DARK MOON

Alton L. Gansky, Author . Zondervan $12.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-310-23558-3

In Gansky's latest inspirational thriller, which explores the relationship between science and faith, the world watches in horror as "Stiller's Enigma"— a crimson splotch on the moon— spreads across the lunar surface. When scientists and spiritual leaders fail to explain the phenomenon, chaos ensues: nations accuse one another of military buildup, and cult groups commit mass suicide. The U.S. president calls in astronomer Marcus Stiller, who discovered the spot, to advise him. Meanwhile, Julie Waal, an unwilling resident of a mental institution, watches the moon through her window and suffers terrifying visions of blood. Gansky's thriller is an uneven read, with moments of high suspense interspersed with too many pages of dialogue between Marcus and his father about faith. Overlong descriptions of the father's funeral and Julie's escape from the mental hospital distract the reader, causing the plot to lose steam. Gansky often overwrites ("Not even the dull ache that hovered just over his kidneys, the result of several hours of stooping, could take the luster off the evening") and offers his own enigma in the form of a disappointingly contrived, unsatisfying ending. However, he deserves kudos for the subtle, matter-of-fact treatment of Marcus, who is perhaps the first African-American protagonist in a CBA thriller whose race is not the subject of excessive and unnecessary commentary. The most delightful aspect of the tale is the appealing relationship between Marcus and his wife, Lucy, an attractive, savvy senior medical resident. There are also some refreshing moments of humor, a welcome touch in CBA fiction. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/03/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
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