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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Doboro The Bottlenecker by Kevin M Kraft

Doboro the Bottlenecker by Kevin M. Kraft

Dave Granger took the wrong job with a bad man.

That mistake cost him the life of his wife and daughter and nearly his own. Rendered crippled and blinded from an assassination attempt, he was spirited away to distant South Korea for his own sake, where he underwent seven years of extraordinary physical and personal rehabilitation under both the harsh tutelage of a martial arts master and the God of his youth. Pushed beyond what he thought were his own limits, he discovered a new strength of human spirit with his new lease on life.

Now…seven years later, he is back in the states as a transitory street musician—a brand new man with a brand new name. And with his new lease on life, a new mission: to anonymously protect his daughter, whom he had assumed dead, from the malevolent forces that soon resurface with his appearance to finish the job they attempted seven years ago. His vigilance is undeniable. His skills are remarkable. But he’s only human. And his love for his little girl could very well be the thing that finally dooms them both, unless he can summon strength beyond himself, to finally confront the threat against them.

And that is only the beginning.

The Guru's Review:

I have reviewed two previous novels of Kevin Kraft on his request for an honest review to which I did and now am doing again. I must confess, this novel is very different from his previous, but all this shows is how versatile and diverse Kraft's imagination and ability are. 

I will be honest, I did not think I would enjoy this novel purely from looking at the cover and the description. Not saying that there is something wrong with the cover just that it did not look like a novel in the genres that I love to read and the same for the description. But that is just me as I am fussy on the genres I read. However, having read this novel, all fits into place and this is one very deceptive piece of writing. Now I love the cover, it is very unique and I love the author's account on Facebook on how it developed. It really does capture the essence of who Doboro is, it gives him a brand, an image, that is him and what he stands for. There is beauty and gentleness surrounding this novel that I found very appealing. I would not say it is fast paced, or having multiple layers, but Kraft's construction of this novel keeps the pace that suits the plot in both halves, yes, two distinct halves, that detail his previous life and how this created his new life, that is very different from the first.  

Amidst this beauty and gentleness, Kraft has included a plot line of corruption and mafia-like crime that causes David to have an assassination attempt of his life and leads him to believe that it has taken the lives of his wife and daughter. It is based on this that forms the first half of the novel. It is from this point that Kraft deals with David's rehab in a safe haven that forms the flavour for this first half of the plot. It has a dichotomy of flavours; patience, understanding, care, nurturing, affection, love from Sujin, but harshness, impatience, provocation, demandingness, strictness, discipline, routine, rudeness even racism from her father, Daek, in order to train him in martial arts and use his disability (blindness from the assassination attempt) as an advantage if he was to be targeted again by Takuma (Japanese crime boss) and his henchmen. During the years that David is in the Baek family, he also learns to deal with the death of his family and adjust to being blind and I felt that Kraft had depicted his grieving pretty well and I felt for him despite not knowing what it would be like to lose your wife and child for any reason, let alone it be by murder.

I loved the romance that developed between David and Sujin. I have said this in other reviews that it seems male authors can be just as good as their female counterparts (maybe even better in some novels!) at creating romance. Kraft has joined the club here! On the other hand, I disliked the attitude and behaviour of Daek towards David in training him for his future. I know that this is what it can be like in training in martial arts, but it was a tough read. 

As I stated, the second half of the novel is very different from this first and we not only have a different geographical location, but a very different David Granger. Now returned to America, he has a new name, is a very talented street musician, it is hard to recognise him as the same David Granger from his previous life as husband, father and prime witness in the court case against Takuma. At first I felt that I was dealing with two different people but once you get to know this new man called Doboro, you realise that Kraft has maintained the same person in this new persona. The more you read, the more you become endeared to Doboro and I felt that I liked this version of David Granger more than the original from the first half. In that half, I felt sympathy for what had befallen him and admired his tenacity and strength of character to endure his rehab and accept the loss of his family. In this second half, I despaired for him having to start again in a whole new world with his blindness, martial arts training and new environment, but I grew proud of him as he established himself with confidence from using his martial arts training and enhanced senses from this training and consequence of his blindness to do this and also his musical training during his rehab.

However, I knew from the description that he discovered that his daughter was, in fact, alive and he needed to protect her from Takuma's henchmen. I had mixed feelings about this as I wanted so much for Doboro to admit that he was her father from the time he met her but, on the other hand, I found it very hard to read him keeping this for her in order to protect her.

The author admits that this novel is not an overtly Christian one and I would agree. However, Kraft has included themes of why bad things happen to good people, being angry at God for what happened (to David), God's healing, and generally how adverse events can challenge, yet enable a relationship with God grow. By the end of the novel, both Drew and Doboro have developed a better relationship with God and understand Him better. I do get the impression that more of these themes will be explored or existing ones developed more. I am looking forward to this.

Kraft successfully creates the world of teenagers in Drew and Mercy. They compliment each other. Mercy is the ever cautious one, albeit judgmental as evidenced by her attitude to Doboro being "a bum", she is the one who does not take risks, but Drew does, she is more impetuous and spontaneous. I like the way that you know you are dealing with teenagers, not because the author states so, but how he has depicted them in language, culture, speech and behaviour. 

I guess any reader of this novel would be expecting the inevitable attack from Takuma's henchmen in this second half and Kraft keeps us waiting to the end forming a cliff hanger type ending, but I learnt from his Facebook page that a sequel very soon will be released. This conflict ties us some loose plot lines but also sets the stage for more. I am looking forward to this. 

Another fine Christian novel from the creativity of Kevin M. Kraft. 

Highly Recommended. 5/5

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