Book Review: The Resurrection

22 Mar

When Ruby Case, an unassuming crippled woman, inexplicably raises a boy from the dead, she creates uproar in the quiet coastal town of Stonetree. Some brand her a witch, others a miracle worker. Yet Reverend Ian Clark could care less. Dogged by demons and immersed in self-pity, Clark is being unwittingly drawn into a secret religious order–one that threatens his very life. But he’s about to get a wake-up call. Together, Ruby and Reverend Clark are thrust into a search for answers… and a collision with unspeakable darkness. For behind the quaint tourist shops and artist colonies lies a history of deceit. And a presence more malignant than anything they can imagine. Yet a battle is brewing, the resurrection is the first volley, and the unlikely duo are the only ones who can save them. But can they overcome their own brokenness in time to stop the evil, or will they be its next victim?

My Impressions:

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about The Resurrection, the debut novel of Mike Duran, currently reviewed by the CSSF Blog Tour.    Stonetree is a town that has made a pact to keep it prosperous, but at what cost?  Ruby Case, an unassuming church member and homemaker, just wants to live a life dedicated to God.  But when she causes the resurrection of a young man, she gets a lot  more than she and the town bargained for.

Pros: The Resurrection is an excellent horror/thriller/suspense novel reminiscent of Frank Peretti. Mike does a great job of making the reader feel the oppression of a town ruled by demons/pagan gods.  I sometimes felt I was watching a movie instead of reading.  The town and characters really jump off the page.  There were a few times I wanted to shout don’t go in there to the characters!  The suspense builds from the beginning, leaving the reader anxious to find out just what is going on in this small, quaint town on the California coast.

The characters were likable, endearing, frustrating, repellent — in other words, believable!  Even Mr. Cellophane.  I especially found Ian Clark’s faith journey poignant.  The characters were not 2-dimensional as you often find in this type of novel.

Cons: Perhaps this will not really be an issue for most readers, but I thought there was a big question left unasked and of course unanswered — Was Armando Amaya (the boy resurrected) embalmed? I kept asking this over and over.  I even looked up the requirements in California for burial (yes I’m a geek):  no, embalming is not required, but certainly recommended for public viewings.  I don’t think the question makes a difference to the development of the story, but I did find it odd that not one of the characters asked.

My next concern, however, is more critical to the story.  Blood sacrifice is mentioned over and over. One character even goes so far to say that the life of every living thing is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11).  Yet there is no mention of the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.    The characters, depending on their perspective and spiritual inclinations, call on or sneer at the name of Jesus, but His sacrifice on the cross is not brought up.  Perhaps this is part of the book’s indictment of the watered down gospel in America today.

As a  whole, I really enjoyed The Resurrection and would certainly recommend it as a suspense filled, creep-inducing page turner.

Please visit the author’s website — http://mikeduran.com/

To purchase a copy of The Resurrection, click here.

(I received The Resurrection as part of the CSSF Blog Tour.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read others reviews, please click on the participants’ links below:

Noah Arsenault —  http://noahsreads.blogspot.com/
Brandon Barr – http://www.christiansciencefiction.blogspot.com
Red Bissell – http://tessbissell.wordpress.com/
Book Reviews by Molly  –  http://reviewsbymolly.blogspot.com
Keanan Brand  –  http://www.AdventuresInFiction.blogspot.com/
Kathy Brasby —  http://hobbiton-hill.blogspot.com
Grace Bridges —  http://www.splashdownreviews.blogspot.com
Melissa Carswell  –  http://www.hiddenvalleysimplicity.com
Jeff Chapman —  http://jeffchapmanwriter.blogspot.com/
Christian Fiction Book Reviews —  http://www.christianfictionbookreviews.com/
Carol Bruce Collett —  http://carolcollett.wordpress.com/
Valerie Comer —  http://valeriecomer.com/
Karri Compton —  http://www.kcreviews.blogspot.com/
Wanda Costinak —  http://campcostinak.wordpress.com/
Amy Cruson —  http://www.the160acrewoods.com/
CSSF Blog Tour —  http://csffblogtour.com/
Janey DeMeo —  http://janey-demeo.blogspot.com/
Cynthia Dyer —  http://in–and–out.blogspot.com/
Tori Greene – http://going-greene.blogspot.com/
Nikole Hahn —  http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/
Katie Hart  –  http://cloakanddaggerfiction.blogspot.com/

Joleen Howell http://www.faithfiction.blogspot.com/

Bruce Hennigan —  http://www.613media.com/
Becky Jesse  –  http://jessebecky.wordpress.com/
Cris Jesse —  http://crisjesse.wordpress.com/
Jason Joyner —  http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/
Carol Keen —  http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/
Emily LaVigne —  http://southernfiberreads.com/
Shannon McNear  –  http://shenandoahdawn.blogspot.com/
Matt Mikalatos —  http://mikalatos.blogspot.com/
Rebecca LuElla Miller —  http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/
Miritka  –  http://mirathon.blogspot.com/
John Nienhuis —  http://www.bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/
Nissa  –  http://linalamont.blogspot.com/
Joan W. Otte  –  http://www.leastread.blogspot.com/
Gavin Patchett  –  http://gavinpatchett.blogspot.com/
Sarah Sawyer  –  http://www.sarahsawyer.com/blog
Andrea Schultz  –  http://andrealschultz.blogspot.com/
Tammy Shelnut —  http://www.bluerosesheart.blogspot.com/
Kathleen Smith  –  http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/
Donna Swanson —  http://www.mindsinger.com/
Jessica Thomas  –  http://jessicathomasink.com/blog/
Steve Trower —  http://christiansf.blogspot.com/
Fred Warren  –  http://frederation.wordpress.com/
Dona Watson — http://www.fantasyandfaith.com/
Phyllis Wheeler  –  http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/blog/
Nicole White  –  http://www.theravenquill.blogspot.com/
Dave Wilson  –  http://facesoflions.wordpress.com/

10 Responses to “Book Review: The Resurrection”

  1. mike duran March 22, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Thanks for reviewing my novel. You’ve brought up two really good observations. First, the embalming. While you’re right about the CA law, I actually saw it as almost inconsequential. In other words, God can raise the dead even after embalming. Or autopsy. If He so chooses. To deny that would be to limit God’s power. I purposely avoided getting in to too much medical detail (Beeko probably came the closest) and chose instead to focus on the emotional / spiritual ramifications. But I think you’re right, a nod in that direction would have been helpful.

    Second, the blood sacrifice. You are absolutely right about its significance in the story and I’m a little surprised more people haven’t picked up on it. There is a reason that many pagan sacrifices culminate in a blood offering. There is life in the blood and, because of that, sacrifice can be immensely powerful — for good or evil. I think the implication is obvious that, as Christians, Ruby and her prayer circle claim the name (and works) of Jesus. In fact, at the Professor’s house, when asked who’s name the boy was raised in, Ian Clark shrugs and says almost matter-of-factly, “Why, the name of Christ.” Furthermore, in the Temple of All-Father before his attempted execution, Clark puzzles over this and finally says, “There’s been enough sacrifices” alluding to, in my mind, Christ’s (pg. 278). So while I don’t come out and have characters claiming Christ’s blood, I think it’s obvious that they do.

    Once again, thanks for taking time with The Resurrection and for your thoughts. Blessings!

  2. rbclibrary March 22, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    The embalming thing is probably trivial — i just couldn’t get it out of my head ;). About the blood sacrifice — I am reminded of the pastor in Francine Rivers’ novel And The Shofar Blew. When a solo is sung in church focusing on the blood of Christ, the congregation’s reaction is negative in the extreme. The pastor tells his wife/soloist that in future they won’t have any more distasteful songs sung. Lot’s of western christians want the feel good religion without the reminder of the incredible sacrifice made on our behalf by Jesus.

    Thanks for stopping by and your comments.

    • Fred Warren March 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      Actually, I think Armando *not* being embalmed is important to the story, because it left room for the skeptics to wonder whether or not a miracle had actually occurred. It’s hard to write off the situation as a deep coma, depressed vital signs, etc, if the resurrected person had been through the embalming process. Hard to recover from that without help. 🙂

      Fred

  3. Carrie, Reading to Know March 22, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    I think I’d have very mixed feelings about this one also. I don’t like being scared and tend to shy away from books dealing with spiritual warfare. I love that it made you go and look up the requirements for burial in California! Books that make us hunt stuff down are ALWAYS interesting for conversation at any rate, in my opinion.

    Thanks for your review on this one!

  4. Rebecca LuElla Miller March 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    The embalming issue didn’t create a permanent problem for me, Beckie, but I did wonder why all these people were “studying the issue” but not asking the one question that would give certitude to Mondo’s being dead. I thought that was essential because the doubters would not have an out (he just fainted).

    There were other aspects other than no mention of the blood of Jesus that … frustrated me, I guess you’d say. But over all, I think it’s an interesting, thought-provoking story. Not too scary for this reader who steers clear of horror!

    Becky

  5. rbclibrary March 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    I like scary, so this one was up my alley. Mr. Cellophane was very creepy. And the description of the demise of 2 of the characters got my creep meter up too.

  6. Jessica Thomas March 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Embalmed. Yes. That’s the word. (Couldn’t remember it.) I thought of that but for some reason, maybe because I was enjoying the story, I gave it a pass. Being resurrected after being embalmed would be…well…certainly miraculous.

  7. Jessica Thomas March 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    One other quick thought. Jesus’ no doubt bled profusely up on the cross and was probably mostly drained of blood. Even so, we all know He came back in a glorified body. So, I suppose if God wants to turn embalming fluids into blood at the touch of a hand, he could do it.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. CSFF Blog Tour – The Resurrection by Mike Duran, Day 1 « A Christian Worldview of Fiction - March 22, 2011

    […] 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 […]

  2. CSFF Blog Tour Wrap – The Resurrection « A Christian Worldview of Fiction - March 24, 2011

    […] coveted CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award. And the candidates are √ √ √ Book Reviews By Molly √ √ √ Beckie Burnham √ √ √ Wanda Costinak √ √ √ Cynthia Dyer √ √ √ Nikole Hahn […]

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