Book Review: Almost Heaven

9 Nov

Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though he’d gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.
However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billy’s song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.

Chris Fabry is a 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University. He is heard on Chris Fabry Live! each weekday on Moody Radio, the Love Worth Finding broadcast, and other radio programs. You may have also heard Chris cohosting programs for Focus on the Family radio. He and his wife, Andrea, live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris’s first novel for adults, Dogwood, received the 2009 Christy Award in the Contemporary Standalone category. His latest novel, June Bug, was released in July 2009. He has published more than 65 other books, including many novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and the Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR. Visit his Web site at



My Impressions:


Less than 10 minutes ago, I read the final page of Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry.  Although I have closed the cover, this book is going to stay with me for a long time.  Almost Heaven tells the life story of an ordinary man from a small town in West Virginia.  Billy Allman’s greatest desire is to own a radio station and to live a life pleasing to God.  After prayer and a conversation with a well-known preacher, Billy starts out on a path that leads him to the culmination of his dreams.

But Billy’s life has not been easy.  It is said that into a life a little rain must fall, but in Billy’s case his story begins literally with a flood.  Through a first person narrative, Billy tells the story of the struggles of life — deaths of loved ones, sickness, abuse, failure — but somehow manages to tell a story of hope and grace. There is a second narrator in the story who knows Billy intimately, but whom Billy never meets face to face — Malachi, a warrior sent by God to protect this unassuming, humble, quite ordinary man.  It is through both narratives that Fabry presents a whole story — a story that resonates with the music of bluegrass and the mercy and love of an Almighty God.

There are a whole lot of whys in this story.  And both man and angel never fully find the answers, except the only one that matters.  Can we accept the whys if we know and trust the Creator?  Both Billy and Malachi would say yes.

I have read a great many books this year and have had the privilege of reviewing some great writing.  Almost Heaven sings to the soul like none other I have read this year.


Highly Recommended.


(I received this book from Glass Road Productions in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

4 Responses to “Book Review: Almost Heaven”

  1. Cindy Swanson November 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Thanks so much for adding me to your blog list…I just returned the favor! This looks like a terrific blog.

  2. Brenda Casto November 9, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

    Great review, I think that everyone should read this book, I would easily say this was one of the best books I have read all year, I have already purchased Junebug, the teaser in the back of Almost Heaven made me anxious to read it!

  3. RandomizeME November 11, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    I just got this as a free download from Amazon ( – checking it out 🙂

  4. Anne November 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    I love it when books sing to the soul. Is the Christie Award the award given for Christian writing? I haven’t heard of it before.
    I’m stopping by from the Saturday Book Review Tour.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: