Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day One of CSFFBT of "The Strange Man", by Greg Mitchell

There's a lot to like about Greg Mitchell's debut novel, The Strange Man. Most importantly is this: out of all the recent claims to the title "Christian horror" or novels in the CBA (Christian Bookseller Association) touted as horror, this is one of the few that can actually lay claim to being the real deal.

If you're a fan of 80's horror films or pulp horror fiction, you're going to seriously dig The Strange Man, because all the required elements are there.  Small, isolated town.  Townspeople with things to hide, mostly their own weaknesses and spiritual frailties.  

An ancient evil that has risen, hungry to feast on these weaknesses.  Some well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning country cops, and the requisite "crazy hermit living in a shack who tells all the right stories to no one who believes", who is also the first victim.  

And yeah, Mitchell couches The Strange Man himself in some evangelical terms - demon, even "fallen angel", I believe - but, this is a monster book, full of nasty little trolls (The Strange Man's entourage) reminiscent of those Jawa-reject things from the Phantasm movies.

There's a fair amount of cheese to go along with this wine, though that read to me as part of the "80's horror package", because let's be honest: some of the fun in watching those horror movies were the lame-but-funny one-liners, usually from the bumbling, slacker-hero.  Mitchell doesn't overdo it, though, providing us with some surprisingly genuine humor.

Dras (one of the main protagonists) is an interesting character, a really nice homage of the classic "slacker who might blow it all but also might become the hero" from classic 80's horror movies, but he's also used by Mitchell as indictment, ironically, of the "uber" horror fan.  

For Day Two of the Blog, I'll take a little closer look at Dras, while Day Three will offer perhaps a cold splash of reality as I (as much as I LOVE this story) critique the actual writing a bit. Until then, please take some time to visit the other links on the tour:

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
Amber French
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Inae Kyo
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Andrea Schultz
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler