Our friend Steve Schalchlin recently posted a great review of Imprudent Zeal on amazon.com. He gave it 3.0 out of 5 stars and titled it "An original, rambling look at America."
Steve is a singer/songwriter and lyricist for the musicals "The Last Session" and "The Big Voice: God or Merman."
Here's his review:
From the idealistic would-be priest who gets tossed out of the seminary for "imprudent zeal" to the "wrong side of the tracks" musician and artist from Mississippi to the hooker's daughter in Seattle still looking for her daddy, Imprudent Zeal is filled with wide-ranging characters and the colorful specifics of their lives.
The rambling storyline felt comfortable and kept me smiling and watching expectantly to see where these peoples' lives would finally intertwine.
Alec has a nice feel for place and time. I could feel the suffocating heat in Mississippi and the bone chilling rain of a lonely man at a train station on Long Island New York. I also loved learning more about the art of painting.
If I had any criticism, it's that I wish he'd slow down the pace a bit and really plunge us farther into each individual person's heart. I felt sometimes that the narrative became a little too much of, "They went here. They went there. They went to another place" and occasionally I got the feeling I was still in the introduction, waiting for the story to begin.
Eventually, though, his compassion for these wayward souls comes through and the book slowly and finally drew me in to the point that it surprisingly became a page turner. I was racing to get to the end to find out how it would all turn out.
The central part of the story takes place in New York at a kind of "do it yourself" community center called "Everything For Everybody" run by the exiled would-be priest. Those scenes throb with reality and color, and the mix of characters felt bone real since it's based upon a real place. Worth the price of admission alone.
Alec has constructed a lovely book filled with warm, well-meaning people all trying to find a place in a world that makes little sense to them. I do recommend it.