After discovering a not-fully-human corpse with a face exactly like his Zeph Walker is carried into a mysterious adventure that my require from him more than he's willing to give. When Zeph was younger people saw him as a prophet of God as he communicates what he came to call The Telling to people thirsty for an encounter with God. But after a series of tragedies that eventually led to a racial deformity, Zeph has lived in seclusion, no longer to the voice of The Telling. But a group of people believe he is a prophet who may be the only one who can stop an ancient evil that seeks to take residence in the town of Endurance. Will he have what it takes, or will he finally walk away from his past forever?
Mike Duran’s latest novel THE TELLING had the feel of an episode of the television show Supernatural for me. It’s a dark story with elements of horror, but it’s also a story that explores that nature of the choices we make and the danger of silence and inaction in the face of incredible evil. Zeph suffers greatly in this story, and Duran gives us plenty of backstory for why he does what he does, yet it also has the feel of a hero’s journey because Zeph is called to fulfill his calling to combat the evil at the rumored ninth gate of hell at Otta’s Rift. Annie is a feisty and gutsy grandmother, giving the story some much-needed comic relief throughout.
The story was interesting and definitely had me turning pages to the end. The feel of the story was perhaps a little too dark for me, but that didn’t necessarily cause me to dislike the story. Readers may struggle with how some of the main features of the story line up with what the Bible teaches, given that this is a story written by a professing Christian. However, I don’t believe Duran was trying to put forth a certain theology; I think he was writing a story that for me very much had the feel of a parable, and the events of the story served to communicate what he was trying to say.
Overall, the themes of THE TELLING of responsibility and calling were things I’ve been thinking long and hard about after finishing the book. The book will appeal mostly to people who enjoy dark stories, but given that Duran is clearly a deep and often outside-of-the-box thinker, it’s worth giving the story a try even if you’re not into horror stories to perhaps stretch your thinking a little bit.
I received this book for free for review from Charisma House, and the opinions contained in this review are completely my own