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Obedience by Michael Potts - Book Tour & Review + Giveaway

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by Michael Potts


It is a lazy summer day in the Appalachian foothills of Tennessee; much
like the day before, and the day before that. Everything seems normal
- at least on the surface; like an idyllic, pastoral painting; the
sky dyed with pastels of blue and white, the ground carpeted with
dark green fescue and bluegrass, a clapboard farmhouse resting on top
of a hill, sugar maples, oaks and Eastern red cedars providing
welcome shade from the heat of a Tennessee summer sun. You can almost
see moving images of little children running barefoot through the
grass; an era before tweeting and texting and the triumph of technology over all.
Alas, appearances lie.

Behind the clapboard farmhouse sits a red barn, all bright and new looking;
fresh enough to lull a casual observer into believing it the benign
keeper of hey for cattle and shelter for goats. A closer look reveals
the color to be not barn red, but blood red.
Locals tend to close their eyes when passing by that barn. Something is just
not right about it. Some say it is unnatural. Some say it's obscene
and evil. But they don't say such things out loud, for the owner of
the barn is Sheldon Sprigg, a well-respected man of the cloth, the
preacher at Hare’s Corner Church of God Incarnate. Sheldon is the
most upright man in these parts. He keeps the law religiously, and
makes sure his wife and teenaged daughter do too. After all, to obey
is better than sacrifice.
Still, there's just something that not right about that barn.

Obedience is a strange horror novel that initially intrigued me based on the synopsis. I was curious to see what, exactly, would happen throughout the story. But the more I read, the more I was disappointed. It wasn't a bad story, per se, but it didn't thrill me as much as I expected it to. It was kind of silly at times, even when it wasn't trying to be. I round myself rolling my eyes at times, and I can't say I really connected at all with any of the characters.

Sheldon is a complete psycho, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise. His wife is pretty weak. She barely stands up to him, and when she tries, it doesn't really do anything. And his teenage daughter is a bit all over the place. She has moments where she's meek and moments where she's rebellious, but she just felt a bit too wishy-washy and inconsistent to me.

The book is a fairly quick read, and I did finish it, but I was mostly frustrated by the overall story/how it played out, and with how the characters reacted.  

I'm still rating Obedience 3 stars because it did intrigue me enough to keep reading, even when I wanted to throw my Kindle at the wall.

Michael Potts grew up near Smyrna, Tennessee and is currently Professor of
Philosophy at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
His undergraduate degree (in Biblical languages) is from David
Lipscomb University. He also holds the Master of Theology from
Harding University Graduate School of Religion, the Master of Arts
(in Religion) from Vanderbilt University, and the Ph.D. in philosophy
from The University of Georgia. Michael has twenty articles in
scholarly journals, nine book chapters, six encyclopedia articles,
six book reviews, and he co-edited the book, "Beyond Brain
Death: The Case Against Brain Based Criteria for Human Death,"
which was published in 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers. He also
has over fifty scholarly presentations, including one presented at
the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at The Vatican in 2005. Michael is
a 2007 graduate of The Writers Loft at Middle Tennessee State
University and a 2007 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop at St.
Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. His poetry has been
published in Journal of the American Medical Association, Iodine
Poetry Journal, Poems & Plays, and other literary journals. His
poetry chapbook, "From Field to Thicket," won the 2006 Mary
Belle Campbell Poetry Book Award of the North Carolina Writers
Network. His creative nonfiction essay, "Haunted," won the
Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Award, also sponsored by the North
Carolina Writers Network. Besides reading and writing, he enjoys
vegetable gardening, canning, and ghost investigations. He and his
wife, Karen, live with their three cats, Frodo, Rosie, and Pippin, in
Linden, North Carolina.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

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  1. We all have our likes and dislikes; I don't expect any book to connect with every reader. I appreciate your honesty. The book indirectly reflects some of my own experiences with rural Southern religion and the legalism found in some Fundamentalist groups. It can be stifling, and it can distort personality. The father is based on someone I knew who was a bit "unbalanced," extremely legalistic, and who eventually committed suicide. In the book, the character's daughter believes most of her father's teachings but does not agree with the legalistic and harsh aspects of his teachings--she wants to obey but also wants to rebel when obedience seems silly. She feels torn between loving her father and being smothered to death by his unloving religion. Thank you again for your honesty.


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.