Below are some comments from readers. I am always interested in your feedback, good and bad, so please feel free to send them to me!
"Time travel, angelic visits and death on the beach: elements that Greg Cochran weaves together in his novel, "Saving Grace". The hero, Jake Brodie, is an ordinary guy visiting his hometown down the coast from San Francisco, when he is called on by an angel and sent back in time to 1938 for an unknown task. He stumbles at first, out of place and time in an unfamiliar era. Jake meets his great-grandfather and settles into town. He quickly makes friends and enemies while waiting for his mission to be revealed. An unnerving discovery and tales of lost children puts Jake on the trail of a predator. He struggles with a violent tendency that's at odds with the divine source of his efforts. Jake's faith and resolve are tested. He has to cope with the consequences of his desires and his actions in a bygone day and when returned to the present.
Cochran's writing is at its best when describing Jake's interactions with his family, especially his growing relationship with his great-grandfather as they work together installing hardwood floors. Cochran contrasts the open farm fields and sparse houses of the 30s with the tightly packed suburb of today. Though "Saving Grace" shares the region and between-the-wars era of Hammett's tough detectives, the noir mood is lightened by Jake's surprise at a vibrant world he had only known through old black and white movies.
"Saving Grace" is a quick and enjoyable read. The plot has twists that took me by surprise when I feared it would be predictable. Cochran has pulled together all the threads of his story and delivered a solid first effort."
"The main character, Jake Brodie, is sent by an angel back to 1938 to his hometown in the San Francisco coastal region. He is to perform an unknown task. The journey he embarks on is an introspective look at life in that time. The people he encounters, like his great grandparents, corrupt grandfather and his father as an infant, gives Jake a look at his past. But it is the other interesting people he encounters and his journey around the coastal area that make for a great backdrop.
Jake visits some famous old San Francisco landmarks like Seals Stadium and a San Francisco Seals baseball game. His observations of baseball played back in 1938 Pacific Coast league compared to today is fascinating. But Jake's task wasn't baseball. The only way he can return to his present time is to complete the unknown task. The search for this task provides the reader with many twists and turns. The reader, along with Jake, tries to figure out what the task is.
A great book that incorporates the genres of time travel, suspense, murder/mystery, love story , moral conflict and virtue. The book provides a spiritual message that will keep the reader thinking during and after the book is completed."
Kevin M, California
"I just finished reading this book by Greg Cochran. I have to say, it was definitely not my upbeat, typical chick lit book. There were times I actually had to stop reading it because it took me in too deep and made me feel too much. It was eerie, and dark, but with a message of hope. I am highly impressed at the author's writing ability. I wonder what the inspiration was for this book. It is quite unique and very creative. I have never read anything like this before. Kudos to Mr Cochran. I am impressed."
"I went into this book not knowing what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. Though the book has a religious and moral context, I felt that the author did not try to push me toward those views but merely told the story using them as a point of departure. There is even some emotional or can I even say sexual tension that the main character Jake has to deal with while at the same time solving a much bigger issue... what was he doing in 1938? I, as an adult, enjoyed this book and would not doubt that it would be enjoyable and appropriate for adolescent readers as well. Buy it, love it!"
"Saving Grace is a great escape from the morass of muddled and compromised morality that typifies the current state of our nation by thrusting the reader headlong into another time with real-life consequences for inaction and indifference. It engages from page one and holds the readers attention throughout."
"I didn't quite know what to expect when I began to read this book. Initially I thought it would just be a run-of-the-mill mystery...But it quickly became much more than that. The spiritual tone was apparent from the outset, yet it was not overwhelming. I liked that the main character was in unfamiliar, yet also familiar ;), surroundings. The dilemmas he faces and how he chooses to deal with them are only one facet of the story which I found to be appealing. I gave this book to my high school daughter and she, too, thoroughly enjoyed it, finishing it off in a couple of afternoons. Highly recommended!"
"I just finished your book and I thought it was excellent! I can't wait for my wife to read it. Although there were portions that make me uncomfortable (I can't stand any abuse of kids) you didn't make it too graphic and always brought it back to Jake's faith. We spent a lot of time discussing life and your childhood/upbringing and it was interesting that at times in the book I could see those personal experiences being described. The similarities in your family and Jake's in the book are examples. I really liked it.....even got me teary eyed in the last two chapters reading the letters from Susan's journal. Great Job Greg. You really should send a copy to Oprah. I think it could get referenced on her show."
"I finished reading Saving Grace and I must say...WOW!!!! I loved it! Hated to put it down to work or sleep! It had EVERYTHING in it to keep you focused. It made me smile, frown, laugh and cry. I was on the train coming to work when I got to the letters from Susan to Jake and everyone was looking at me like I'd lost my mind because I was in tears boo-hooing on the train. You did an awesome job and this would really make a GREAT movie. The book is just the right length to make sure they leave nothing out. Keep writing, can't wait to read your next one."
"I LOVED THE BOOK. I want to read more. I loved the final two chapters. My favorite part was when Jake found Grace again and read the letters that Susan had written all those years ago. That was so neat to read that. It made me think of what it would be like to have known all my own family as kids. You have a winner here."
"I just wanted to say I read your book and I really enjoyed it. The book kept my interest the entire time. I will say I was surprised with the ending. It makes you feel sorry for the characters."
"Finished Saving Grace this morning. Really enjoyed it - an interesting story as a conduit for some fascinating and very thought-provoking themes. I'm usually a non-fiction guy, but your work has whet my appetite for novels."
"Finished the book last night. It was good - different than anything I have read in a long time. I liked the ending with Jacob needing to keep an eye on the children and trusting that he was raising them right so they could handle temptation. I was sad that Susan had such a lonely life after. I know in the end the letter explains she was happy and it was her choice and asks Jacob to focus on his family BUT the fact that she kept the house clean, tried to look the same and would not move away from the town means she spent her life waiting. I think Grace was affected by that loneliness as well."
"I must say i was quite impressed with your novel. At first it was hard not to picture you as i read but i kept reminding myself not to.Getting to know you the last couple years made it easy to match some characteristics of Jacob and yourself. But as the story rolled on and got more intense I seemed to forget about you being the writer. I never guessed it would have gotten as dark as it did, but if we're talking pure evil, thats what it would look like to me.I also really enjoyed the visits from Elyriel. Her calm and guidance really moved the story forward. The consistent hope for the sheriff was refreshing in this "kill the bad guy" world. Great job big guy!"
"Great job mixing adventure, mystery, love and faith!"
"I was immediately drawn into this book. To me, the opening paragraphs and pages were the strongest and most intriguing. It took me a bit of time to read this book. It has a very strong opening that captured my imagination immediately. I felt the story and the interactions of the characters were very strong and entertaining but I felt that the editing left something to be desired. I thought the story moved to quickly, jumping to conclusions with little groundwork laid for arriving there. And there was quite too much preaching and philosophizing. The protagonist didn't seem to really struggle coming to his philosophy or to really worry about his sudden change in time but accepted it by faith. I suppose someone religious might accept this easily but for me it did not have enough depth. Having said that, I would recommend this book. I think it is an admirable effort and I look forward to Mr Cochran's second effort to see what he has learned from his first.
I hesitated to write this note but I promised that I would and so I have. I wish our local author all the best and hope is is very successful!"
Finished the book this weekend.
I highly recommend it. Easy reading, but thought-provoking.
I'm looking forward to your next book, and hope to make it to the book signing on the 5th.
I think what I loved most about this book is that the author has you rolling along down nostalgia lane, and then drops you right off of a cliff into a whole different scenario. I loved that it was unexpected. I also loved that it worked like a three-part play; historical, supernatural, then romance. And yet all three parts permeated throughout the novel. I only wish the book was longer! I loved the writing style and I laughed and I cried throughout.
I just finished reading your book and I must say that I really liked it very much. It was a good, classic story of good v.s. evil with solid, believable characters that you help the readers get to know really well. I thought you did a good job of laying out the story with a nice plot with a few interesting twists. I also liked the way you wrapped it up in the end with Jake dealing with his flaws and mixed emotions. Overall, a nice piece of work about people dealing with and facing temptation.
I love time-travel stories, and this one taking place in northern California made it of particular interest. Time travel, murder mystery, good vs evil, and believable characters,what more can you ask for? I particularly enjoyed the baseball descriptions and the comparison of the past and present locations. The story is captivating on its own, and didn't need crude language or graphic detail to get the point across; and the morality added structure and reference without being preachy. I'm looking forward to his next book.
This book captured me from the beginning and I couldn't put it down. I found myself reading a little further to see what was going to happen again and again. The attention to detail regarding coins, clothing, and customs of the time period all added to the realism that you were experiencing everything right along with the main character Jake Brodie. The weaving in of a love interest for Jake was done in a very unique way and readers will find the writing tasteful and refreshing from how other authors use salty graphic detail to capture their readers interest. I was very pleased with the supernatural aspect of the book and it was not overdone here. It was a very captivating story that should please most readers who are looking for something entertaining and done in good taste without horror and the usual "18 and over" graphic details.
I liked the full storyline of the book. I had a very hard time putting it down. You described your characters very well. Reading about Playland and other places, brought back some of my very early memories prior to moving to Pacifica. One is about Playland. My Father was a cook there shortly after he left the Marine Corps in 1964. You could tell by the way you wrote the book you knew the area and also did your research on what the area was like during the period of time travel. I like time travel books. I also liked how you brought the book to a close. Reading the book that Susan had left for Jake made me want to cry and wish that he had stayed back in 1938., it was very touching. I would like to see more books like this. It was also refreshing how innocent it was. With today's society with violent movies, games and books, it was a very inspirational feeling to read this book.