cover image Minor Prophets

Minor Prophets

Blair Hurley. Ig, $17.95 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-63246-1-490

Hurley (The Devoted) delivers a harrowing story of extremist Christian survivalists in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Eight-year-old Nora Delaney and her twin brother are abused and exploited by their father, Francis, leader of a militant cult, in the early 2000s. After Nora begins speaking in tongues, Francis uses her to recruit newcomers, and her alleged prophecies during nighttime “spell circles”encourage a false sense of love and community among the followers. These sessions also camouflage Nora’s fear, rage, and loneliness, the reasons for which are revealed later. By 19, having been abandoned by their mother, Nora escapes to Chicago where she works as a hospice nurse and makes friends who introduce her to a sense of joy and happiness that she never knew existed. All of that is threatened with the arrival of an anonymous letter warning her to “PREPARE YOURSELF” for Pentecost 2017, which triggers visions of the apocalypse. The story is told through long sequences of flashbacks rendered in convincing biblical intonation, culminating in a major twist that reveals what happened on the day Nora defected, as well as the depth of the manipulation she endured in her childhood. Readers will have a tough time turning away from this chilling dive into fanaticism. (Apr.)