Sunday, May 10, 2015

Book Review: This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti


There has been a change in the population of Ashton, though it's been so gradual, a lot of people either haven't noticed it or have completely overlooked it. Marshall Hogan is a fairly new resident, the new owner of the local newspaper, and he has no idea what really happened to his predecessor. It isn't until his star reporter, Bernice, is falsely arrested that he stars noticing strange things going on. There's some sort of conspiracy in town, and it's targeting his daughter.

Throughout town, people are embracing a collective consciousness. They're having out-of-body experiences, meditating, and altogether ignoring the two main churches in town. The warriors of the Lord that watch over the town are losing the battle, and a new demon prince has just arrived. Ashton is in trouble, and Marshall is one of few who seems poised to save it.

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from

Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous plot to subjugate the townspeople—and eventually the entire human race.


This Present Darkness is somewhat timeless, in that it could happen anywhere, at just about any time. The year is never given, though based on some of the limitations of communication, it's definitely set before the internet and cell phones became big. There would have to be some changes to information gathering and the like if it were to be set in the modern day. A lot of what made this work was the town's relative isolation and its reliance on landline phones. Other than that, it could be set right now and still work in a lot of small towns.


There isn't a lot to say about Peretti's style, really. It's clean, sometimes clipped, and he clearly has a strong idea of what his characters are like. In my opinion, Peretti's writing style could be compared to the average person. I don't want to say it's unremarkable, but it definitely doesn't get in the way of the story. It's merely the vessel the story is told through. There's no overly pretty prose, nothing that really stood out to me.

My Thoughts

I have mixed feelings about This Present Darkness. For me, the book suddenly started to get exciting around the halfway point, and I sort of felt like I was fumbling along and confused before that. There is a large cast, comprising much of the town, not to mention the angels and demons fighting for control. It's a little too easy to lose track, especially with (seemingly) random jumps in POV.

It all did seem to click around halfway, though, when characters really started sticking out and then the conspiracy began to unfold. The battle for Ashton came clearer, and I really began to enjoy what was going on. I have a feeling that this will be a book I enjoy much more the second time around.

I do want to give a caveat. This Present Darkness is pretty spiritual, overtly and in subtext. It doesn't go so far to be preachy, really. In fact, it's very deftly done. I just wanted to put that out there for anyone who isn't interested in that sort of thing. It didn't give me some strong religious experience or sway my mind in any way. But there is definitely a Christian theme.

Would I Recommend This Book? I think so, yeah. Like I said, I think it will be better the second time around, after I've sort of let it sink in for six months or so, before I read/listen to it again. I give This Present Darkness a possessed 4 of 5 stars.

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