Book review: The Resurrection

Pastor Ian Clark has issues. He’s tormented by regular appearances of a ghost that wants something of him. Something he can’t quite figure out on his own. But he’s also haunted by the difficulty of hiding his shipwrecked faith, failed marriage, and the soul-crushing tragedy of his sister’s horrible death.

Homemaker Ruby case has troubles of her own. She is literally limping through life due to an injury sustained at birth, and is figuratively hobbled by her husband who wants nothing to do with her faith or her church. When her touch raises a dead boy to life unexpectedly, the miracle becomes more of a curse than a blessing to the confused Ruby.

These broken individuals are the central characters of The Resurrection, a new supernatural thriller by Mike Duran. Their struggles add a depth and humanity that is often missing in contemporary Christian fiction. I was moved by their plight and could identify with the weaknesses that defined Ian and Ruby.

First-time novelist Duran does an excellent job in rendering a sense of dread and foreboding that pervades the residents and environment of the Stonetree, a small coastal town that is the battlefield for outsized but unseen spiritual forces. That suffocating atmosphere builds as dramatic events and surprising discoveries force Ian and Ruby together as unlikely heroes at the front line of the conflict.

I found The Resurrection to be a thoroughly engaging thriller. That said, I would not commend some of the theology that underpins the depiction of the occult powers that menace Stonetree residents. While I agree with the existence of demons and the enslaving influence of participating in pagan religious practices, the approach that Ian and Ruby take in confronting them seem to be inspired more by novels like Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness than by the pages of the New Testament.

To see what other bloggers thought of The Resurrection, click the links below:

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

 

I received a complimentary review copy of the book from the publisher.

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13 Responses to Book review: The Resurrection

  1. […] √ Jessica Thomas Steve Trower √ Fred Warren Dona Watson Phyllis Wheeler Nicole White √ Dave […]

  2. I like the fact that you addressed the theology, Dave. I’m curious what you thought of the Afterword.

    Becky

    • David Wilson says:

      Hi Becky,

      His afterword about the nature of “Mr. Cellophane” was an interesting exploration on what the scriptures might say about ghosts. Not sure I agree with all his perspectives, but I appreciated this addressing the topic.

      What did you think?

      Dave

      • I’m still reading the book, so only glanced at it because I was afraid it might have spoilers. The thing is, Mike and I have talked about this before in person. I don’t agree entirely either but he’s got me alert to the subject, so I’m paying closer attention to verses that touch on the subject.

        A couple came up in my quiet time this morning. One was John 17:24, part of Jesus’s “high-priestly prayer.” There He said, “I desire that they also, whom You have give Me, be with Me where I am…” That seems to preclude believers from roaming the world, I think.

        The other one was Isaiah 19:3b: “And I will confound their strategy/so that they will resort to idols and ghosts of the dead/And to mediums and spiritists” (NASB). Hmmm. That gives something to think about.

        Becky

      • I think the Bible is clear about the status of believers after death. But what about unbelievers? I think ghosts are (unsaved) souls who are afraid to face judgment and therefore hang around earth instead of facing the music.

  3. Good point about the theology. But of course, to have a good story, the demons have to have some free rein for a while at least. If a knowledgeable person commands them to go away in Jesus’ name, the story’s over too soon. So the author has to create a situation where there is no knowledgeable person around to do that.

    • David Wilson says:

      Hi Phyllis,

      You bring up a great point. Jesus confronting the Gadarene demoniac had lots of drama. But how to maintain that drama over the length of a novel would be quite a challenge. Do you think I was too hard on the author? It’s always a challenge to offer an honest critique in a humble, Christian manner. Not sure I’ve mastered the art, to tell you the truth.

      Dave

  4. I just popped over from Becky’s site to see who the new guy was. 🙂 Great blog.

    I doubt that you bothered Mike with your review. He likes honest reviews. I’ve just started the book and now I’m looking forward to reading it even more, because I love a book that stirs theological thought whether I agree with the author or not. I mean, within reason. I’m not planning on buying Rob Bell’s book, for instance. 🙂

  5. mike duran says:

    David, thanks so much for taking time with my book. There are several strands of theology in The Resurrection that I touch upon, and intentionally leave vague. Perhaps the biggest, most significant, is not the occult, but Clark’s banter with Professor Keen. Keen has the upper hand, not because his answers are the most persuasive, but because Clark is in such a vulnerable state (which, I wonder, is how many people are drawn into false belief systems). Clark is not the best one to view these issues through, which allowed me to punch away at the reader’s own belief system.

    Regarding the occult / demonic elements, there is such a wide spectrum of beliefs and practices. On the one hand are those who see demons everywhere — “demons of nicotine,” “demons of caffeine,” “demons of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream,” etc. On the other hand, are those who completely dismiss ALL demonic possibilities. In between, are the rest of us. Demonology and a theology of deliverance are pretty undefined. Frankly, I’m not sure the Bible gives an exact prescription for how to deal with warlocks, demonized individuals, hexes, spells, and assorted occult paraphernalia and activity. Yes, there are general principles. But a play by play on how to evict Legion is just not there.

    David, once again, thanks so much for reading my novel. I appreciate your kind words and deep thoughts.

    • David Wilson says:

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for stopping by the blog.

      I appreciate your perspective on the topic. By the way, your humble response to the critiques of bloggers like myself (who are mostly rank amateurs to be honest) is very commendable.

      Again, I really enjoyed your book, and look forward to more novels from you in the future.

      Thanks

  6. […] book. Here’s 1, 2, and 3. Thanks, Bruce! Really nice work! And a good discussion ensued at David Wilson’s site regarding the occult elements in the story and whether or not the protag’s followed a […]

  7. Rachel says:

    This is why I love these tours…And why I think books like Mike’s are so important. It opens the door to talk about this stuff. Most Christians just scoff at the idea of ghosts, so it’s tough to have a serious discussion about it.

    I tend towards the notion that we don’t know. I think one thing that always has kept me wondering was the way the disciples acted after Jesus rose from the dead. They thought he was a ghost. Why? And how odd that they would think that before they would think he had risen from the grave (ie: Lazarus). Anyway, I just like to pontificate on this stuff. But the truth is: we haven’t got a clue.

    It was funny though, cause the ghost stuff and curse stuff was why my dad really liked the book. 🙂 He said, it made him think about it in a different way and challenged him. He liked that.

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