The Resurrection, Day 1: The Supernatural and Christian Horror

Christian Fantasy CSFF Blog Tour

I have a confession. For the first time since participating in the CSFF blog tour, I haven’t read the featured book–the reason being genre. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a follower of Mike’s blog and appreciate his thoughtful discussions of various issues related to faith and writing, and I have every reason to believe I would enjoy his fiction writing style as well. It’s just that I don’t read “supernatural suspense”–the Christian term for horror. The few times I’ve attempted to read in the genre, I’ve regretted it. By no means do I think Christian horror is intrinsically flawed, but it reminds me too much of recurring nightmares and childhood fears to make it an entertaining or even thought-provoking reading experience. My vivid imagination needs no further provocation regarding the dark side of the supernatural realm, however redemptive the conclusion. So after hearing The Resurrection branded as horror and hearing reviewers speak of it as creepy/eerie and refer to ghosts and the occult, I determined this wasn’t a book for me.

That said, I’m still excited about the tour. I expect interesting discussion to come forth, and I look forward to hearing the perspective of those who have read the tale. In addition, I know there are many who love this genre, and I’m happy to see writers entering this realm and addressing the realities of the supernatural world around us in a way that (presumably) portrays the reality of darkness without glorifying it. In fact, from the description of the book, it sounds like The Resurrection is equally swift to highlight the astounding ways God moves in the world around us as it is the realities of the demonic realm. So those of you who enjoy this genre of supernatural suspense/horror will want to visit this one. Here’s a bit about the book:

When Ruby Case raises a boy from the dead, she creates uproar in the quiet coastal town of Stonetree. Some brand her a witch; others, a godsend. But the controversy is just the beginning. For this resurrection has awakened more than just a dead boy…

Reverend Ian Clark does not believe in miracles. Haunted by demons, both past and present, he is resigning from the ministry and has no interest in the city’s spiritual climate, much less its urban legends. But he is about to get a wake-up call…

As Ruby and Reverend Clark are thrust into a desperate search for answers, they quickly realize that the forces unleashed by Ruby now threaten to destroy them. Can they overcome their own brokenness before they—and the entire town—become victims of this insidious evil?

Since I’ve shared from the perspective of one who doesn’t read horror, I’d like to hear from those who enjoy the genre. What about the genre appeals to you? And did you feel that this book was a horror novel, or was the genre label a misnomer? If you’re more like me and don’t usually read this sort of tale, you’re still free to add your thoughts to the mix!

I also invite you to come back Wednesday and hear what the author has to say about Christian horror and his response to arguments against the genre.

For more discussion on The Resurrection, visit some of the tour participants below:


Comments

  • Rebecca LuElla Miller
    March 21, 2011 - 5:03 pm · Reply

    Sarah, thanks so much for your continued support of the books CSFF features.

    I’m with you when it comes to steering away from horror. I decided to give this one a try, though. I’m still reading (will post my review on Wednesday), but well past the half way point, I have had no problem with the fear factor. (I started out avoiding the book at night, but I’m not concerned about that any more.)

    Looking forward to what Mike has to say on Wednesday.

    Becky

    • Sarah Sawyer
      March 21, 2011 - 8:42 pm · Reply

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there, Becky! I’m looking forward to reading your review, since you’re one who normally doesn’t read this genre (and since you always give a well-thought out perspective). I’m going to be watching with interest what you and others have to say about the creepiness factor.

      By the way, I’m amazed at how you manage to visit so many of the tour blogs! Thanks for all you do to organize the event. 🙂

      • Rebecca LuElla Miller
        March 22, 2011 - 12:43 pm · Reply

        Thanks for your kind comments, Sarah. I really do love reading what tour participants say about our features. God’s given me the time to do this, so I’m enjoying it.

        About horror, I wrote a post on the subject at Spec Faith if you’re interested in seeing how my thinking on the subject has changed in the last few years.

        I still don’t see what people who love the genre see in it. 😉 The rush, I’m told, which makes sense of what Jessica said.

        Because The Resurrection isn’t really horror inducing, I wondered what those who like the shiver of genuine horror would think.

        Becky

        • Sarah Sawyer
          March 23, 2011 - 6:35 pm · Reply

          Interesting post, Becky! I agree with your assessment that horror/supernatural suspense explores good and evil in a different way than fantasy does. While fantasy addresses issues of good and evil, there’s typically not so much emphasis on the dark side of things. The greater distance from the reality of our world makes a difference too, as you mentioned.

          I’ve seen a number of people so far mention The Resurrection didn’t provide as scary of a read as they expected. It’s funny how what is desirable to one reader is unpleasant to another!

  • Jessica Thomas
    March 21, 2011 - 9:35 pm · Reply

    I agree with Becky. The way Mike handled the story…it has creepy elements, but somehow he manages to handle them in a not so creepy way. I don’t know if he did that on purpose. But he always seems to hover above the darkness somehow. That actually disappointed me a little. Since it’s supernatural, I expected to get more goosebumps. (I say I don’t like books that give me nightmares, then when a book doesn’t give me nightmares, I balk. Impossible to please…)

    • Sarah Sawyer
      March 23, 2011 - 6:40 pm · Reply

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Jessica! The way you describe it actually makes the book sound more appealing to me. I don’t mind intense stories with edge of your seat suspense or tales that delve into difficult topics of abuse and the like, but I don’t want shiver inducing fear. As an aside, I think writers are the hardest readers to please–we all have strong tastes and plenty of opinions. 🙂

  • Jason Joyner
    March 22, 2011 - 12:03 am · Reply

    Sarah,

    First of all, I continue to have trouble posting comments here at work, where I do a lot of surfing at lunch.

    Second, I’m actually not a big horror fan. I can’t do Stephen King or harder horror like that. I have enjoyed Mike Dellosso in the CBA realm, and he is a little stronger. Mike actually keeps things in the suspense realm without getting too “dark” or whatever. I know he enjoys that type of writing, but IMO he just brushes up against these without delving in. I bet you could enjoy it, but I certainly understand protecting yourself when you know your limits.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      March 23, 2011 - 6:51 pm · Reply

      I’m sorry you’ve had such troubles, Jason! Thanks for persisting. If you happen to stop back by, could you let me know what browser and operating system you’re using at work? I’d like to see if I can pin down the cause of the issue.

      You seem in the majority with your opinion that Mike didn’t delve too deep into the horror genre, which makes me think I might be able to read this one. I was more reluctant to pick it up after reading several CBA books that went pretty far into the horror side of supernatural (certainly too far for my reading tastes) without much warning, and I didn’t want to request a review copy for a book I might not be inclined to finish. But I may end up giving it a try one day. 🙂

  • Evangeline Denmark
    March 22, 2011 - 11:24 am · Reply

    I normally have no use for the horror genre. Honestly, there’s enough horror in the real world. When I see a preview for a horror film I just can’t imagine why someone would want to see it and what watching that stuff does to their brain.

    But I am interested in this book and would like to read it. I feel like I can trust a Christian author not to go to dark places for the love of darkness but to go there so the light will shine all the brighter.

    From the above comments, it sounds like that’s what Mike has done. I particularly liked the way Jessica put it–that he “hovers above the darkness.”

    I’ll be checking this book out. Thanks for the post!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      March 23, 2011 - 7:03 pm · Reply

      I’m with you in that I trust Christian authors not to explore darkness for gratuitous reasons, but I’ve also come to realize that I have a certain threshold for the supernatural type of darkness that I prefer not to cross. Still, I know those tales can have powerfully redemptive themes, and that was one of the reasons I wanted to participate in the tour even though I didn’t think the book would suit me personally.

      Most tour members seem to agree that this wasn’t a fear-inducing book, but I saw a commenter on Becky’s blog say it was too scary for her to finish. I remember hearing a number of people comment on how frightening Shade (by John Olson) was, but I read it without so much as a second blink or a moment of fear. I suppose it’s really just a matter of personal taste and how things impact each individual.

      I hope you enjoy the tale! I’ll be curious to hear what you think. 🙂

  • Grace Bridges
    March 22, 2011 - 8:26 pm · Reply

    I haven’t quite finished the book yet either, but I do feel the horror tag is a misnomer from what I’ve seen so far. It’s no more horror than, say, a combination of The Screwtape Letters and Peretti’s Prophet. The scariest thing so far was a rather passive ghost (or is it? I have yet to find out) who did nothing at all.

    There is a great difference between supernatural and horror in my view. I won’t touch horror myself normally, but I do like a good supernatural story. Things are going to get interesting soon as I’m starting up a new imprint to publish these things – but the Splashdown Darkwater stuff will definitely be more supernatural than horror. I have to work with the stories, and I don’t want nightmares, either!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      March 23, 2011 - 7:10 pm · Reply

      Interesting thoughts. After reading over some of the other tour posts, I began to suspect the horror label might not be an apt one, so I appreciate you sharing from the perspective of one who has read the story.

      I think you’re right in noting a difference between tales that explore the supernatural and outright horror (though genre lines are often hazy at best and publishers don’t help with the moniker “supernatural suspense”). I’ll be interested to see where things go with Darkwater and what sort of tales you end up acquiring!

      By the way, I think you’ve hit on one of the primary benefits of working as a publisher–you get to put out what you enjoy reading. 🙂

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