I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Listen to the Lambs by Daniel Black
In Listen to the Lambs by Daniel Black, nothing can convince Lazarus Love III to return to the lifestyle of affluence and social status he once knew. Longing for a freedom of the soul that the world of capitalism cannot provide, Lazarus leaves all that he knows--including his wife and children--to achieve the ultimate level of peace and silence living as a homeless man. When his quest causes him to cross paths with four other wanderers, all of whom later call themselves "the family," a shocking, brutal act leaves Lazarus in a dire position and his newfound family must struggle to save him. By doing so, both families--past and present--are redeemed and consequently learn the beauty of sacrificial love.
First, let me start off by saying I have read only one other book (besides this one) by Mr. Black, and that was Twelve Gates to the City, which at the time I didn’t realize was the 2nd novel to They Tell Me of a Home. Regardless of me reading the book out of sequence though I found the writing and the overall storytelling of that novel to be phenomenal.
When Listen to the Lambs became available for me to review I was eager to read it because I knew this man knows how to tell a story. I am telling you this upfront because I want you, the potential reader, to know that I have read and loved his writing, but just not with this particular book.
Now when you read the synopsis, you learn that Lazarus Love III is a man who chose to walk away from his lifestyle and family to become homeless. “In his mind, he chose homelessness because he hated the life he made. Years of corporate America left him believing his life had been a waste.” Deep in his heart he did not feel as if he were leaving his children but teaching them a valuable lesson, to not succumb to ‘emptiness and counterfeit joy.’
In his quest to find an ‘ultimate level of peace’ he meets four other people: Cinderella, Legion, The Comforter, and Elisha. Cinderella is the white woman, who is in love with Lazarus, yet she’s not sure if he feels the same about her. Legion will tell you that he is not a man but nor is he a woman. He is just simply Legion, who sells himself for things and services he may need. He is always giving and looks out for the others. The Comforter is an older woman, who just knows things of this world and can see beyond what is in front of you. And Elisha is the quietest of them all, and he wants more than anything to be reunited with his mother.
These four individuals come from different walks of life, and they have managed to find one another and grow into a family. They love each other beyond measure and will do just about anything for one another. So when Lazarus is accused of a crime he did not commit, he is thrown in jail, and ‘the family’ will do everything within their power to see him free.
Now what the synopsis does not say, is that the book is weighed heavily on biblical passages from the Bible. So unless you know the teachings of the bible you are sure to miss a lot of the underlying messages of this story. I understand what Mr. Black was trying to do, but the overall execution failed. The issue I have with this is that nowhere within the synopsis did it hint that the book would be about God and Christianity.
Also, when the character Legion was first introduced to the reader, I thought that I must be reading an unedited version of the ARC because Legion is constantly referred to throughout the book as ‘E’, ‘e’ and ‘es’. I got so frustrated with this that I just waited until I was able to get a hardback copy of the book to compare it. Sure enough, either the book was poorly edited, or I suspect this was done on purpose, but again for whatever the reason for this constant reference was a failure on Mr. Black’s part. What it did was totally frustrate the reader because at times I wasn’t sure if the ‘es’ was supposed to be substituted for ‘his’ and the lower case ‘e’ not sure if it was intended to be ‘he’ or possibly a capital ‘E’.
There were many inconsistencies throughout the book that I would read about one thing and further in the story it’s like he forgot what he stated previously and said something entirely different. I had to go back and reread passages just to make sure I didn’t miss something.
The book was full of repetitiveness. I read over and over and over again the same thing especially when it concerned Lazarus’ reason for becoming homeless when he thought of his reasons for doing so when he told his grown children, and so on, which was unnecessary to the story.
There were pointless moments in the book that made just for mindless filler pages, for example: one of the characters was walking down the street, and he would look at each house on the street and remember what people lived there, although he didn’t know them. He remembered what the man of the house did, or the woman if the person had any kids, and then on to the next house and remember who lived there. Then when he gets to his destination he looks in the mailbox of the person he came to see because he didn’t know the first name and then says to himself (standing in front of the house mind you) that he needs to find her. Um, hello knock on the door and see if she is home.
The reasoning behind some of the things the characters did just did not make for good storytelling. Lazarus says in the book that he adored his children, and he would never leave them, yet, he felt he was doing the right thing and by leaving he would ‘teach’ his children not to be caught up in the physical things in life. When in fact he did leave his kids and in doing so didn’t teach them anything. The idea that someone would leave his family behind to have the ‘ultimate level of peace’ and wind up having a family on the streets doesn’t make any sense.
Let’s not forget that Mr. Black then threw in the ‘crime the character didn’t commit’ and thus, that’s a story within itself that in my opinion was a joke. Without giving spoilers, it was flimsy, and that would not have held up in any court of law. The one thing that I found humorless is the fact that a man who is accused of something, sees that he is suspected of a crime in a newspaper, and ‘only’ his name is given as the ‘suspect’, yet when he walks to the police station, one cop sees him, and they know exactly who he is and thus automatically treat him as if he is guilty of the crime he had been accused of.
It seems as if Mr. Black forgot to mention by the end of the story at least one secret that Legion kept stalling on and thus never revealed to the reader.
There was no clear timeline or a backdrop of the year stated within the story. The reader just turns the page at one point and realizes that it has been 20 years. There was too much going on within this story and a lot of pointless information given that had no relevance to the storyline. I could go on and on about the things I did not like and
I could give you plenty of examples of the inconsistencies, repetitiveness and things that just made no logical sense but if I did that I would have to include spoilers which I am not going to do. I was highly disappointed in reading this book, I really wanted to enjoy this book, and I was even leaning towards a 2 star until I came to the last 40 pages or so and it just got even more ridiculous.
This really could have been a great story but in my opinion, Mr. Black failed in the execution of whatever it was he was trying to do because this was just a bad read.
Reviewed by: Leona