“Alabaster Vases” sets scene for Dr. Finger’s series

Daniel Skinner, Entertainment Editor

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     When most people think of GCHS superintendent Dr. Catherine Finger, they think of her first and foremost as the community leader and lobbyist that keeps District 127 running. However, what these people don’t tend to know is that she also writes, mostly in the form of books and blog posts. In fact, she  published her first novel, “Alabaster Vases,” on Jan. 1 of this year, and she is planning to continue the plotline of the novel with a second book — recently completed in March and titled “Shattered Masks” — and future installments as part of a series called “Murder with a Message”.

Centered around a police chief named Josie Oliver, “Alabaster Vases” has immense detail and careful character development. Faced with the frustrations of a divorce proceeding with an abusive husband, Oliver is forced to confront new problems in all sects of her now overturned life. She also is called upon to help her friend with a serial killer case, where she resdicovers her religious convictions and decides to actively pursue them. The novel itself then ends up being about how Oliver puts her life back together with the help of her faith and a renewed determination.

The book ultimately leaves a lot of loose ends upon its conclusion — likely due to it being the first novel in the overall series — but the novel itself has a powerful message about the meaning of love and how faith in something greater can change lives for the better.

Finger’s extensive vocabulary is well-reflected in her novel, seeing as “Alabaster Vases” makes use of descriptions and imagery that make it fairly easy to picture the scenes and characters presented. For example, most characters are described thoroughly in both their physicality and personality. They each have their own unique stories and it’s clear in the novel what their purpose is in Oliver’s story as she lives her life and attempts to resolve her personal issues.

In addition to this, Finger’s novel  not only reflects her own experiences in an intellectual sense, but it also showcases the environments that people in Grayslake can relate to themselves. It was clear that most of the places referred to in the novel were inspired by the traditions, habits and pastimes of people living in areas like Grayslake and nearby towns like Libertyville or Gurnee.

While the plot definitely has some moments of intensity that really drive through the message of the novel, it moves slowly in the sections that should have been briefer and incredibly fast in parts where there was furthered interest. It would have been nice if action scenes, especially those involving the serial killer case, had lasted longer. There also was a lot of exposition in places where the characters could have revealed their personalities to the readers on their own rather Oliver explaining their stories.

Overall, “Alabaster Vases” is an intriguing novel that definitely reflects well on Finger’s own character and glorifies the lives that everyday people live in a positive way. While religious themes are very prevalent in the novel, it is a book that can appreciated by all sorts of readers.

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“Alabaster Vases” sets scene for Dr. Finger’s series