Official Review: Banishing the Darkness

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fiction books or series that do not fit into one of the other categories. If the fiction book fits into one the other categories, please use that category instead.
Forum rules
While in the forum's younger and less active days this used to be the one and only forum for "reviews and discussions about specific books", this is now just the subforum "other fiction" in a more well-organized "reviews and discussions about specific books" section with subforums for each genre. Check it out! :) Remember, the forums in the reviews section (including this forum) are for posting about a single book or series in topic, and the topic title should include the book's title. If you are creating a new topic, please try to post it in one of the other genres rather than posting it here in the "other fiction" section. This is only for books that do not fit in any of the other genre categories we have listed.
Post Reply
User avatar
Shelle
Posts: 295
Joined: 26 Jan 2016, 14:52
2017 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Currently Reading: For the Love
Bookshelf Size: 54
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-shelle.html
Latest Review: "Astounding Memories in Developing Countries" by Waddah Chehadeh
Reading Device: B00I15SB16

Official Review: Banishing the Darkness

Post by Shelle » 03 Mar 2017, 18:05

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Banishing the Darkness" by Jeff R. Spalsbury.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


What happens to soldiers who have no more battles to fight? What happens to heroes who feel hopeless? What dreams to men dream when all they can remember are the nightmares? Banishing the Darkness by Jeff Spalsbury tells the story of three men trying to answer those questions and make a new life for themselves and find hope as they struggle to heal from the horrors of war. I rated this book 4 out of 4 stars.

The book opens with Harry “Sti” Stiletto having a really bad day. His wife divorced him, he got fired from his job, his car got stolen, and someone kidnapped his dog. The former Afghanistan war hero is left with nothing but heartache and memories. Leaving the old life behind, Sti doesn’t wallow in misery long and sets his mind to making a new life for himself. Remembering the hopeful promise he made to his men as they were caught in the middle of a deadly firefight, he sets off on a quest to reconnect with his team and help them find the dreams they’d once had.

Sti is able to find two of his lost men; Coby, a wise-cracking oil painter and Luis, an alcoholic sculptor. The three men transform an old building in a small town into a rehabilitation and arts center where they slowly do the hard work of healing. Sti, Coby, and Luis fight the uphill battle of getting their center up and running while fighting their own inner demons as well. Sti tries his hand at novel writing and plays the saxophone to relieve stress while Coby and Luis pour themselves into their art in order to feel human again.

Banishing the Darkness doesn’t just focus on the soldiers but introduces us to several other great characters as well. These include a spry octogenarian with a killer cookie recipe, a diner cook who eats up tough mountain biking trails, a lawyer who gives the vocation a bad name, a rough-and-tumble IT specialist, and a no-nonsense bank president with hypnotic eyes. The healing soldiers learn to depend on their new friends in this new life just as much as they depended on each other during war. This book is very character-driven and I found myself rooting for the men and supporting cast throughout the story.

I liked that Banishing the Darkness doesn’t skim over the horrors of war. Battle scenes are described in detail and the realities of coming back home very changed are talked about. The men are clearly very affected by what they experienced and they carry around a tangible weight of pain. Author Jeff Spalsbury obviously did a lot of research about PTSD in soldiers. There were bits of dialogue that seemed forced and awkward and a few clunky sentences that could have been smoothed out, but all those criticisms don’t seem to matter when I think about how much I enjoyed this book. The story moved along nicely and I fell in love with so many of the characters. At one point the author makes an allusion to a sequel and I certainly hope that’s true.

I would recommend Banishing the Darkness to anyone who likes war stories, well-written characters, or stories of inspiration and hope. The graphic descriptions of war, liberal use of swear words, and a scene in a brothel would prevent me from recommending this book to younger readers, but readers not bothered by those issues would likely enjoy it as much as I did.

******
Banishing the Darkness
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Shelle's review? Post a comment saying so!
A book is a gift you can open again and again.
-Garrison Keillor

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 3526
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 6
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: End of the Last Great Kingdom
Bookshelf Size: 136
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: "The Grace Emancipation" by Charlotte Hawkins

Post by kandscreeley » 04 Mar 2017, 15:57

This is a subject that needs to be discussed more. Most of us can't even imagine the horrors of war. Sounds like a good book. Thanks for the review.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

User avatar
kimmyschemy06
Posts: 2024
Joined: 20 Oct 2015, 20:49
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 12
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Currently Reading: God is Alive and Well
Bookshelf Size: 415
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kimmyschemy06.html
Latest Review: "Superhighway" by Alex Fayman

Post by kimmyschemy06 » 05 Mar 2017, 09:27

Sounds like a great book with very interesting characters. It seems inspiring and hopeful. Good job on the review. Congratulations to Jeff R. Spalsbury on such an obviously well written book.

User avatar
greenstripedgiraffe
Posts: 641
Joined: 22 Oct 2015, 10:47
Currently Reading: Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships
Bookshelf Size: 243
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-greenstripedgiraffe.html
Latest Review: "The Hunt for Winter" by KC Cowan & Sara Cole

Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 06 Mar 2017, 08:45

Thanks for the review! So many people are struggling with painful issues, and yet the majority of the world goes through life with a myopic view, worrying only about themselves and what the celebrities are up to. Kudos to the author for taking on a topic like this and attempting to spread hope.
"no one down here" --- Up the Down Staircase

Post Reply

Return to “Other Fiction Forum”