Monday, July 06, 2009

Tom Pawlik's Valley of the Shadow ~ Reviewed

Valley of the Shadow
By Tom Pawlik
Published by: Tyndale
335 Pages

Back Cover:

Conner Hayden is certain he survived his near-death experience for a reason. He thinks it’s to save the life—and soul—of Mitch Kent. Mitch’s body remains on life support while his spirit is trapped with the old farmer Howard Bristol in the Interworld—a strange and dangerous dimension that Conner narrowly escaped during his brush with death in Pawlik’s award-winning debut novel, Vanish.


“There’s two guys—two kids in a car,” Jim’s voice was shaky. Out of breath. “I think they’ve just been shot…” Tom pulls you into his story quickly and he never stops drawing you deeper and deeper into his thoughtfully woven story.

Tom Pawlik has a very creative imagination and an exciting writing style that keeps you turning the pages to see what he’s created for you to experience next. Tom gives you a glimpse into a universe—interworld—beyond the physical, into heavenly realms and beyond.

I haven’t read anything this creative, refreshing and eye opening since Frank Peretti hit the book world with This Present Darkness. Tom Pawlik has a gift of lifting the veil for us so he can give us a peek into the spiritual struggle we can’t see here on earth.

The main characters thought of Eternity. “It was serious business after all. Eternity. Conner was surprised—and saddened—at how little thought most people seemed to give the topic. Death was the one thing they could be certain of, yet they acted as if ignorance would make them live forever.”

This author also has a good sense of humor, “Conner, you’ve gone from being a hard-core agnostic to the apostle Paul in a matter of weeks. Didn’t you think that might be a little disconcerting to some of your friends?”

This book is not for the faint of heart. Although there is a very powerful spiritual thread throughout the entire story the author reveals the evil side of this world and that of the next. It may make you feel uncomfortable, but it does make you think. There are haunting situations that are woven in the middle of some spiritually amazing scenes. Tom Pawlik stays away from being totally gruesome; I wouldn’t have been able to read this book if he would’ve gone over the edge.

I think Tom Pawlik has a good balance of good and evil portrayed in this novel. Please push through the parts that make you go ‘Hmmm,’ my friend, because this author also takes you to the mountain tops and your spirit will soar! It will give you hope, and a new perspective of just how much the Lord cares for you. You won’t stop thinking about this story after you’ve finished. You can count on it!!

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
Book Club Servant Leader

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