3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Checkpoint is a paranormal/science fiction story by Daniel Scuderi. The author describes the book as “a modern-day interpretation of the Book of Genesis.” The story’s protagonist is Christopher Brennan, a high school senior. As the story begins, the plane that Chris was a passenger on has crashed. The mortally wounded young man finds himself looking at his body. The spirit of his girlfriend, Camilla, who preceded him in death, calls to him. As he rises away from the Earth and his body, he recalls the events leading up to this moment. He, Camilla, his brother Alex, and his brother’s girlfriend Luna were attending prom when a group of militant Christian soldiers burst into the gym and brutally attacked the students.
The story has an esoteric and at times almost poetic narrative. Although there are references to the Book of Genesis, I did not interpret the story as being a fire-and-brimstone admonishment to embrace Christianity or suffer the consequences. In fact, I felt that the story was critical of that approach. The dialogue and events indicated that being cruel but embracing a certain set of beliefs is no different than being cruel for the sake of assuming power over others or cruelty for the sake of sadistic gratification.
I give Checkpoint three out of four stars. I believe that the book was professionally edited. I found only a few errors in the text. I was extremely impressed with the unique ideas presented by the author, and I resonated with the sardonic tone of the narrator. Although the music being played was different, the song remains the same when it comes to the cast of characters. My younger self was a devout Catholic who was starting to question my faith, less because I doubted the existence of God than because of the judgmental and unkind nature of the “True Believers” I was surrounded by. I despised the snobby and shallow upper-middle-class trust fund brats that I attended school with as well. My younger self would have gotten along well with Chris.
As much as I liked the story, I knocked a star off for the depiction of George, a large security guard who was described thusly:
“Wobbling like a penguin on a water bed, he made his way to the side doors, carrying an overabundance of food and bags, like he was entering a movie theater with an extra-jumbo popcorn, leaving a butter trail behind him.”
The author managed to describe Carol the bus driver, who was a large woman, in a positive fashion. I wish that he hadn’t felt the need, when describing George, to resort to the unfortunate gluttonous, inept fatty trope that all too many authors feel is a necessary inclusion in their stories.
Although Checkpoint is a well-written and unique story, it is not a good choice for everyone. The book contains a great deal of graphic violence that may be unsettling to some readers. I recommend the story to readers who are seeking a literary experience that is well off the beaten path and isn’t afraid to examine the unpleasant truth that people often do terrible things to one another in the name of God and righteousness.
View: on Bookshelves