I often find myself caught between two worlds, coming from a background of traditional Christian publishing and struggling to find myself in a cutthroat world of secular publishing. I therefore have a soft place in my heart when I find an author who can successfully navigate both worlds. Christian publishing–and music to a lesser degree–has been criticized as being unrealistic, afraid to embrace the sensational, and highly predictable. I now have hope that that doesn’t have to be the case.
A student writer of mine told me about a new book called “Winter” written by Kevin Newsome. She suggested that it could be classified as Christian horror, a genre I have wondered about for a long time. Although I would not classify it as Christian horror, it does deal with the supernatural aspect of Christianity that Christian writers often either ignore or are light handed about. And it’s well done. If you are a Christian, you should believe in God and angels. And if you believe in them, you should also believe in Satan and his followers, including supernatural ones. And how else can you explain the terrible things that happen in the world other than the fact that the two forces are at war with each other–unseen and unnoticed by most of us?
Anyway, enough writing philosophy. About the book. Here’s the description that is included on its Amazon page: “Winter Maessen didn’t ask for the gift of prophecy. She’s happy being a freak – but now everyone thinks she’s crazy. Or evil. Goths aren’t all the same, you know. Some are Christians. …Christians to whom God sends visions. Students at her university are being attacked, and Winter knows there’s more than flesh and blood at work. Her gift means she’s the only one who can stop it – but at what price?”
I don’t want to give too much away, and that’s why I include the author’s description. The book is about a girl who goes to college and discovers that God is speaking to her in ways that are not typical. With this gift comes responsibility, including solving a murder. The characters are well done, the plotline keeps you interested, and he does well what I consider the biggest challenge in writing Christian suspense: keeping an interesting story going while bringing in a significant Christian message.
A caveat: this is a first novel written by a graduate theology student. It also strikes me as independently published. There are lapses where I questioned the plausibility of the story, or his knowledge of what would happen in a given situation. I also would recommend he change his e-book formatting from spaces between paragraphs to straight paragraphs with indents. But those are minor issues, probably more important to me because I do that sort of thing.
The bottom line is that I recommend this book to anyone interested in Christian suspense, particularly young female readers (and I know there are a lot of you). I would give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. I think the author has done Christian suspense a service by providing another way to see God’s leading in a secular world. And I look forward to seeing what else he has to share.