Fully four months ago I accepted “Invitation” from Baker Publishing Group with the promise of a fair and impartial review. They give me a choice of what I want to review and when I saw Frank Peretti as one of the authors I jumped at the chance, being a long-time fan of his. Well here I am four months later still trying to write a review of this work.
This is not a traditional novel or even a regular series of novellas. The four authors - Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky – preface the work with an explanation they they are will “write it like a TV series…[with] an overching storyline into which [they’d] plug… individual novellas, with each story written from our character’s point of view.”
The stories are supposed to be short enough that they can be read in one or two sittings. As I mentioned it’s taken me four months to write this review so you can imagine it required more than a couple of attempts to read the book. And, I have to confess I was confused by the format and when The Call wrapped up and The Haunted was presented in big bold letters on the next page I thought it was just a preview intended to sell another publication so I stopped reading feeling pretty undone. The Call didn’t really wrap up any storylines. But it had been such a laborious read that I haven’t gone back to The Haunted since I figured out the format.
I found nothing to love in the characters of The Call – nothing drew me to them, made me cheer for their victory, or left me longing to know their outcome.
The only Christ-claiming character is a college football player who’s so drunk on page one that his buddies are able to leave him in a tattoo parlor to awaken with a permanent stain on his body. The protagonist, Brenda, is the owner of that business who is willing to take advantage of the boy for the cash his equally inebriated buddies offer her. Her cynical character improves little as the novella progresses.
That pair meet up with a couple of other people and encounter an otherworldly phenomenon that I assume would be explained in a later section because The Call ends with nothing but questions.