Sometimes, names of fictional characters cling to your memory. John Coffey. Delores Claiborne. Carrie. Christine. Jude Allman.
In a spectacular debut novel, T.L. Hines gives us such a character. Jude Allman. The eight year old kid slips and drowns while ice fishing with his dad. You see Jude’s breath in air. You can feel the icy water. And you stop breathing with him. When Jude wakes from death, the crisp white sheet and the feeling of a piece of string on your toe are almost comfortable compared to “the cold metal biting the bare skin” of your back.
All of your senses will be coaxed into death and resurrected each time Jude Allman dies. As an adult, he is faced with challenge of knowing what other people can only fathom: what feels like to die and come back to life. Three times. Was this for a reason? Children are disappearing in the town Jude Allman has tried to hide in and it seems he might have a piece of the puzzle, but is he willing to go that far?
Hines has created unforgettable characters, vivid imagry, and a story that will keep you engaged until the very end. Add to that mix a dash of humor and layers of suspense and you’ve got Jude Allman etched into your memory forevermore. And if you pay attention, you’ll find some tchotchkies that are bound to become a T.L. Hines trademark.
As a lover of this genre, I was impressed with the story. The characters Hines created were very real to me, the story was intense, and he “got me.” There was a point at which I thought I knew what was going to happen and I thought I figured everything out, however Hines whipped the story down an unseen path that left me satisfied and wanting to read more both of Waking Lazarus and of anything T.L. Hines publishes in the future.
It is interesting to note that Waking Lazarus was rejected by publishers and agents more than sixty times in the American Booksellers Association and the Christian Booksellers Association. At that time T.L. Hines decided to shift his focus and work on other novels. In April of 2005, Dave Long, Fiction Acquistions Editor at Bethany house downloaded the first chapter of Waking Lazarus that Hines had on his website and was interested enough to want to see more. The rest, as they say, is history.