River City Reading

Helping readers of literary, contemporary and historical fiction find their next great book.
The Resurrectionist - Matthew Guinn Dr. Jacob Thacker is reassigned to work on his South Carolina medical school's public relations team after he is caught abusing prescription drugs during his residency. Nearing the end of his probation, construction workers discover bones from what appears to be dissected bodies below the school, triggering a potential PR crisis Jacob is unprepared to handle. He soon uncovers the history of Nemo Johnston, a slave purchased by the school for the purpose of "resurrecting" bodies to be used in medical training. As Jacob unravels details of his school's dark past, he must decide if he will put sharing the truth before his own success.

The Resurrectionist is written in sections that alternate between present day and the Civil War Era, weaving Jacob and Nemo Johnston's stories together. While this works in a narrative sense, it also reveals one of the novel's weaknesses: Guinn's voice is much more suited to the Civil War timeline than present day. The writing in Nemo's story feels natural and is filled with passages you would expect from a great piece of Southern Gothic fiction. In comparison, Jacob's chapters feel slightly unsure and almost clunky, particularly in dialogue. I desperately wish I could pick out Nemo's plot and create a separate novel; it would make an incredibly fascinating, well-written story.

Though I knew to expect a modern timeline, I suppose I was hoping for a majority of the novel to take place in the past. For those who go into The Resurrectionist anticipating the alternating narratives, the contrast will likely be less jarring and hopefully the book will be more enjoyable.

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