The Red Church

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The Red Church new cover

The Red Church by Scott Nicholson

Before I get going on this book, here’s the synopsis:

For 13-year-old Ronnie Day, life is full of problems: Mom and Dad have separated, his brother Tim is a constant pest, Melanie Ward either loves him or hates him, and Jesus Christ won’t stay in his heart. Plus he has to walk past the red church every day, where the Bell Monster hides with its wings and claws and livers for eyes. But the biggest problem is that Archer McFall is the new preacher at the church, and Mom wants Ronnie to attend midnight services with her. Sheriff Frank Littlefield hates the red church for a different reason. His little brother died in a freak accident at the church twenty years ago, and now Frank is starting to see his brother’s ghost. And the ghost keeps demanding, “Free me.” Now people are dying in Whispering Pines, and the murders coincide with McFall’s return. The Days, the Littlefields, and the McFalls are descendants of the original families that settled the rural Appalachian community. Those old families share a secret of betrayal and guilt, and McFall wants his congregation to prove its faith. Because he believes he is the Second Son of God, and that the cleansing of sin must be done in blood. “Sacrifice is the currency of God,” McFall preaches, and unless Frank and Ronnie stop him, everybody pays.

I’m going to say it, The Red Church is scary.  I don’t want to go there.  I want to stay far far away.  What a tale Scott Nicholson weaves.  I’m not saying that his writing style is the same as (because he has his own style that draws you in), but this story reminds me of some of the great horror writers: Dean Koontz, Stephen King, etc.  That whole taking something that is so out there and turning it into a believable as you are reading it, don’t want to put it down type of book.  Comparing him to those 2, you know this book is going to be awesome!

As your reading the book, you (take that as I) start wondering, really how far out there is this?  I mean, the Bell Monster could be a representation of Satan, and you know the evil he is capable of would be similar to the evil that is feeding on this community. (Remember, you are reading a review written by someone raised Pentecostal, we were taught to fear Satan something awful, as it should be, not saying you shouldn’t.  I still consider myself Penecostal, just a little more tame than some.)

As your reading, you keep wondering if what Mama Bet is saying happened to her many years ago is true or does Scott Nicholson have another twist regarding that for us.  Two virgin births just went against everything that is in my core.  Everything I was raised to believe.  Everything that I do believe.  That helped up the fear for me. 

And poor Ronnie.  I think Ronnie is like every child that age.  I know I was.  Questioning religion, questioning what you’ve been taught to believe.  Questioning do I only have to ask Jesus into my heart once and he stays there or do I have to ask him in every few weeks because I keep sinning?  I always wondered that myself at his age.  Also, Ronnie is able to give some forgiveness in this book that I don’t think I could ever bring myself to give. I think the anger that I would carry from what happened would quickly turn into hatred. He’s a strong boy.

(Let me put in that this not a religious book, not at all, you wouldn’t find this in the Christian section of your local book store, it’d be right up there with the other thrillers like this.  But part (or all) of the fear factor revolves around this second son.  The one who thinks that he will save the world.  That Jesus the first son, more or less screwed everything up.  May I not be struck down with lightening for even typing that.)

Another interesting thing about this book is that Scott didn’t write it from any one person’s angle.  It goes from character to character, giving you a peek into the situation from other angles.  Loved that!

I loved this book.  I started it last night and stayed up until 3 reading again.  Then started back in on it today until I put it down, done.  Kinda sad that I read so stinking fast because the good stories go by too quickly. 

You can purchase The Red Church here, I’d highly recommend it if you like thrillers, authors like the ones I mentioned above.

It’s also available on the Kindle, and you know how much I love my Kindle!  The Red Church for the Kindle.

Scott has several other books that I am planning on reading now.

Burial To Follow

Scattered Ashes (short story collection)

They Hunger

The Farm

The Home

The Harvest

Thank You For The Flowers (Story collection)

The Skull Ring

The First will be coming out in 2010.  Hopefully I have time to get all his others read before that one is released. 🙂

Follow Scott on Twitter @hauntedcomputer and on Facebook!  Plus, check out his website, there is lots of fun stuff over there!

disclaimer

Thank you so much to Scott Nicholson for providing me an e-book copy of The Red Church.

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