Book Review: They Came with the Rain by Christopher Coleman
After the procession of typhoons and tropical storms that have blessed the Korean peninsula with cooling rain last week, I worked in a few days to get caught up on some reading. I'm finally able to walk outside to a gentle breeze instead of oppressive heat that feels like a heavy film on your skin. Fall is genuinely my favorite time of year, though I abhor anything pumpkin spice. Can anyone else relate?
The novel I explored this week is from an author a bit more well known than many of the other writers I usually try to focus on. I was definitely late to the game on this one. However, after seeing it mentioned by another reviewer on Instagram, I decided to give it a whirl.
I'm very glad that I did.
They Came with the Rain by Christopher Coleman launched in June of this year, and is available on Kindle Unlimited, as an ebook for $3.99, and as a paperback for $14.99. The paperback cost seems a bit steep in comparison to other books in the genre and, had I been browsing Amazon in search of the newest addition to my library, I might have looked it over for this reason. But after reading the novel, I would not only highly recommend this novel even at the paperback price, but would also go out on a limb and recommend the rest of his series works.
The novel grabs the readers attention right away, a love-struck couple winding along a precarious precipice of road hugging a deep, rocky ravine, the only road out of Garmella, Arizona. They narrowly escape plummeting to their deaths in a massive sink hole that has swallowed the entirety of the road from the rocky wall of the mountain to the guard rail. If only that was the only thing they had to be afraid of....
With the rain comes intangible creatures whose very forms bleed into the air around them, making them indiscernible and undefined. When Derrick hears Amber screaming from the direction she had made her escape, I genuinely thought that Derrick would become the novel's protagonist.
When a young nine-year-old Josh awakens to the dark rain and follows one of the creatures onto the neighboring Tanner farm, I thought how unique to have such a young protagonist.
When Jerry Kellerman, the night security guard at the Grieg Telescope compound, sees one of the creatures outside of the maintenance shack and goes to investigate, even leaving company protocol aside and reaching into his truck for the shotgun he kept in the bed's gun cabinet, I thought that we had finally met the character we could get invested in.
It wasn't until Riley Tackard arrived at the compound to relieve Kellerman and found him missing from his post that we are introduced to the town's sheriff, Ramon Thomas. The fact that it took the author four chapters to introduce a substantial character to us upon which we could establish a foundation for our read is definitely a downside of the novel. While the kill sequences were tense, suspense building, and entertaining, it was a bit of a let down to have each progressive page and chapter just one more insignificant character loss.
However, I do find Coleman's character building quite strong. You have the small town sheriff who had big dreams of crime fighting in the big cities, yet never quite made it out. You have the well-to-do reclusive older gentleman in his castle on the hill on the outskirts of the town. You have the less financially stable couple with a step-father recently released from prison. And you have the local meth dealers. No novel would be complete without those.
The creatures themselves were also unique. An amorphous creature that gives an entirely new definition to your "life flashing before your eyes", demanding that you divulge the most evil act of your lifetime? What a fantastic spin of "hell on Earth"!
I did read a couple of reviews once I had finished my own journey through the novel. A couple of comments actually rated the novel pretty poorly because there was no real police investigation. I'm not sure that this notion is entirely realistic. I haven't seen many post-apocalyptic-esque novels really have the time to truly investigate anything about the occurrences. They always seem far too focused on survival...which wouldn't we all be? The people of Garmella are cut off from the outside world by a massive sinkhole in the middle of the road, all phone lines are dead, and unexplainable creatures are leaving a mass of bodies and/or disappearances in their wake, and the sheriff should be worried about an actual investigation? I think Coleman, and his characters, valued the preservation of human life a bit more than that.
The only things I would possibly change about the novel are adding more descriptions about the deaths and where the creatures were putting the bodies of the people that had not been found. Yes, there are assumptions to be made, yet nothing is ever fully explained. Perhaps that is part of the charm! Would it have gone a long way towards adding value to the story? Probably not. It's just a personal preference. The book itself definitely left the reader satisfied as is.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this novel if you haven't already entertained it. Have any of you read any of his other works? Please feel free to leave your suggestions below!
If you would like to follow more of Coleman's works, you can find his Amazon author page here.