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Isabel Lyman Book Reviews by Izzy Lyman

The Visitation The Visitation
by Frank E. Peretti

You could say that Frank Peretti has three vocations: missionary, novelist, and trendsetter.

His first book, This Present Darkness, featured mouthy demons and multicultural angels, and was blessedly profanity-free. It launched a new genre - Christian mystery. Peretti added Piercing the Darkness, The Oath, and a series for children to his repertoire. His talent for mixing the macabre with the spiritual earned him unusual praise. “Stephen King under the revival tent” is what People magazine wrote about him It also made him a very popular author: Eight million copies of his books have been sold.

The author is back in fine form with The Visitation. Travis Jordan is a disillusioned minister and lonely widower who lives in Antioch, Washington. Little Antioch, unexpectedly, has become a hot spot for supernatural manifestations - a weeping icon at the Catholic church, glimpses of angels, and the arrival of Brandon, a handsome drifter who can perform miracles. As the townspeople fall under the spell of this David Koresh-like figure, it becomes Travisí task to go mano a mano with him.

The Visitation has plenty of spooky moments and a gruesome, opening crucifixion scene to keep fans awake after the lights go out. But the book is not just another entertaining, page-turner. Peretti, in fact, describes it as “the most difficult book” heís ever written. Jordanís first-person recollections of his past allow readers a peek into Perettiís own struggles with the contemporary Church. Itís obvious that the writer, a former Assembly of God associate pastor, is grieved at the shallowness and legalism that mars evangelical Christianity. He also takes a few potshots at clergy who have pursued stardom instead of servanthood. Amen, Brother Frank.

This article appeared in The Oklahoman on October 3, 1999.

Isabel Lyman lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. A former editorial columnist for the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Massachusetts, her views have appeared in various national publications, including the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily. She may be contacted via e-mail by clicking here.
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