Sunday, July 03, 2005

DEAD OF NIGHT by Brandilyn Collins

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.03.2005

DEAD OF NIGHT by Brandilyn Collins

From the back cover:

All words fell away. I pushed myself off the path, noticing for the first time the signs of earlier passage—the matted earth, broken twigs. And I knew. My mouth turned cottony. I licked my lips, took three halting steps. My maddening, visual brain churned out pictures of colorless faces on a cold slab—Debbie Lille, victim number one; Wanda Deminger, number three . . . He’d been here. Dragged this one right where I now stumbled. I’d entered a crime scene, and I could not bear to see what lay at the end. . . .

This is a story about evil. This is a story about God’s power.

A string of murders terrorizes citizens in the Redding, California, area. The serial killer is cunning, stealthy. Masked by day, unmasked by night. Forensic artist Annie Kingston discovers the sixth body practically in her own back yard. Is the location a taunt aimed at her?

One by one, Annie must draw the unknown victims for identification. Dread mounts. Who will be taken next? Under a crushing oppression, Annie and other Christians are driven to pray for God’s intervention as they’ve never prayed before.

With page-turning intensity, Dead of Night dares to pry open the mind of evil. Twisted actions can wreak havoc on earth, but the source of wickedness lies beyond this world. Annie learns where the real battle takes place—and that a Christian’s authority through prayer is the ultimate, unyielding weapon.

Camy here:

I think this is the best book so far in Brandilyn Collins' "Hidden Faces" series. It has a twisted, complex criminal, an emotionally tangling plot, and a powerful spiritual message.

This is definitely more graphic than previous books. The prologue gives the reader a very good feel for the intensity level to expect. Christian readers who might be frightened or disturbed by the violence of the crimes can gauge their comfort level after reading the first two pages.

I personally was not too disturbed by the violence of the crimes. It added to the suspense, and it also made me feel more for the characters threatened by the serial murderer, who is very creepy.

It was nice to see the main character Annie push herself harder in her profession, her courage, and her faith. I related to her weaknesses but I also cheered her acts of bravery, her steps of growth.

The spiritual thread reminded me in vivid prose of the supernatural might of Christians' prayers. Brandilyn herself is a valiant, sensitive prayer warrior, and it was riveting to read the power-filled prayer lives she describes in Annie and her friends.

The plot twists and builds tension without becoming confusing. I didn't guess the identity of the murderer until a few pages before it was revealed.

This kind of intense character and crime might appeal to teenagers, especially considering the kinds of hacker/slasher horror films they're bombarded with. This storyline has a Godly message that I personally believe might speak to teens in a way that a Sunday sermon might not, and I wouldn't hesitate to loan this book to any of the high school students I work with in my church youth group.

I'm looking forward to the fourth and final book, coming out in January 2006.

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