Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ANGEL OF WRATH Rates High on the Creepy Scale







CFRB is touring Bill Myers' latest novel, Angel of Wrath, in June. Let me say right off the bat that this one is high on the creepy scale, so for all of you who like spiritual thrillers, you will probably like this book.

The adventure involves three characters who had appeared earlier in the novel The Voice, but that doesn't mean you can't follow this story if you haven't read The Voice. Bill Myers drops in pieces from that story to let us understand more about the three main characters. His writing skills are such that this doesn't end up as an information dump, but scattered nicely throughout the tale. These three are very imperfect (read normal) people with emotional scars that color their perception of the world, yet three who God cares about and who are in the process of healing even as their story unwinds. Charlie Madison is a former Special Ops guy haunted by some of his past, wanting to serve the Lord now in all he does. Charlie is partnered with Lisa Harmon, a former FBI agent who apparently bent a few too many rules when she was in the agency. Charlie asks Lisa to marry him at the beginning of the book, but Lisa isn't ready for that right now. This daughter of a preacher suffered some abuse as a child that has kept her enchained in many ways, unable to deal with men or God very well. Finally, there's Jazmin, or Jaz, Charlie's teenage niece who became his charge when her parents were killed by terrorists. Not only was she orphaned in a rough way, she's deaf! Jaz has the unfortunate attitudes of many teenagers, which include a good bit of rebelliousness and rash actions. Yet she has a gift of "hearing" that doesn't involve her ears: she gets sensations of warmth, evil, coldness, and God, especially in music. So even though she can't hear the music in a physical sense, there is a supernatural sense that ends up being very important to the story.

It seems that Lisa's brother Thomas is the pastor of a thriving megachurch, and his members are being murdered in really freaky ways. The book opens with a doctor putting his daughter to bed. This doctor performs abortions, and earlier in the day he had received a cryptic note on a church bulletin: THOU SHALT NOT KILL. He apparently dies from a heart attack brought on by fright, but the words THOU SHALT NOT KILL also appear on the daughter's wall. The next victim is a businessman whose car stereo suddenly plays the song "Money" on every station, and whose car stalls out on the railroad tracks. The doors lock and he can't get out. When the train comes rolling towards him, he can not escape. On the seat beside him is a note on church stationary: THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.

So Rev. Thomas Harmon calls on his sister and Charlie to help find whoever is killing his church members. Meanwhile, there is also a cult going on in the woods: teenagers in the town are gathering, sacrificing cats, and calling on some forces that they don't understand. The guy who is behind the cult teaches that Jesus and Satan are acting together to bring revenge. These rituals in the woods call up something no one expected.

The book is teaming with supernatural occurrences, and the hair on the back of my neck bristled more than once. It definitely held my interest all the way through. There are so many stories going on at the same time and lots of baggage that needs to be unloaded, lots of problems that only God can handle. I can't say I am in complete agreement with some of the theology, but it gives a reader plenty to think about. Hopefully it will not only entertain the readers, but bring them closer to God in the process. It certainly made me think a bit more about certain areas I need to pray about more. It also should make us think about the power of worship and praise, and the need to really mean it when we sing those powerful songs to the Lord. I feel like the power of prayer is downplayed a bit too much in order to emphasize what true praise and worship are, but , nevertheless, some good points are made.

With an emphasis on teenagers, this book certainly qualifies as Young Adult, but it is most assuredly a good one for adults, too.

Bill Myers is a prolific writer with many books for adults, teens, and even kids. You can find out more about him and his work at his cool website here.

You can buy Angel of Wrath at many Christian and regular bookstores, or online at Christianbook.com , Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Booksamillion.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.


2 comments:

Laura Davis said...

It does make you think about the power in worship and praise doesn't it? Great review Cathi! Thank you.

Caprice Hokstad said...

Really good synopsis, Cathi. I felt the same way about prayer being downplayed too much, but I figured it sprang from the fact I'm personnally so un-musical. I'm one of those people who hardly considers myself late to church if all I miss is the singing and annnouncements.