Frank E. Peretti, Author, Charles F. Stanley, Author . WestBow $24.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-8499-1180-4

In this long-awaited novel, Peretti (This Present Darkness ; The Visitation ) tells the story of a young woman who disappears in the Idaho wilderness and the ensuing search for her. The author's prose is clear and crisp, with only a few lapses into Lovecraftian hyperbole: his description of the novel's almost mythical setting is rich and detailed without being overwritten and his characterization of the woman, Beck, and the very unusual creatures she encounters is compelling. Peretti successfully incorporates several contemporary detective drama/suspense thriller tropes; one of his main characters, for example, is a crime scene investigator, and welcome doses of forensic evidence and DNA analysis are thrown into the mix. But the novel suffers from too many supporting characters, and Peretti's failure to develop them greatly compromises the conclusion. More problematic, though, is the novel's agenda with regard to the theory of evolution. Not raised overtly until the middle of the book, Peretti's critique of certain aspects of Darwinism eclipses the story and leads it to an unsatisfying and somewhat confusing end. As in Peretti's previous novels, those who hold conservative views are portrayed as heroic and those who disagree as evil. The novel's devolution into this simplistic moralism, however, will not keep Peretti fans away, and its many merits may attract other readers as well. 400,000 first printing. (Apr. 12)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 452 pages - 978-1-59554-152-9
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Hardcover - 429 pages - 978-1-59554-032-4
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