Book Review: Coldwater

22 Jan

Having forfeited his youth to the state prison system, Michael moved back to the only home he’d ever known. An empty shell of a man who now lived — if it could be called living–in the still vacant house of his parents in a town with one stoplight. A town that hated him. Had always hated him. And was ready to pick up where the prison system had let off.

Now he’s on the run from men who’ve tried to kill him once; but Michael is more than an ex-con. A powerful, sinister force creeps inside him, threatening and destructive. Who — and what — it will destroy next is the only real question. From the bold voice that brought readers down Purgatory Road comes a new pulse-pounding, spine-rattling tale of vengeance and justice that will have them up all night.


Samuel Parker was born in the Michigan boondocks but was raised on a never-ending road trip through the U.S. Besides writing, he is a process junkie and the ex-guitarist for several metal bands you’ve never heard of. He lives in West Michigan with his wife and twin sons.


My Impressions:

Coldwater by Samuel Parker is an intense, gritty, emotionally-charged read. It definitely ain’t your grandmother’s Christian fiction. More on the lines of Peretti, Dekker, or Dellosso, this novel will stretch your view of sin, justice, and the spiritual implications of both. It is an excellent novel, but it will not be for everyone.

Michael Sullian committed a horrible crime while just a child. The justice system didn’t really know what to do with him, so he was sentenced to a super-max jail. Now 20 years later he has been released, but not everyone believes that justice has been served.

Coldwater can be described as a supernatural thriller. There are lots of incidents that cannot be explained away by coincidence or natural phenomenon. The short chapters and Parker’s writing style create a fast-paced narrative. The main character is very complex — he wrestles with guilt of his past crime and a fragile hope of a someday redemption. The other characters in the novel vary in their complexity — some being just what you see, while others are on a journey as fraught with danger as Michael. While the novel is action-packed, Michael’s story unfolds slowly. Bits and pieces are revealed in such a way that kept this reader turning the pages to find out just what was going on. There are a number of spiritual themes in the book — justice vs. revenge, redemption vs. condemnation being just a few. There is a lot of demonic activity, yet God is never mentioned. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand the novel is a strong statement on how human choice is the opening for sin. On the other, the release Michael receives hinges on forgiveness, but forgiveness by whom is the question. There are a lot of things left unsaid in Coldwater, leaving me feeling like there should have been more. But that may have been the aim of the author all along. This book certainly left me thinking of things I haven’t thought before.

There are certain elements of Michael’s life following his crime that reminded me of Cain’s judgment by God. I don’t want to go into specifics due to spoilers, but if you read Coldwater, make sure to go back and read Genesis chapter 4 as well. On the subject of sin, there is one quote that resonated with me — We gloss over our own sins, softening their edges, while assuming the sins of other are forever razor sharp and at the ready to slash our throats. Coldwater will have you looking at sin in a new way, especially the consequences.

So should you read Coldwater? If you are not a fan of darkly intense suspense novels with supernatural elements, I would say you need to give this one a pass. I found Coldwater to be chilling, disturbing and riveting. It gets a recommended rating from me.


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

2 Responses to “Book Review: Coldwater”

  1. bellesmoma16 January 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm #

    Excellent review. Sounds like a book my husband would enjoy.

    • rbclibrary January 22, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks! If he likes Peretti or Dekker, he will probably like Coldwater.

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