Take a good long look at the cover of "The Telling" because that cover is perfect for what the pages between it holds. This novel is not for the faint of heart. It's dark, edgy, mysterious as well as a bit disturbing and guaranteed to make your heart pound. It's everything a good captivating page-turner should be, and then some!
Listed as Christian fiction, "The Telling" is far from an "in-your-face" Christian type of book. It is subtle and can be enjoyed by anyone who just loves a good and at times scary story. Mike Duran is a fantastic storyteller that captivates the reader from the beginning. As the story unfolds, you won't want to put this book down because you won't be able to wait find out what happens next. With short chapters, it's easy to do this, as you keep telling yourself that you'll only read one more chapter...
Anyone who enjoys such authors as Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti will certainly enjoy Mike Duran's "The Telling". Make sure to add it to your MUST read list!!
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a favorable review.
Some legends have no real basis. They are simply made up stories from an over active imagination. The stuff designed to frighten people or told by campfires. Then there are the legends that are so horrifying and true, you only wish they were made up stories.
In the suspense thriller, The Telling by Mike Duran, the lives of four unique characters are about to intersect at the crossroads of pure evil awakening from a long slumber deep within the hills of Endurance, a small isolated town just north of Death Valley off of Interstate 395. Only some have heard of the legend of the Madness of Endurance, a mass suicide of the residents of a small town many years ago that seems to be creeping it's way into the residents of a small convalescent home, Marvale Manor. It seems like one by one, the elderly are just not themselves any more and spend their nights walking the grounds and during the day, they are catatonic. When Annie Lane, begins to notice, she calls her granddaughter, Tamra for help. Like most, they simply believe this is just one of those life cycles all senior citizens go through, but one by one, the mumblings of a strange language and writings on the walls of those that seem to be changing, soon convince Tamra, all is not right in Marvale Manor.
Zeph Walker now lives his life in seclusion, partly because of a horrible scar that has disfigured his face and partly because of the unwanted attention he gets when people learn who he is and what he gift is. He refers to it as the "Telling," a gift he believes that was given to him from God, to become a modern day prophet. He can sometimes see into the lives of the people he comes into contact with, offer a word of advice from God, heal and even curse others with death as though God has spoken through him. But after spending a life being used by others, Zeph has resolved to simply operate a bookstore, called the Book Swap in return for some peace and quite on the outskirts of town.
Now as Tamra has been called to locate a book for her grandmother, she is told the only place she will find this, is at the Book Swap, if she can locate it. When she meets Zeph and reveals the book she is searching for, Zeph knows there is more to this than simply providing her with what she asks. He was told many years earlier that when the time is right, someone will come to him asking for this book, but until such a time, he is to keep it hidden. Only Zeph isn't ready for this. He isn't ready to face his past and contend with using his gift again. But when the shadows in his house, suddenly begin to speak and move, Zeph knows that evil has been set loose and it's only up to him to stop it.
I received The Telling by Mike Duran compliments of Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Tours for my honest review. When I saw the opportunity to review this one and read the back cover, I knew it would be one I had to read. Being a huge lover of Christian Suspense Thrillers, I dove into this one immediately when it arrived and literally inhaled it as quickly as I could turn the pages. Mike does an amazing job at keeping things hidden until the very end without giving too much away and I found myself second guessing what would happen at the end. By the time I was finished, I was left wanting much more than I got and felt that with such a build up through most of the book, the way it ended, was a bit confusing. I found myself going back to re-read the final chapter to see if I had missed something or had gotten a few pages stuck to one another. I felt that the author could have spent a bit more time with the climatic ending then he did, but perhaps that is just my perception in wanting so much more. I like more of a profound prophetic ending then the way it did but overall the book had a great premise. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars, just based on simply how it ended not how it was written overall.
As a child, Zephaniah had a gift. Some might call it a word of knowledge. He called it the Telling. When God chose, Zephaniah could see the future. His mother had taken him around to churches, drawing crowds and taking in the offerings. His mother had died while he was still young. He father had remarried _ a crazy woman.
Now, years later, Zephaniah lives in seclusion in a small town at the northern fringe of Death Valley. He is alienated from his father and he bears the hideous facial scar he received from his stepmother.
Endurance is a town near abandoned mines, one of which legend has as the mythical ninth gate of hell. Strange things have gone on near that mine.
Zeph is called in by the police to identify a body. He is startled to find out the face of the dead being is his own but the rest of the body is strange. The legs are leathery, almost reptilian. Who is this creature?
As Zeph tries to understand what is happening, more of the ghastly creatures appear, taking over humans, feeding on the dark parts of their soul. It appears Zeph is the only person who can seal up that gate of hell and prevent the demons from taking over the town. But he has rejected his calling and turned away from it. Will God still use him?
This is a pretty good tale of good and evil. Zeph was scarred by his stepmother but was scarred even more deeply in his soul. Bitterness towards his father is the darkness the demons can feed on. If he doesn't deal with that, he will be consumed like the others.
My favorite character in the novel is the spunky Tamra. And there is Tamra's grandmother, Annie, a godly woman who is determined to not let the evil consume the town.
There are perhaps too many quirky characters in the novel. At times I felt they confused the plot. I felt that these other characters frequently took the responsibility off of Zeph. I think a fewer number of characters would have emphasized Zeph's spiritual struggle all the more.
Nonetheless, this is a good novel in the spiritual science fiction kind of genre. It reminds us of the spiritual warfare around us and it made me wonder again, just what is the government up to in those experiments in the desert?
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review
What a ride! The Telling is an absolutely incredible story, a book filled with chilling suspense and carefully-crafted scenes that race towards an ultimate show-down between good and evil. Mike Duran writes with a wonderful grasp of the English language, putting details into the pages of his story that cause the characters to leap onto the screen of your mind. Zeph is an awesome character, a survivor of a deeply-troubled childhood who not only has to face the evil beginning to cover the land, but also has to wrestle the darkness inside him that has been gripping him since his horrific past. However, I have to say that my favorite character is the kick-butt grandma, Annie, who refuses to be told what she can and cannot do and so stays faithful to the calling God has placed upon her life. The ending provides a most satisfying conclusion, a reminder of God's victory both in this world and the next, a foreshadowing of the triumphant ending God will one day speak forth over the battle with the evil one.
If you are seeking to be entertained by a master story-teller, and if you enjoy books of suspense and good and evil, where demons and angels and prophecy collide, then this should be a book that you plan on reading. I highly recommend this book and award it 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Realms (Charisma House Book Group), for the purposes of this unbiased review.