I just finished reading Touch, a book by Elmore Leonard. I’d read Mr Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing (which I discussed in an earlier post you can find here), but hadn’t had the opportunity to sample his actual writing. Now, I’m glad I did.
Touch is set in 1977. Juvenal, a young, ex-Franciscan Missionary, heals a woman’s blindness in an apartment after she is beaten up by her abusive husband. Bill Hill, former minister and salesman, witnesses the aftermath and believes he’s onto his next big score. Lynn Faulkner, an ex-cheerleader who used to work with Bill is called in to find out if Juvenal is for real, and so pretends to be an alcoholic to get into the alcohol rehab centre he works at. Juvenal reveals he suffers the stigmata, blood weeping from the five wounds Christ received at crucifixion (hands, feet and side).
So, is Juvenal the real deal? Does he heal people? Is his stigmata real?
I’m not going to answer any of those questions, because you really should read this book. Not only is it well written (I sort of expected that, given I’d raved about his Ten Rules of Writing earlier), it pokes fun at religious extremists, schlock media shows and con-men.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s a mystery, a love story and an expose, all in one.
But you should read it and make up your own mind.