Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Isolation by Travis Thrasher

ISOLATION is the story of a missionary family on furlough from serving in Papua New Guinea. As the back cover mentions, what they experienced while on the mission field left their faith challenged and barely hanging on. As the story progresses we learn that the demons of their past have literally followed them to the mountains of North Carolina where they have settled down for their furlough.

The highlight of the story is 8 year old Zachary who doesn't seem to struggle with his faith the way his parents do. The house family lives in is massive, and it features many secret passageways for Zachary to explore. In fact, there is one whole side of the house that is blocked off from the family that holds many dark secrets that will challenge the family's faith even further.

ISOLATION is obviously reminiscent of Stephen King's THE SHINING, and Thrasher does a great job of amping up the fright factor in a novel that could be described as Christian horror. The story deals with demon possession and reveals the nature of things unseen, but ultimately the light of Jesus shines through.

ISOLATION was very well-written. The characters were well developed and easy to identify with. The story is most fun to read at night in the dark to really get the fright factor from it.

It's a great message of hope in the midst of a struggle against very real evil.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review: Nightmare by Robin Parrish

Pealing Back The Veil Of This World

Nightmare is the fifth Robin Parrish novel I've read, and his talent for creating a compelling story that taps into the spiritual realm inside of us keeps me coming back for more. Nightmare is the story of Maia Peters, the daughter of two well-known paranormal investigators. In an attempt to create a life of her own away from the world of paranormal investigation, Maia accepts an offer by Jordin Cole to take her on several paranormal investigations during school breaks from Columbia University. In return, Jordin pays Maia more than enough to fund her education so that she can pave the way to a career in law enforcement. However, Jordin has gone missing, and her fiance Derek, an aspiring pastor, seeks Maia's help to find her.

The story alternates between the present day where Derek and Maia are searching for Jordin and flashbacks of the year before when Maia and Jordin were going on their paranormal investigation trips. The alternation between the present and flashbacks seems slightly reminiscent of LOST, but I think it works really well.

I loved the characters. Especially Maia, since we spend the entire story inside of her head, so we really get to know her well. Jordin is interesting as well, as we're trying to figure out why she's trying to tap into the spiritual realm. Finally, Derek seemed like he was going to be a stereotypical Christian at the beginning, but as the story progresses, we see a character deeply grounded in his faith and his love for Jordin.

One of my favorite parts of the story was near the end when we see a very visible evidence of the Holy Spirit in the life of some of the characters. I don't want to spoil the ending, however.

Although some Christians will find the subject matter of paranormal investigation uncomfortable, I think Robin Parrish did a very good job with it. In the end, I think the story pointed to God very well.