Mar 22, 2014 · 2:30 PM
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This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti, is among the classic novels of the Christian thriller genre. First published in 1986, Peretti's book set a suspenseful standard in spiritual warfare story-telling that has rarely been met by his contemporaries. Set in the apparently innocent small town of Ashton, This Present Darkness follows an intrepid born-again Christian preacher and newspaper reporter as they unearth a New Age plot to take over the local community and eventually the entire world. Nearly every page of the book describes sulfur-breathing, black-winged, slobbering demons battling with tall, handsome, angelic warriors on a level of reality that is just beyond the senses. However, Christian believers and New Age demon-worshippers are able to influence unseen clashes between good and evil by the power of prayer. Peretti's violent descriptions of exorcisms are especially vivid: "There were fifteen [demons], packed into Carmen's body like crawling, superimposed maggots, boiling, writhing, a tangle of hideous arms, legs, talons, and heads." This book is not for the squeamish. But for page-turning spiritual suspense, it's hard to beat.