Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Greg Mitchell: The Strange Man: Stephen King Rides Again!

The Strange Man (The Coming Evil)

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour
Book: The Strange Man (The Coming Evil)
Author: Greg Mitchell
Genre (Official): Christian/suspense
Genre (actual): horror

'The Strange Man' by Greg Mitchell has everything you'd expect from a classic Stephen King novel--- except the compulsive swearing, which I don't miss one little bit.

Dras Weldon was a classic slacker--- living for horror movies and GI Joe collectibles, unemployed and loving it. His older brother Jeff is the responsible one, a pastor who has taken over the church that was once pastored by the boys' father.

But there is an ancient evil afoot in the town of Greensboro, and when the reckless Dras comes face to face with the fact that the bogeyman, the scary thing in the woods, isn't something out of a horror movie but as real as it comes, he has to warn his best friend Rosalyn who is the Strange Man's next target.

At this point Dras realizes that just that when fighting werewolves one needs silver bullets, the remedy for demon infestation has to do with the Bible and Jesus--- it's Kryptonite for demons.

Unfortunately when Dras evangelizes at his girl Rosalyn--- with all the skill of a third grader--- she's offended. She thinks he, the preacher's kid, is taking a superior tone to her, the lower-class girl. So she remains in danger as Dras continues his quest to fight the Strange Man.

The book is a Stephen King thrill ride, up until it hits against the real problem with Christian fiction. The author sets it up very carefully that the Bible/Jesus stuff is a logical step when fighting this particular monster--- like silver bullets for werewolves or a squirt gun of holy water for a vampire.

But when I read the witnessing scene I thought 'oh, no the Christian message!'. It was off-putting. And I'm a Christian, I can imagine what I would have thought when I was still a Neopagan.

And in all honesty if Dras had set about doing some Pagan-derived anti-demon ritual I and many readers would have found that more in our comfort zone. Perhaps readers today--- even Christian ones--- are too biased against Christian elements in our fiction--- in most authors, the only characters who spout Bible verses and evangelize are the villains. Look at the second season of the BBC TV series Being Human for confirmation.

And perhaps also the Bible element makes the horror a bit too real for our taste. After all, most of us have been witnessed to/witnessed at. Regardless of what WE believe, we are aware that many people take such things seriously. Maybe having the Bible/Jesus being this monster's vulnerable point makes us a little vulnerable to the thought: maybe it's not just a scary book. Maybe it could be real. Maybe there's something out in the scary place in my own town that's out to get ME!

To read more reviews and such about 'The Strange Man', follow the links on the 'Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour' blogroll on the side bar of this blog.

Featured Post:
Lackey's The Oathbound: Thalhkarsh the Demon

Note-- the government told me to tell you I got a free copy of the book in connection with the blog tour.


  1. Ha, ha, Inae, I laughed out loud at your classification of the novel up there: "Offical-Suspense"/ "Actual-Horror". Man, ain't that the truth. It's nice that, even though it has the official marking, people can still see it for what it is :)

    You raise some good thoughts on bringing a Bible to a demon fight. There are pros and cons there, and it IS funny to me. You've got a film like Constatine or Legion that have crazy "in your face" religious elements. It's just--they're wrong. Or, to be PC, I should say "Scripturally innacurate". Nobody accuses Constatine of being preachy (they accuse it of being bad, but that's another argument). But, when you take the same approach except try to have a semblance of Scriptural accuracy, then it's preaching. Yeah, as an author, I believe it, too, so that makes me biased. But I'm fairly positive that the people who make these movies and paint an un-Biblical view of the supernatural don't believe in God--or at least don't like Him. So, aren't they talking out of their worldview? It's tricky, and a work in progress for me as a writer of such things. Thanks for reading and sharing your feelings about the book :)

  2. Hi Greg, I'm so impressed to have you visiting my blog.

    It seems like there's some kind of restriction in Christian-genre fiction that you can't call it a horror novel even if it is one. Maybe especially if it is one.

    A lot of the high fantasy novels I read have a lot of elements straight out of modern Neopagan religions like Wicca. (I know, because I used to be Neopagan.) People don't accuse these writers of preaching Neopaganism. Yet throw one Bible verse at a demon and you are perceived as having preached a three-hour Gospel message.

  3. Interesting thoughts on use of scripture against demons in mainstream literature--that it's not acceptable. But it's the only thing that works! Sigh. I stopped reading mainstream fantasy literature quite a while ago because it was too darn scary.

    There was a bit of extra preaching in this book, you are right. Could have been streamlined.


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