Friday, May 22, 2009

Valley of the Shadow-Tom Pawlik

Valley of the Shadow
Tom Pawlik
Tyndale, May 2009, $12.99
ISBN: 9781414326795

Connor Hayden died from a heart attack (see VANISH) and his spirit was sent to Interworld, a place that connects the mortal realm with the spiritual one. Having been resuscitated, Connor checks on those people who died and were resurrected that same night. He finds out about Devon, Mitch and a few others. Some went to the other side. Mitch is in a coma while Devon is in juvenile prison when a stranger, someone he brought back from the other side, helps him escapes and tries to “save him

Mitch is in Interworld with farmer Howard Bristol who is keeping him alive preventing him from moving on thanks to a deal he made with Death. If he keeps him there too long, Mitch’s body will die in the mortal world and his spirit go to hell. God has allowed Nathan, a spirit like him, to help him return to his body on the mortal plane. Devon’s “helper” orders him to kill but his family and the Good Samaritan makes him hesitate. Connor is led to the Bristol farm to learn the truth of farmer Howard Bristol.

The lesson in VALLEY OF THE SHADOW is that people take actions and must be held responsible and accountable for them even when influenced by malevolence like Howard, the personification of evil who intends to abuse God’s will to turn the flock from the lord. This inspirational supernatural thriller never deeply preaches (though more so than its predecessor); as Tom Pawlik subtly uses his cast and story line to bring his message of spiritual choices and healing to the reader. Filled with twists including a great finishing one, this is an emotional uplifting thriller.

Harriet Klausner