Edgy Catholic
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New, Special Catholic Edition!
“…A Book That Needs to Be Read.”

This from an honest reviewer on Goodreads.  He goes on, “Read it! You owe it to yourself.”

As writer of this book “that needs to be read,” I found myself searching my soul.  Can I sell a book that needs to be read?  If it needs to be read, should I not do everything I can to make sure that it is read?

So, I’m making this special Catholic Edition FREE!  It needs to be read, and price cannot be an obstacle.

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Rich  Catholic Resonance and Tone

So, what are professional reviewers saying about this book that needs to be read?  Here’s the pull-quote from Kirkus Reviews:

“…this religious thriller ventures to unexpected places.” — Kirkus Reviews

But in these days when the wood is dry, so to speak, should you read the full, secular review from Kirkus Reviews, along with some significant snark in the plot and character descriptions from the reviewer, you would also miss the religious quality of the story.  We expect this kind of thing when secular readers review religious works.

When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller takes the reader on a journey of suffering that comes with the promise of salvation.  Lali Russo, a seventeen-year-old Catholic school girl’s walk parallels the Lord’s Passion as she confronts and impacts a world of evil in this thrilling, unique, novel.

Experience the journey in this new, Catholic Edition, without the raw language of the original, and with study questions pointing to the deeper meaning and application of the cross in the modern world.


An Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the Pro-life Movement?

Only time will tell, but that’s what one fan of When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller had the temerity to suggest.

While any author would be flattered to have his work compared to such an influential classic, there are indeed some similarities.  Uncle Tom, though our modern world often uses his character as an example of cowardly submission to authority, was a saintly character used as a device to communicate the horrors of slavery to a complacent and tolerant population content to look the other way.  The issue of a class of humanity being dehumanized is a parallel, though the dehumanization of the unborn is worse by degree.  Dehumanizing a person to property at least maintains a level of value consistent with the value of property.  As disturbing as that is, the pre-born human is devalued to the point of being garbage to be thrown out with the medical waste, with no value at all.

A more subtle difference, perhaps, is Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s fairly overt appeals to change the state of the laws on slavery.  When the Wood Is Dry, seldom references the state of the law and does not so overtly make an appeal for its change. While the pro-life perspective is obvious, the focus is on the evils of abortion and the damaging effects it has on not only the pre-born child whose life is lost, but also on the women who have abortions and on the minds of men in a society where abortion is freely available and actively encouraged as a solution to an unplanned pregnancy.  The book avoids an overtly political appeal, while pointing to the truth of the dignity of all human life.

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Edgy Catholic?  So, what’s that all about?

Edgy-Catholic is a genre of fiction with a positive, Christian/Catholic viewpoint, that is not intended for the whole family, and may include significant levels of violence, including supernatural violence, or sexual situations.  If we use the movie rating system, we are talking about works with at least a PG-13 rating, but with a Christian/Catholic viewpoint, or at least religious content that is not hostile to the Catholic perspective.  If we think of the stories of many of the saints, and of Christ himself, we soon find material that is beyond the realm of the family-friendly to fully depict.  The events in these stories may be dramatic and shocking, but the elements of the universe, both visible and invisible, are taken on faith to exist and to operate consistent with what Catholics believe.

This quote from Flannery O’Connor sums up the edgy-Catholic perspective:

“The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may well be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock — to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”
For more information, check out edgycatholic.com.   But, get your free book first!

Joseph Cillo Jr.

Author Interview:

Q1. Why do you call When the Wood Is Dry an Edgy Catholic Thriller?

When the Wood Is Dry is based loosely on accounts of Christian virgin martyrs like St. Maria Gorretti and St. Agnes.  The lead character is a committed Catholic who experiences visions that unite her sufferings with the sufferings of Christ.  The themes are very Catholic and the content is decidedly edgy.  By calling it an Edgy Catholic Thriller, we identify clearly that it is a Christian thriller, and what might be considered Catholic adult fiction.

Q2.  Would you consider When the Wood Is Dry as Women’s Fiction?

When the Wood Is Dry is Women’s Fiction in much the same way that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was Women’s Fiction, except that it was written by a man. While the content is thrilling, the focus is on the emotional journey of the characters, centered around an injustice that is accepted by society, and the victimization of someone standing against that injustice–a strong female lead thriller in which the main character is truly feminine and not strong by virtue of traits more typically considered masculine.  The book fits a lot of other categories like, a Christian Crime Drama, a Kidnapping Thriller, a Religious Thriller, etc., and can be enjoyed on that level, but points to much deeper truths.

Q3. In the Catholic Edition of When the Wood Is Dry, you have replaced or removed the profane language of the original.  Are you concerned about a loss of verisimilitude?

By making the language more palatable, the story becomes accessible to more people.  The story is the important thing.  The dialogue rings less true, but that does not interfere with the point of the story.

Much like some people cannot tolerate a lot of spice in their food, some people have no tolerance for spicy language.  As the creator, I might believe I have picked exactly the right word, but if people are offended by that word, I have no problem offering them an alternative.

When I was researching how to write dialogue for police officers for this book, one cop advised that policemen use profane language and it would not be realistic to substitute less offensive words. So, the expurgated version can be expected to be less realistic.  But there are some readers who will enjoy the expurgated version more, even if the dialogue rings less true.

A special edition meets the needs of sensitive readers, while still meeting the needs of those readers who like more realism in the standard edition.

Who should read this book?

Catholic readers will  appreciate the overt references to the Mass, and the perspecitive of the protagonist.  She is a deeply faithful young lady.  Catholics will also appreciate the pro-life perspective when dealing with issues around abortion.  The Catholic edition includes discussion questions to focus attention on areas of concern to Catholics.

However, a religious foundation is not necessary.  Some of the pull quotes in the book description were written by an atheist reviewer who loved the book.  Atheist readers will get a large dose of religion, likely more than they have gotten anywhere else unless they had a strong religious upbringing and left the Church.

Who should NOT Read this book?

This book deals with some harsh realities, confronting issues like abortion in the case of rape.  Sin is not glamorized in this work, but it is present and there are some people who may find the content too disturbing to face so directly.  With this circumstance in mind, we have arranged a work-around for sensitive readers, allowing them to avoid Part II: Crucifixion if they are sensitive, and read the synopsis included in the appendix, instead.

But even reading of the events in Part II in this sanitized way may be difficult for some people, and such people should avoid the story, entirely.

Why should you read this book?

  • It features a fully feminine lead character of uncommon courage and strength
  • It validates the Catholic perspective on life issues and abortion
  • It incorporates faith, prayer, and religious visions into a raw, fallen world where they are desperately needed.
  • The juxtaposition of the religious elements with the rather brutal events grants an uncommon depth and poignancy to the story
  • It will leave you speechless

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Joseph Cillo Jr.

About the Author

Joseph Cillo, Jr. an award-winning author of what he calls Edgy-Catholic fiction.  He fancies himself a fisher of men who has set his course for the deep waters near the edge hoping to entice the denizens of those depths back to the path of truth.

Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.

Luke 5:4

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