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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

When the Day of Evil Comes

When the Day of Evil Comes is book one of the Dylan Foster series and, with Dylan Foster, it introduces a literary character whose company I think I would enjoy in the real world. Dylan, a Southern Methodist University psychology professor, is one of those down-to-earth types not easily impressed by status symbols and those who flaunt them, someone who never quite loses her sense of humor about herself and those around her no matter what crazy turns her life might take, including the discovery that a demon from the spirit world is determined to destroy her.

That particular demon, who calls himself Peter Terry, is a bald, emaciated and very white-skinned man with an ugly horizontal wound across his back who makes contact with Dylan at a faculty outing that she is attending with fellow SMU professors. Spooky as the man is from the start, Dylan does not realize his intentions (or his true nature) toward her until she makes the connection between him and the student who suddenly files a formal complaint that Dylan made sexual advances toward him during his visits to her office for psychological counseling.

Dylan is removed from the classroom pending a formal investigation of the charges against her and, just when she thinks that things could not possibly get any worse, they do. She knows, of course, that she cannot defend herself by explaining to the investigative committee that her problems are being caused by harassment from a local demon. But when a second student’s sanity is threatened by the same Peter Terry, Dylan realizes that she has to move quickly and heads for Chicago hoping to learn more about the young man whose complaint started all of her problems.

When the Day of Evil Comes is a mystery and thriller combination that will satisfy fans of both genres. In order to defend herself in Dallas, Dylan Foster has to delve into the secrets of a Chicago family that has kept them hidden for decades, and she has to do it while enduring psychological tricks and physical threats from Peter Terry. Dylan defends herself from this demon through prayer, help from one little girl’s personal angel, and by covering herself with the spiritual armor described in Ephesians, chapter six.

This struggle between the forces of good and evil fits firmly into the Christian fiction genre but Melanie Wells makes her religious points in a way that are not so obvious or preachy that they intrude on the story being told. Dylan Foster is the kind of Christian that most of us probably are: a little bit lazy about the whole thing at times but quick to ask for help when we find ourselves over our heads in some kind of panic situation. The message is that there are bigger and better weapons on the side of good than on the side of evil – if we remember to ask for them.

I have not read the second novel in the series yet but my first exposure to Dylan Foster and Peter Terry was with book three, My Soul to Keep. After reading that one, I was a little surprised to learn that I had just finished something in the Christian fiction genre, a type of reading I rarely do, because its religious references are so much more subtle than in this first book. But now that I have read When the Day of Evil Comes it is easy to see why these books have been embraced by the Christian community, and I suggest that they be read in order if at all possible in order to get their full impact.

Rated at: 4.0

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