By: Frank Peretti
Audiobook Read by: Kevin King
My rating: Good
I chose this book because I loved Frank's books from the 80s; This Present Darkness and Piercing The Darkness. Those books had me hooked and have been rooted in my memory ever since as two of the best works ever! However, whether my tastes have changed or Frank's writing has gone downhill, this just didn't measure up for me.
As Jack and Stephanie Singleton head for a messy divorce they blame each other for every bad event in their marriage, turning a blind eye to the mistakes they themselves have made. When they find themselves sucked into a night of horror in an old haunted house it looks like they will drift even farther apart, continuing to see each other with scorn and revulsion. Every hour they spend trapped in the nightmare takes them closer and closer to their inevitable death. The presence of Randy and Leslie makes things worse with Leslie seeing Jack as the more likely candidate to be their salvation and Stephanie seeing Randy the same way. As the couples get separated into these incorrect pairings, it seems that Jack and Stephanie's marriage is doomed for sure. The deranged killer that has them locked in the house, plays a terrifying mental game with them turning their own fears against them and feeding on the suffering he is causing them. As the night wears on they realize that there is no way out and the four of them resign themselves to the realization that they are most certainly going to die. As dawn approaches, they begin to discover that there is a lot more to this nightmare than they realized and with the help of a mysterious little girl that they find locked in the basement, they begin to discover the true nature of their own hearts.
The message in this story is a good one. We all need to take the time to examine our own hearts and be brutally honest with ourselves. So often we push the blame for our own actions onto those around us trying to escape from the guilt that we feel. The result of this is never good and eventually leads to pain and suffering for all involved. For Jack and Stephanie this inner horror was manifest in the real world but for many people a haunted heart is much more terrifying than any haunted house could ever be! If we can turn to Jesus and let Him help us deal with our demons and accept the blame that is rightfully ours, we can escape that haunted heart and live in the freedom of peace and joy.
I found the plot to be interesting but felt that the writing was a little over the top at times while sinking to monotonous lows at others. The characters were a bit boring and shallow and I found it difficult to find any sympathy for any of them. I loved the description of the house and would love to have a basement like that, minus the demons and the sadistic murderer of course! The entire book felt forced as though Frank and his co-author, Ted Dekker, were simply churning out a book to meet a deadline.
I listened to the audiobook read by Kevin King. Kevin did a respectable job bringing the book to life. His voices for the different characters were OK but not great. While not on my favorites list, Kevin is definitely not the worst narrator I've come across.
Overall, this was a good book but not one that I would recommend you rush out and buy right now. If you stumble across it or are a Peretti fan it's worth a try but I wouldn't go out of your way to get it.