the dark man by marc schooley

Genre: Dystopian 

Premise: Charles Graves had a messed up childhood. His mother was taken by the government for her Christian leanings. Now, he and his father both work for the governmental agency whose purpose is to eradicate Christianity. And Charles is good at it. He is a master of disguise and can infiltrate any group to seek out underground churches. As far as the world is concerned, he has it all. But the world doesn’t know about The Dark Man, a sinister puzzle come to life that haunts Charles. Who is the Dark Man? Will he help or hinder Charles in his pursuit to seek out the last few Christians in Houston/the nation?

Theology: The war between the flesh and the Spirit

The Dark Man is interesting because the characters’ psyches speak to the reader as much as the characters themselves. Charles Graves is not quite stable, so being inside his head is a unique experience. Marc Schooley does a great job of keeping you guessing at to who and what the Dark Man is. I don’t want to say any more about it because I don’t want to ruin it for you if you’re going to read it. There’s a very powerful come-to-Jesus moment that is one of the best I’ve read in fiction. Well written without being preachy.

Rating: PG

I’m giving The Dark Man a rating of PG not because it contains anything younger readers shouldn’t see, but because I don’t think younger readers would understand it. This book is written with an adult or older YA audience in mind, as far as I can tell. It’s very appropriate/safe for the intended audience.


It’s mostly well-written for a debut novel. At some points I felt it was heavy on the internal monologue, but overall the plot moved and the story was entertaining. I wasn’t a fan of the ending. It’s not that the ending was bad, I just would have ended it differently. As I reader, I felt a bit let down.

Star rating: ***1/2

What is the best come-to-Jesus moment you’ve read in fiction?


16 thoughts on “the dark man by marc schooley

  1. I’d say the most powerful come to Jesus moment in fiction I’ve ever read was actually read to me by my mother. It was Christian’s laying down of his burden at the foot of the cross in The Children’s Pilgrims Progress. John Bunyan had done such a great job showing us the destructive nature of that character’s burden of sin, it was a relief to finally have it gone


    1. No. I have a copy. It may have to slide into my suitcase in September. However, if you’re not listening to Librivox recordings of classics, I highly recommend them. Great for housework. Anyway, the recording for the Pilgrim’s progress is good. I’ve listened to most of it after having read the book maybe 15 years ago.


    2. Best come to Jesus moment I’ve read in fiction. Atretes in As Sure as the Dawn (Mark of the Lion #3). Epic. Those who know this book know the scene. After the attack by the warring tribe, when Atretes and Theophulis are fighting and Caleb is crying. “Where’s Rizpa?” I think I need to go reread that entire book now. =)


  2. The best come-to-Jesus moment I ever read was in one of Peretti’s books. I don’t remember if it was This Present Darkness or Piercing the Darkness, but as the person prayed to God, I think Jesus appeared next to them (invisibly) & the angels were watching in awe. It was such a holy & joyful moment – I had never thought of it quite that way before & it stuck with me.

    Pilgrim’s Progress is a great book, although truthfully, I liked the revision Little Pilgrim’s Progress better.

    And you’ve got me massively curious about the ending, now! lol


    1. SoE and Lisa, it may have been the Little Pilgrims Progress I read. It was the one with gorgeous illustrations. Some of them (like the one of the dragon Apollyon) were scary.
      Speaking of dragons, there is also an awesome come to Jesus moment in the Chronicles of Narnia where Eustace (the spolied kid in Voyage of the Dawn Treader gets his sin-scales rubbed off by dragon claws. The dragon is really Aslan.

      e the Dawn Treader) gets washed clean
      by having his sub-scaled


  3. Oh my goodness. Eustace the dragon, perhaps my favorite scene in all of literature!
    I’m picking a different one, Melinda’s conversion in Seeking Unseen by Kat Heckenbach. She and Kalek have a very oblique conversation essentially about seeing the light. Oh my goodness, I all but did a fist pump. So, so subtle but those who know Kat’s stories are very allegorical can’t help but smile and whisper Yes!


    1. As long as it is Helen Taylor’s revision, I think you should be fine. Those look the same, just different editions. My copy is from the early 90s and has a different cover. (It’s on my goodreads list though.)


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