Title: Confronting Religious Fanaticism: Book One AN EYE FOR AN EYE A NOVEL: A triadic NOVELization exploring the orthodoxic ills in Western Religions.
Author: Steve Shear
Genre: Literary Fiction
Confronting Religious Fanaticism (A triadic NOVELization exploring the orthodoxic ills in Western Religions) utilizes three distinct parts in which first-person accounts describe the journey of Ira Neebest from birth until he returns from the jungles of India after being kidnapped by ISIS and the Iranian Ayatollah for writing a Nobel Prize winning novel about the evils of religious orthodoxy (Ira Neebest and The First Coming). On this journey we learn about Rebecca, Ira’s mother, who is constantly doing battle with guilt driving forces in her own Hasidic background (An Eye for an Eye). And we love Natalie, Ira’s wife, who as a child is abandoned by her parents at a Catholic boarding school. She is raped not once but twice by a priest with a rotting black heart, putrid breath, and wandering hands and is subsequently accused of bludgeoning him to death. As an adult, she is used by the Iranians to capture Ira and winds up in a coma (Break Hearts & Hungry Bears). All of this between the covers of a mere three manuscripts! Confronting Religious Fanaticism is all about the reader seeing firsthand how religious fanaticism can affect individuals and families and it all starts with Book One: An Eye for an Eye, and Rebecca, Ira’s mother. Born into Jewish orthodoxy in Jerusalem, Rebecca escapes a marriage arranged by her Hasidic father and travels to her aunt and uncle in America. Shortly after arriving, she falls in love with Leonard, a gentile, an atheist no less, and the eventual father of their son Ira who is conceived out of wedlock. All the years Ira is growing up, Rebecca is caught between the man she loves and the religious roots of her family’s fanaticism led by Jerusalem’s head orthodox rabbi, Rebbe Schoenfeld, the family’s rabbi who claims to have the ear of God and who is the mastermind manipulator behind Rebecca’s guilt in this explosive triangle overrun with secrets, suspense, and retribution.
“I was the one who set into motion a runaway locomotive that I should have known would derail and crash into a chasm of unrelenting guilt. But never in my wildest nightmares did I contemplate the breadth of that chasm or its impenetrable depth." ~ Aunt Esther
Rebecca grew up in a very Hasidic family in Jerusalem where her father ruled with an iron fist. Rabbi Schoenfeld arranges for Rebecca and his son to be married but when Rebecca refuses and flees to America with her aunt and uncle, the rabbi vows revenge. Rebecca loves St. Louis and spreads her wings, meeting and falling in love with Leonard, an atheist. They have a child out of wedlock and Rebecca is torn between her love for Leonard and Ira and her devotion to her Jewish roots. Her past stalks her every move and the man who claims to be the voice of God condemns Rebecca’s actions and faith until she must take drastic measures. Guilt, religion, fear, revenge culminates in an emotional ending.
An Eye for an Eye is like nothing you’ve read before. Steve Shear takes on Jewish orthodoxy and holds nothing back. The characters are so well-drawn, so realistic, I had to keep telling myself it was only a story. Or is it? Religious hypocrisy is alive and well, no matter which religion you’re speaking of. Steve Shear’s emotional narration connected me with Rebecca from the start. The conflicts are immense, and the consequences of the characters’ actions are so intense, my body shook. The plot moves at a solid pace, with plenty of characters and events to balance the conflicts. This is such a wonderful book with a clear message, and I recommend it to anyone. Fans of The Da Vinci Code will love this book! Highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 stars
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The Trials of Adrian Wheeler was my first published novel (L&L Dreamspell, 2011). It was awarded runner-up in the San Francisco Book Festival 2015. I am happy to say that The Trials of Adrian Wheeler has been optioned as a movie by EVW Entertainment (producer of the movie Break the Stage), and the screenplay has been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie.
The Wild Rose Press published The Fountain of Youth, my second published novel, in May of 2017. It has received exceptional reviews, some of which appear on Amazon and Goodreads. Also, the stage play has just been completed. The screenplay has also been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie. The Click, my third novel, was published by The Wild Rose Press in September of last year. Again, the screenplay has been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie.
Book One of my trilogy, Confronting Religious Fanaticism – An Eye for an Eye, has just been published. Books Two and three, Black Hearts & Hungry Bears and Ira Neebest and The First Coming, will be coming out soon.
My wife, Susan, and I collaborated on The State vs. Max Cooper and The Steele Deal (published by ArtAge Publications), courtroom plays in which the audience serves as the jury. Both are being produced around the country.
I have been writing poetry for over fifteen years (some of which has been published) and am also a portrait and figure artist and sculptor, having been represented by a number of galleries in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. I am presently represented by the Delta Gallery in Brentwood, California and online by Vango Art. My work can be seen at my website, www.steveshear.net.
I practiced patent, trademark, copyright and other forms of intellectual property law for over 40 years, and I was the executive director and founder of Silicon Valley Seminars. We conducted Intellectual Property workshops throughout this country, Israel, German, and Canada since 1984.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N