Five Stars 

 

A little girl comes close to dying as her house burns around her, but a mysterious man with a glow in place of a face appears and rescues her.

 

A teenager on a bridge lowers a rope to make a swing for his friends in the river. One of them is a girl he really wants to impress. When his turn comes to use the swing, his foot becomes stuck between rocks and he begins to drown.

 

Craig, an alcoholic, suddenly discovers he can no longer stand the taste of alcohol. Something is impelling him to traverse the country.

 

A bitter journalist, Jacob Gentry, is given an assignment to expose a popular faith healing preacher, Randall Bloom, who is setting up a tent healing revival in Roanoke, Virginia. Jacob ends up exploring faith, what faith is, what faith does, and what God does, if there is a God.

One might think these disparate elements could make for a confusing novel, but the author deftly weaves all the threads together into a coherent narrative that satisfies.   I really liked that all the people, believers, doubters, nonbelievers, are treated fairly in this novel about a journalist trying to catch the big story that will make his reputation while discovering stories have multitudes of sides.

 

the author deftly weaves all the threads together into a coherent narrative that satisfies.

 

Jacob, a nonbeliever who wonders, meets Celeste, a believer who wonders, at the revival. He questions her, she questions him, and together they watch the performance of Randall Bloom as he prays on the stage for sick people to be healed. He is a dynamic speaker and the crowd on that hot, stifling evening is highly emotional. There is hollering and screaming when one man’s grievously injured leg is healed and the wheelchair falls off the stage. One person after another claims to be healed after being prayed for.

 

Despite Bloom continuing to remind the crowd that it is not he who heals, it is God, the people clamor for him to lay hands on them. When he attempts to wind down the service and bid the crowd goodnight, an unnerving event happens that leads to a riot and people scattering across the field, injuries, and police intervening.

 

Jacob and Celeste don’t know what to make of the night’s events. Neither does Jacob know what to make of accounts of a Bright Man saving people, mainly children, from disasters that would have killed them. Those events are happening in the same general area as Bloom’s revivals. Jacob thinks that the two are connected by people believing in the miraculous. He assumes the Bright Man and Bloom are frauds feeding off people’s desires to believe.

 

He assumes the Bright Man and Bloom are frauds feeding off people’s desires to believe.

 

The more Jacob investigates, the less he understands. He is shaken by the accounts of the witnesses and their reactions that range from adoration to stark fear to denial. So, are the sightings of Bright Man real or not? As Jacob’s certainties about life crumble, he attends the farewell sermon of Randall Bloom, and the impossible happens to him?

 

Aside from the rare typo, I honestly cannot think of anything that I really disliked about the book. I thought Jacob was a bit shoddy in his research in that he never interviewed anyone who claimed to have been healed. However, I have enough experience with journalists to know that many of them do not do as much research as they should. So, in that sense, the portrayal was realistic.

 

I highly recommend this contemporary paranormal novel to mature teens above 16 and adults.

 

Ratings:
 
Heat: None really, though there is a sweet love story with a kiss on a forehead and another on a cheek.
 
Cursing: None
 
Violence: Ninety-six percent of the story has absolutely no violence, but when it does, the violence is graphic and there are consequences.
 
Availability: You can find this title on Amazon.
 
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book with a request for an unbiased review.
 
Lelia Rose Foreman has raised and released five children. Everyone survived. She also homeschooled fourteen years with similar results. You can find her Christian science-fiction, The Shattered World in English or Spanish. She writes science fantasy adventure with her oldest son, a video game artist, under the name Rose Foreman.

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