My take on S.P. Bailey’s Millstone City

William shares his full blurb for S.P. Bailey’s debut novel Milllstone City and discusses the novel’s dialogue with Mormon faithful realism.

AMVer S.P. Bailey’s Millstone City has already been reviewed here by Th. Jepson. The novel . The Kindle version is only $2.99 (other ebook formats to come) and the trade paperback is $15.95.

I provided a blurb for it. Partly because Shawn and I have been alpha/beta readers of each other’s work for several years now, but mostly because I really like what he did with Millstone City and how it fits into the field of Mormon literature.

Here is my full blurb for the novel:

In Millstone City, the LDS mission novel and the thriller collide to create something new: an intense, gritty story that is nevertheless shot through with resilience, honesty, optimism and, yes, that certain willful naïveté that missionaries possess. Call it Mormon neo-noir. Or full-throttle faithful realism. Whatever you dub this hybrid, clearly, S.P. Bailey is well versed in both of the literary streams he’s working with, and I’m very pleased to see him cross them to such good effect.

And here is another thought:

Part of why I think this counts as missionary fiction rather than just being a thriller is that it all starts with a minor infraction of mission rules. In other LDS mission novels, such a minor infraction may be played as comedy, or lead to some tension between characters, or simply try to capture the up-and-downs of a mission. Here it has major repercussions.

In addition, the resources the Elders call upon to help them with their situation — members, relatives of members, the mission president — are true to life. Also true to life is the fact that their efforts aren’t always 100% effective. This is not to say that this wholly a work of realism. But rather that because it draws enough on the tropes and traditions of  Mormon faithful realism, it has a bit more heft and dimension to it than I had expected, especially considering that it’s, essentially, a thriller/suspense novel.

5 thoughts on “My take on S.P. Bailey’s Millstone City”

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Wm. It was fun to hear a mission companion’s reaction to the book earlier this week. He said he couldn’t put it down due to the memories of Brazil it triggered. That made me smile–although obscured somewhat by the gritty plot and characters, the book is in large part a love letter to the area where I served now some 15 years ago.

  2. Congratulations, SP.

    Good blurb (and accompanying addition), Wm. If the book ever turns up in my local library, or I suddenly inherit book-buying trust fun, I’ll read it for sure. I really wish I had the money to buy all this Mormon lit I keep hearing about.

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