Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CFBA Review - Isolation

Don't turn the lights off with this one...

This week's featured book for the CFBA tour is Isolation by Travis Thrasher.

The Millers need a retreat after being burnt out by bad experiences as missionaries in Papau New Guinea. Jim struggles with doubts about his faith. Stephanie is sleepwalking and having visions of blood and death.

Jim takes Steph and their kids Zachary and Ashley to an isolated house up on a beautiful hill in North Carolina as a getaway to reconnect with God and each other. The mysterious mansion, built by an eccentric millionaire, strikes them all as eerie as soon as they arrive and meet up with Stephanie's brother Paul.

Before they can leave, a winter storm traps them in the house, as it slowly reveals its dark secrets. Will they survive with their faith, or will they survive at all?

The idea of a Christian horror novel may seem counter-intuitive, but it really is a genre that is ripe for the exploration of good and evil. The concept of spiritual warfare lends itself well to a very suspenseful book.

Thrasher's novel keeps the suspense level high from the start, with an attention-grabbing opening chapter to the deadly finale. He notes Stephen King as an influence, and though I've only managed to read one of King's books, Isolation does cause white knuckles and short, gasping breaths in abundance.

The main characters are fleshed out rather well, but secondary characters don't come across as interesting or more than placeholders. There's some backstory that isn't explored enough for my taste, leaving me wondering too much.

It is an easy read, and the tension is intense. I didn't want to be interrupted during the last quarter of the book. He makes good use of the characters' thoughts to add to the mystery and creates a strong feel of turmoil and confusion.

The book is not for the faint of heart (or big honkin' chickens either). I found it a little disturbing, only in that kids are threatened, and I'm not a fan of that. Still, the spiritual themes are powerfully presented throughout the book.

Overall it was a good read and should be considered by fans of intense suspense or horror. The squeamish would want to give it to their non-squeamish friends!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Isolation, go HERE

1 comment:

  1. I liked your review and agreed with your points. Well thought and well done.