Tag Archives: Christian horror

The Resurrection by Mike Duran, a review

The Resurrection by Mike Duran
Published 2011 by Realms Press, 307 pages
Genre: Christian suspense with paranormal elements

There’s a struggle going on in the hearts of the citizens of Stonetree, a coastal California town. For decades, the devil has been winning as New Age businesses take over the downtown and church attendance dwindles. And there are rumors about a hanging 90 years before. A murder, resulting in a curse? Others in the town have gone missing recently.

Ruby Case, a hesitant housewife with a limp, hardly seems like a likely agent for change. First she gets a vision of a new, green leaf on the enormous dead tree that broods over the town from a clifftop. Then she prays for mercy for a dead boy at his funeral, and he comes back to life, astonishing her and the town.

Rev. Ian Clark is Ruby’s humble and confused new pastor at her moribund church, where there are only three who want to be in a prayer group, and where many–including Ruby’s husband–have sensed hypocrisy and left.  In his church office, Clark gets regular and mystifying visits from what seems to be the ghost of a puzzled young man.

Clark’s ex-wife calls him and tells him she senses he is in danger.  He is, it turns out, a marked man. And Ruby’s destiny may be defined by an old prophecy as well, one that seems to foretell her death.  Are both of them doomed to die to appease the evil spirits poisoning their town?

This story has memorable characters. It’s well told. There are plenty of reasons to keep turning the pages. In short, it’s a good book.

Yet, when I had finished it, I wasn’t fully satisfied. I hadn’t gotten a real sense of the demons driving the story. Instead, the story focuses on their minions, the human bad guys.  Also, the dead tree was too static a vision to be arresting to me, as it was to the character who experienced it. So for once, I, the thin-skinned reader, was looking for something a little scarier.

But I suppose if the story had focused on the demons, that would have knocked it into a different genre, horror, and I never would have picked it up because it would have been too scary.

I liked the author’s use of “the least of these”–a hesitant housewife and a cowardly pastor–as the Lord’s instruments for change. God does that, using the humble and weak for great ends. Read this book. I think you’ll like it.

This is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog tour. I received a free copy of the book for this post. See what others on the tour are saying:

Noah Arsenault
Brandon Barr
Red Bissell
Book Reviews By Molly
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Wanda Costinak
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Janey DeMeo
Cynthia Dyer
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn
Katie Hart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McNear
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

Author’s website: Mike Duran at http://mikeduran.com/

Haunt of Jackals by Eric Wilson, a partial review

jackals

CSFF Blog Tour: Haunt of Jackals by Eric Wilson Published 2009 by Thomas
Nelson, 401 pages. Second in the Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy.
Genre: Christian suspense/horror vampire tale
I’d rate it PG-13 if not R.

I did not intend to review this book for the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog tour
because suspense stories are too nerve-wracking for me. I really don’t enjoy them.

However, by some oversight the publisher sent me a book. Not wanting to waste a good
book, I decided to start reading it.  Sure enough, the suspense on about page 90 just was too much for me. But I can report to you what I found up to that point.

Wilson has done a great job of constructing a tale with a Christian worldview.  His complex characters ring true. The action is virtually non-stop, providing a wonderful evening for adrenaline junkies unlike myself. Plus there’s the horror dimension, with the demonic undead vampires which have this uncanny ability to temporarily abandon their host bodies and take up residence in an animal. So the main characters never know if the next blackbird is a spying enemy or not.  Talk about nerve-wracking!

The narrative, at least in the first part of the book, revolves around two lead characters, Cal and Gina. The point of view and narrative follows Cal for a while, then Gina. This seems to work well for this tale. Cal is one of those individuals who rose from the dead when Jesus rose from the grave.  These individuals were granted immortality and given a task, to protect humanity. They recruit mortal apprentices to help them.

As the second in a trilogy, this book must have been a challenge to write in such a way
that a new reader like myself could understand what came before. I am happy to report that the explanation at the beginning of the book was adequate to the challenge, and I was able to step into the story without a hitch.

At page 90 I leave the book wondering whether the young apprentice Dov survives. I expect Gina to eventually find out that Cal is her father, and that she is half immortal.  I wonder whether this news will cause her to accept the predicament she is in and become a follower of the Almighty God, rather than a modern nay-sayer.  I wonder whether the Lord will intervene to rein in these all-too-powerful vampire enemies, who seem likely to overcome the good guys.  I am curious about the fact that Gina has a twin brother who is not mentioned other than to say he exists. Perhaps he shows up later in this book, or in the final book.

It’s no wonder that Eric Wilson is an NYT best-selling author. He knows what he is doing.

For more info:

Eric Wilson’s Web site –http://www.wilsonwriter.com/
The Undead Trilogy Web site  – http://www.jerusalemsundead.com/

Check out other blogs on the blog tour. Since I don’t have an updated list yet, these are the blogs that were listed for the last tour. It’s probably about the same.

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Rachel Briard
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Eve Nielsen
Nissa
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Crista Richey
Cheryl Russell
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher

The Last Guardian by Shane Johnson, A Partial Review

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The Last Guardian by Shane Johnson, A Partial Review
Published 2000 by Waterbrook Press, 498 pages
Genre: Christian suspense, apocalyptic literature, fantasy, rated pg-13 (by me) for violence

I can see that this is a book a lot of people are going to like. A reader suggested it, so I checked it out of the library.  (!)

The problem is that I can’t stand suspense. I’m not a Hitchcock fan, or anything like that.  So I kept putting the book down when the suspense level got too much for me. Finally I decided not to finish it.

HOWEVER, if you are a Christian suspense lover, you may well love this book. So I am going to put it on your radar screen.

The book is based on the Biblical young earth. Before the disaster that we call the Flood, it was a warm world, like a greenhouse under a pink sky which somehow held plenty of water in suspension. Dinosaurs and mammoths lived in forests of fern fronds. People were there too. Evil was overtaking them.

There were fated to be 12 guardians of a holy object, who one after the other guard it until they are able to pass it off to the next guardian.  Finally the eleventh guardian doesn’t find a successor. An unseen hand lifts the relic from his grasp before he dies at the hands of enemies.

Soon afterward, the Word of the Lord brings megadisaster on the planet, which writhes in pain, water, and mud.  Most everyone and everything dies. Creatures are entombed, fossil beds laid down. (Noah we presume is somewhere on the other side of the world, saving remants.)

Now it is close to the present day. A modern doctoral student, TG Shass, is hiking with his friend and is caught in a thunderstorm rapelling down a rock face. Somehow he disappears for three days and reappears 2000 miles away.

The ancient relic is his now, and stays with him even when he tries to leave it with some scientists to study. So he is the 12th and last guardian. Evil spirit-creatures are now stalking him.

This is where I put the book down!

Characters are well developed. The lyrical detail is woven in. Suspense is built with little foreshadowing comments. It’s masterfully written, I can see. I assume TG moves from little faith to much more faith as the book progresses.

I know the book takes TG to another world called Noron. That’s because there’s a map of Noron at the front of the book.

So, I dare you!  Check it out! Don’t be a wimp like me. And tell me if you liked it!–Phyllis Wheeler

Sons of God by Rebecca Ellen Kurtz, a Review

Sons of God by Rebecca Ellen Kurtz, a Review

Self-published by Maximilian Press Publishers, 2007, 209 pages.

Genre: Christian horror.  Think of Twilight, the Mummy movies or Indiana Jones, full of paranormal activity. But this one has a Biblical worldview. Also, it’s not for kids.

This novel doesn’t really fit with others I have reviewed.  It’s not fantasy or science fiction.  In fact, it’s at heart a romance. It describes plenty of violence, so much that I am glad it’s not a movie.

It does fit in with some others I have reviewed in that it is self-published and could use some editing. Kurtz is an amateur archeologist, not a professional writer. Occasionally she “tells” rather than “shows” action–mostly in these gory situations where I didn’t want to hear the details anyway. She also jumps around with her point of view from one character to another in an unsettling way, something a good editor would have changed. Dialogue is occasionally clunky and often too modern.

However, given the fact that the publishing industry pretty much shuts out unknown authors in this genre, I am often willing to check out self-published novels and look past the rough edges.

What I found was a wild tale of the paranormal: demons and immortal half-angels (some with vampire characteristics) sharing the earth with the rest of us, who are mostly unaware of them.

The protagonist of the book, Rachaev, is an immortal Nephilim (a halfbreed race, offspring of fallen angels and humans who mated at the dawn of time). Although her parents had chosen the evil path, she has chosen to follow Elohim (God).  She is in a spiritually dry spell, lasting 2,500 years. At first she blames God, but she eventually figures out isn’t God’s fault.

There’s a love interest for Rachaev; after all this time she finally has found a man who interests her. However, it is forbidden for her to wed a human.  How is this resolved? And how is she able to finally do what Elohim has commanded her to do (kill her evil, bloodthirsty mother, Ishtar)?

This book is for adults, because of the violence and the sexual tension (no sex scenes — the emphasis for Raechev is purity).  If it were a movie, it would probably be rated somewhere between PG-13 and R.

The book is not only a story. It also contains translations of ancient manuscripts including the Bible, interpreting them to show that Nephilim, half-angel, half-human, are talked about in a variety of texts from around the world.  I am not sure what to make of this. Is she arguing that Nephilim really exist? If so, this argument is muddying the waters–what she is selling is a tale, not a history.

It’s a gripping story, hard to put down once you get into it. The best thing about it is its rock-solid affirmation of the existence of God and his control of all things, and of his mercy–in providing eventual happiness for Raechev despite her long disobedience.–Phyllis Wheeler