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The Acolyte by Craig Davidson
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The Acolyte (2015)

by Craig Davidson

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**I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

"1984" meets "Fahrenheit 451", meets the Spanish Inquisition and crime noir.

Brilliant, brutal, mildly horrifying; at times savagely funny…I think I have another favourite author in Nick Cutter.

In a country ruled by fundamentalist Christians, Jonah Murtagh is an Acolyte, an officer of the Faith Crimes Unit in the City of New Bethlehem - a unit which enforces religious conformance and operates outside the law. Jonah’s involvement in an investigation into a series of terrorist bombings, expose him to the machinations of the extremist theocracy.

I could not put this book down. At times I was horrified and at others I laughed out loud at the biting satire of Cutter’s writing. The scariest thing is that I can see how you could extrapolate our current world into this dystopian vision.

The characterisations are wonderful and the story is fast paced. Cutter’s writing and use of imagery immerses you in this harsh world and two of the scenes made me grimace in their savagery; it takes a lot to make me do that. I loved every minute of it.

This has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long while.

Five out Five Stars. Brutally Awesome.

Release Date: May 5th, 2015
( )
  tracymjoyce | Nov 16, 2017 |
3.5 stars

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I've been planning to read The Troop for some time but when I got my hands on an ARC for The Acolyte, I thought I might as well start with that one instead. And if I could only say one thing about it, it would be that it's certainly not something you read everyday.

Jonah is an Acolyte, member of a special religion police force that puts the Dystopian into this Dystopian society. As he fails to protect a very important person at a bombing Muslim terrorists are the first suspects. But the evidence might point in a completely different way, and besides Jonah has bigger problems. He's lost his faith.

One thing that's certainly creepy about this kind of dystopian stories is that it doesn't feel like something that could never really happen in one way or another. (As opposed to let's say a zombie apocalypse). The Acolyte started really good and I thought it was going to be a very good read, perhaps even more than 4 stars, but the second half was very weird. Don't get me wrong, I like weird as much (perhaps a bit more) as the next person when it comes to books and movies but not everything made sense to me, even after I considered that there were religion fanatics and terrorists in play. I never understood exactly why the Quints needed to be added to the story.

Near the end there's a gruesome scene that makes me conclude this review with a warning that it's not for people with a weak stomach.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
A dystopian future in which Judeo-Christianity is the One True Faith and all other non-confirming faiths are illegal. Anyone caught breaking that law is subject to anything from The Cure (a lobotomy) to execution.

The Acolyte was an extremely dark reading experience. Multiple times I had to skip over scenes that were just too graphic. And it definitely had too much animal violence, which Cutter's novels seem prone to. I think, maybe, if he'd toned down the violence a smidgen the story (or message?) would've had more of an opportunity to shine. Behind all the bloody shock and awe was a scary vision indeed.

3 stars ( )
  flying_monkeys | Aug 29, 2015 |
The Acolyte is pure film noir, a mystery set in a dystopian Christian theocracy where any deviation from the Bible is illegal, to the point where using common police forensic techniques is heretical because such methods also prove the existence of dinosaurs and the like. You know; the sort of repressive, right-wing society that Ted Cruz has wet dreams about. Detective (or “Acolyte”) Jonah Murtag is beginning to find his job of eradicating all heretical religious faiths, their practitioners, and artefacts, is taking its toil on his psyche. As he investigates a string of bombings that threaten the underpinnings of this repressive world, he is also faced with the eroding of his own faith.

Read more at the Redeblog. ( )
  ShelfMonkey | Jul 10, 2015 |
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"Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." - L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology

"Tired of lukewarm Christianity?" - Evangelical Tract Distributors
Dedication
First words
I dreamed of a time as a child when I saw a Muslim lit on fire.
Quotations
Yes, gall, to think that some part of us, some essence, must live on, after we die. We are unique in this view that something within each of us is so valuable it must exist forever in some form, on some plane--heaven, hell. Insects, animals: their existence is finite. Ours, infinite. Why should we be so special?
The question becomes: How to make an entire species self-destruct? What is the most effective system of annihilation? Religion. It's a tool, and any tool has a right and a wrong use. And this particular tool has already been mishandled and manipulated by a thousand different masters. Fear, obedience, sacrifice, fanatic loyalty: these are the fruits religion cultivates in a nurturing hand. And the greatest part is that the nurturer doesn't need to promise anything tangible: the reward is only delivered in death. It all rests on the bones of belief. And those bones are unbreakable.
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Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte on the New Bethlehem police force. His job: eradicate all heretical religious faiths, their practitioners, and artifacts. Murtag's got problems--one of his partners is a zealot, and he's in love with the other one. Trouble at work, trouble at home. Murtag realizes that you can rob a citizenry of almost anything, but you can't take away its faith. When a string of bombings paralyzes the city, religious fanatics are initially suspected, but startling clues point to a far more ominous perpetrator. If Murtag doesn't get things sorted out, the Divine Council will dispatch The Quints, aka: Heaven's Own Bagmen. The clock is ticking towards doomsday for the Chosen of New Bethlehem. And Jonah Murtag's got another problem. The biggest and most worrisome... Jonah isn't a believer anymore.… (more)

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