04 December 2013

Book Review: 3 Gates of the Dead by Jonathan Ryan

Goodreads description (x):
Conflicted with his faith in God and the hypocrisy of the church, Aidan Schaeffer, a young assistant pastor, is in a constant state of spiritual turmoil. When Aidan learns that his ex-fiancĂ©e is the first victim in a string of ritualistic killings, he finds himself in the middle of an even deeper fight. Tormented by demonic threats and haunted by spirits, Aidan throws himself into investigating Amanda’s death; all the while supernatural forces have begun to attack the people around him. The more questions he asks, the more he is drawn into the world of a mysterious Anglican priest, a paranormal investigation group and a rogue female detective investigating the murders. As the gruesome rituals escalate, ancient hidden secrets and an evil long buried threaten to rip Aidan’s world apart.

My rating: 4 out of 5 hoots

I have to say, I think many of us can relate to the main character, Aidan, and his struggles with faith. Talking to many people stricken with Lyme disease, I've noticed how many of us have had our lingering questions about whether or not it was even worth it to believe in someone who would purposefully make one ill. The realization has struck me that most of us come out on the other side with an even more pronounced claim to faith. I've been through my fair share of battles, and I believe each has forced me to look closer at my faith for a reason. Aidan has just come crawling out of an emotional warzone, it seems, but is hesitant to admit it. He's blaming God for everything that has happened to him lately. He's acting human, which makes his character so relatable. 

The rest of the characters in the book were not just thrown to the side, though. Even if the book went long periods of time without any interaction from a certain character, you could still probably imagine what they were doing in their life from former details. In fact, so much detail was given, I was so scared something bad was going to happen to every single one of them. I guess I've read too much of George R.R. Martin's work. 

I wasn't crazy about some of the dialogue, especially between Aidan and his college buddy who he spent time chatting with on the Internet, but I understand sometimes you have to have that interaction or else it would just be the main character talking to himself in his head for, like, five pages. There was also a pet peeve of all the other characters repeating for Aidan to "be careful" to the point where it was as annoying as a fly buzzing around my nose. 

One thing I cannot complain about, though--it was well-written! I loved the imagery and how effortlessly the words seemed to flow. It helped me to have a picture of the crime scenes in my mind as the characters went on this scavenger hunt of sorts. I wanted so badly to figure the mystery out with them (or before them). And I have to say...I love it when a book can give me goosebumps. I haven't read anything with even a hint of the supernatural or anything related to horror lately, but this book--theology and suspense mixed into one--really took me for a spin. 

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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