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.
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?