by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68
This week I read Book Two: The Haunted, by Frank Peretti.
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read any further unless you want to know how the story goes.
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All right, folks. Strap yourselves in. This one is a wild ride.
Okay, for starters, can I just say I love a book that stays with you even when you’re not reading it. I’m not talking like, “Oh, yeah. It’s on the coffee table.” or “Of course. It’s in my backpack.” No, no, no. I think you know I mean the kind of reading that stays with you mentally. Emotionally.
Frank Peretti has a style of writing that always grips me, and this is no exception.
This book is told from the Professor’s perspective. The fallen Priest-turned-pragmatist. He no longer believes in God, and will go out of his way to prove that everything has a logical explanation.
Through a myriad of, well, invitations, our heroes finding themselves together on a plane to Seattle.
Aww, Seattle . . .
They think they have separate reasons, but of course they don’t. The professor meets with his old friend, AJ Van Epps, who tells him of a strange, reappearing house. As if a house can vanish and reappear at will! But Van Epps has data to sustain his theories. Two unseemly townsfolk have died recently, and he knows the house has something to do with it. The House seems to always know all about its inhabitants. He talks the professor into joining his investigation. The professor agrees and heads into town where he inexplicably runs into Brenda, the tattoo artist, speaking with a psychic.
Brenda and the professor go in for a reading, not expecting any truth to be revealed. Earthsong, as she’s called, tells them about a boy, a prisoner set free, and other nonsense. Days pass with little adventure, until the professor is followed by what he can only describe as a specter. He’s being followed by a ghost! The professor braces himself and watches as the specter walks past him toward a house that wasn’t there before. The House.
Two-story Victorian, dull purple, richly detailed, turreted, with a covered porch and sleepy front windows.
The professor enlists the aid of the others, including Van Epps who agrees to stay outside the house with his video camera. The professor, Andi, Brenda, and Tank enter the house. It’s nearly night and there are no lights. It’s as if the house expects them. They take to individual rooms upstairs, using only their cell phones for intermittent light. But when all goes dark, three of the four have nightmarish experiences too real to be a dream. Tank is the only one spared the dark evils of their own minds, and he brings them out of it with his large laugh. Where the others had glimpses of their hells, Tank had a glimpse of heaven. Then, at the end of the hall, in the shadow of the moonlit window, is a young boy who promptly disappears.
It’s all too much, and they leave the house. Van Epps is furious; they need more data! They need to find out how the house does what it does, so they can harness its power and use it. The professor and the girls return the next day, to find Tank is already there. With a young boy. The same boy from last night. The same young boy tattooed on his arm.
His name is Daniel, and he has a friend. A big, strong, invisible friend who may or may not be imaginary. But where did Daniel come from? They’re distracted by something outside. Van Epps is mowing the lawn. His argument is if he does something nice to the house, perhaps the house won’t hurt him like it’s hurt so many others.
Okay, I’ve recounted enough. Except to say there’s some fighting. A locked door. An imprisoned child. A murder. And a tall, strong being who helps Daniel even as the winds of hell suck Van Epps and the professor toward its door. Will they be taken? Will they be safe? Who is this Daniel kid? Why does the house always know everything?
For the last week, whether watching TV or cleaning house or driving, I found myself worried about the characters. I forgot they’re not real. I needed to find out what happens next. And I needed that House to stop reappearing at every corner.
I think you need to pick up INVITATION and find out for yourself what shadows can do.
And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!