though Wedgewood is supposed to be chiefly about Mose Washington and his flight from the law, Agent Jeff Wagner weighs in as the strongest character for most of the novel, and out of the two works, his character development stands as the best. All of this is not to say that Abiding Darkness wasn’t a fine novel; rather that Wedgewood Grey moves along at a quicker, more action-oriented pace and is a much more focused narrative, rather than a panorama of several different life-lines and familial intersections. With this much development from the first novel to the second, the third installment in the Black or White series, And If I Die, should be a novel to watch for.
Lucia Kevin Lucia writes for The Press & Sun
Bulletin and The
Journal. His short fiction has appeared in Coach’s
Midnight Diner, The Relief Journal, All Hallows, Darkened
Horizons Vol. 3 & 4,
NexGen Pulp Magazine Issues 1 & 4, From the Shadows, Morpheus
Bohemian-Alien, Shroud Publishing’s horror anthology, Abominations,
Tyndale House’s inspirational anthology Life Savors. He’s
writing a novella for Shroud Publishing’s upcoming novella series, The
Hiram Grange Chronicles. He resides in Castle Creek, New York, with his
wife Abby, daughter Madison and son Zackary. He teaches high school English at
Catholic Central High School
in Binghamton, New York; and is finishing his Masters of Arts in Creative Writing
at Binghamton University. Visit him at his website and