"The Resurrection" recounts the hidden secrets of Stonetree, a small coastal town in California. While attending the funeral of young Armondo Amaya, Ruby Case took her turn in line with family and friends to pay their final respect to the young boy. On an impulse Ruby reached out to touch the body. After a short prayer; when she removed her hand Mondo suddenly sat up in his coffin.
A chain of events that follow Mondo's resurrection take the reader into the conflict between a naturalist explanation and a super-naturalist viewpoint. Controversy erupts in the Stonetree community. Ruby becomes both a hero and a scapegoat. She joins forces with Rev. Ian Clark in a determined effort to find the truth.
Although Duran's characters are uniquely developed, it was hard for me to genuinely identify with any of them. The protagonists lacked dimension. Even in their strongest moments they did not come across as real.
Duran's creative imagination is contagious. A note for Christian readers: "The Resurrection" is a book for the reader who is willing to allow their imagination to take them "outside of the box" of their comfortable theology in areas of the supernatural, ghosts, demons, and the power of curses.
A challenge to live a life of genuine commitment to follow Christ and His teaching is presented throughout the book without feeling "preachy."
"The Resurrection" is entertaining, informative, and thought provoking fiction.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher with in consideration of a fair and honest review. As reviewed for Midwest Book Review.
Mr. Cellophane appears to be a ghost, but what is an apparition doing in the corner of a pastor's study? Reverend Ian Clark doesn't know, but nothing much surprises him any more. He's only been pastoring Canyon Springs Community Church for a year, but even that has been a farce, and he's ready to turn in his resignation. His sister is dead, his wife divorced him, and even his favorite seminary professor has turned away from the church. He's just putting in time.
Three women in Clark's congregation gather regularly to pray. But on this day, Ruby Case has a vision: the huge dead oak tree known as the Stonetree that overlooks the valley sprouts one bright green leaf. Soon after Ruby's vision, she goes to the funeral of young Mondo. Overcome with grief for the family, Ruby touches his body and prays. In front of the eyes of the entire congregation, Mondo sits up in his coffin, resurrected.
The town is not prepared for this, and neither is Reverend Clark...to say nothing of Ruby herself. But all of them are caught up in the swell: Clark in facing his doubts, Ruby in facing petitioners at all hours and hero worship, and the community in facing--well, I don't want to spoil the story for you.
The Resurrection will challenge your beliefs in the spirit world, no matter what they currently are. Author Mike Duran is not making theological claims with his take on occultic practices. In the author notes at the back of the book, he explains where these ideas came from.
What of the story itself? While claiming to be a supernatural suspense novel and certainly having it's creepy moments, I didn't find it excessively horrific (ie: I could sleep at night, lol). Duran told a solid tale with unlikely heroes in a manner that held together very well.
The Resurrection by Mike Duran is an adult supernatural thriller that had me reading on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, begging for characters to be safe, and pondering spiritual matters that I had not considered seriously for years. What a ride!
I haven't read a good Ã¢â¬Ëspooker' in a long time. The suspense in this book was at times frightening and the surprise plot twists only added to the hold-your-breath suspense. If I was a nail biter, my fingernails would be gnawed down to the skin! The characters were fully-developed ordinary folk, raw, honest in their struggles, and believable - not of the Ã¢â¬Ëtoo good to be true' variety. The balance between plot and character was such that no one element stood out. Equal treatment of both made the book flow quickly and dramatically. The author did a fantastic job painting word pictures that gave just enough information - no time was wasted on the unimportant; you were transported into each scene with all five senses fully engaged.
I think what I appreciated the most about this book was that the author did not tie up all of the loose ends into a pretty bow. Many things were left unresolved, just like in real life. I spent days after finishing the book pondering those loose ends and wondering how the characters have fared since the final chapter closed_
There are many lessons to be learned in reading The Resurrection. The first is the challenge to be sure our Christian life not stuck in mediocrity. This is exactly where the Enemy wants us. We are no threat to him or his work if we are lukewarm and apathetic - and God is none to happy about it either (Revelation 3:16). The second lesson is that there is a greater power in prayer than we can fully comprehend. It is the ordinary, garden variety saints who do the great work of God. You don't need to be a "super" Christian with an established, popular, and visible ministry. Our heavenly Father rewards the work that is done in secret. That is where the real battles are waged and won (Ephesians 3:20, Matthew 6:6). The third lesson is continually found throughout Scripture. Any power we have comes not from us, but from God himself to do as he wills. We are to be obedient. The results are up to him.
I give this book 4 stars out of 5.
I received this book free from Strang Publishers and Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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.