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A Thrilling Journey

Being unfamiliar with Brouwer's work, I dove into this novel with a bit of reluctance. Although my cautious manner remained, I appreciated the story. I ended up finishing the book in one day as I was enthralled by the story line. Just to be upfront, I thought the story moved very fast and the action also. Although some of the plot details were a little bit contrived, the whole of the story had a good resolution and end.

The story begins with Crockett Grey, a teacher of high school students for adaptive learning. What we find out early on is that he wins the trust of most of his students by his care for them. Also, we find out that he is a divorced dad of a five year old Mickey, but also lost his little girl Ashley when she was young. Down on his luck, Crockett seems to always be looking for that glimmer of hope, that time with his son and time to make a difference in his teaching. In comes Jaimie, one of Grey's students, disheveled but also having something that none of the other students have, a sense of darkness.

Jaimie is under the custody of Dr. Madelyne Mackenzie, a psychiatrist and part founder of the Brite Lights, a camp for troubled youth. What we find out early on is that Dr. Mackenzie is part of a coven of those who worship evil. With the presiding pope soon to die, one of the popes in waiting Father O'Hare (seemingly) is trying to lure Jaimie to Rome. In a game of cat and mouse, the reader is met with intrigue, suspense, and the cunning place of evil in the life of the church and world. At the end of the book, we find many twists and turns, and eventually Jaimie coming to grips with both her ability to see evil for what it is while also being able to trust those who are able to care for her without regard for their advantage.

At the end of the book Brouwer cites a few works devoted to research on the presence of exoricism ceremonies, demons and papal elections. What is more radical is the claims of the practice of Satanism in the Vatican walls. While I do not wish to comment on this research due to my unfamiliarity with the claims, the widespread coverup of sexual abuse claims in the church has rocked many people's faith and stance toward the church. What I do think the book has to offer is a serious engagement in a fiction work with the reality of evil in our world, from within the church and outside its walls. It is only when we see evil for what it is that we are able to combat it with faith without fearing the consequences.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah Press for the review copy of this book.


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