The Strange Man by Greg Mitchell
Published 2011 by Realms, 266 pages
Genre: Christian horror suitable for teens and adults
I didn’t realize how scary this book was going to be when I agreed to read it. (It’s officially labeled “suspense” not “horror.”) I’m no horror fan at all, so I had some trouble getting through this book. However, if you love books that scare you, and if you are a Christian, you may very well love it.
Dras Weldon lives in a town called Greensboro that is apparently somewhere in the United States. One character mentions the possibility of moving to Vermont, so we readers assume Greensboro is in the same universe. However, we soon find out that Greensboro’s world is a place where demons take bodily form and have ability and permission to tear people apart, especially people who ignore the Gospel.
Greensboro used to be protected by the faith of previous generations. But that faith has withered and died. Now the town has for spiritual protection only a poorly attended church. Dras Weldon’s brother Jeff is pastor, as their father was before them. But Dras’s faith is weak. He finds himself unprepared to deal with the challenge and the choices that await him.
Dras is a 22-year-old who behaves like a spoiled teenager. He’s unemployed, drinking a lot, sponging off his parents. At least Dras does have some faith; he gets himself to church somehow but sleeps through the sermon. His best friend, Rosalyn, gets pretty impatient with him. She isn’t a Christian.
The Strange Man, a demonic shape-shifter, checks out the local nightclub and decides he wants Rosalyn. But he can’t have her because somehow her love for Dras shields her. So he goes after Dras.
How can Dras repel the physical strength and spiritual poison of this enemy? And how can he teach Rosalyn to protect herself? The story plays out in some surprising ways.
What do I think?
This book is solidly Christian in worldview. I like that about it. However, I found myself continually struggling with the fantasy aspects of this story, namely, that the demons in this story have physical powers and permission from God to tear people to shreds, even people who are asking God for help.
I also struggled with Dras’s character. He doesn’t seem very believable to me–a drunken sponger whose heart nevertheless remains open to the Lord. The few actual 22-year-old drunken spongers I know of have been running away from God.
However, I thought the cover design was stupendous. And I think this book does a great job of scaring the willies out of you. If that’s what you want.
I’ll be interested to see whether others reporting on this book on the CSFF blog tour found it satisfying. Take a look!
CSFF Blog Tour
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Author’s web site – http://thecomingevil.blogspot.com/