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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Walker's Vale by John J. Zelenski

Walker's Vale


James Cooper moved his family to Walker's Vale, Pennsylvania, in search of the ideal life. What he got was the just opposite. As this small town's eerie history is revealed and repeated, it's clear the devil is in the details and he's waiting for the Cooper's young daughter. When the FBI come knocking at his door, James quickly realizes that his ideal life may come with a steeper price than he thought. This story of faith, deception, and horror will captivate readers as one man fights for his family's safety and embarks on a journey toward redemption in this suspenseful supernatural thriller.

The Guru's Review: 


I must confess that I was hoping that this novel would be like two other haunted house novels that I have read from Christian authors. These two had similarities and differences but treated the same way using biblical spiritual warfare principles with the end result still the same, evil and demonic forces overcome by the power of Jesus name and the covering of His blood, His Spirit, prayer and faith. That is not a bad outcome at all, just goes to show great creativity within the essence of storytelling and how the Bible supports both these treatments. 

Where my hope was shattered (in a positive way) was the different take on the haunted house scenario that we are used to. While one of the aforementioned novels was based on a demonic entity claiming the house for its own dominion and the other having been invited in for the same purpose, Zelenski has the affected house and the region containing Walker's Vale a mere part of its entire dominion that the demonic force has claimed. I really liked this, as it took the dark forces and spiritual warfare outside the confines of just a house and broadens the scope of this horror and the effects on the whole town that goes back 150 yrs. This is backed up by the prequel (The Journal of Ezekiel Walker), setting the foundation for this larger demonic dominion and story line in Walker's Vale.

Demonic activity is scary due to its very nature and its origin. Zelenski has adhered to this very well in this novella but not to solely scare the reader. I was on the edge of my seat, riveted, totally absorbed and anxious as to what was doing to happen next and when the spiritual warfare was about to occur. While the demonic onslaught was occurring, Zelenski had not given any clues as to why the Cooper family were targeted (apart from being Christian) or what was the connection to the prequel and larger history of Walker's Vale. I wondered if this was going to happen as I was running out of pages, being very aware that this was only 134 pages in length! Zelenski finally delivered and it was a very satisfying ending with all ends tied up well. I actually cried at the end due to the blessing of victory and the miracle that occurred. 

So far in my reading of Christian horror, I am pleased and appreciative that the authors have not glorified the demonic or its horrific manifestations. Neither has Zelenski. Yes, the demonic needs to be described and shown for what it is but only as much as that in order to balance the story line with the clash between good and evil, angels versus demons, God's sovereignty versus satan's pride and arrogance. The same can be said for any inclusion of the angelic. In this novella, I loved the description of the angelic; that they were just as they are in the bible, messengers and warriors. No glorification of them here. In both these descriptions, the authors of Christian horror are honouring God, reinforcing His victory over sin and death and portraying as realistically as possible, the spiritual realm. This shows the spiritual warfare that Christians and non-Christians alike are up against whether we are aware of it or not. To be in the know and aware is where God needs us to be. This is one reason I am glad that Christian authors like Zelenski create novels where my knowledge of spiritual warfare is increased, my faith strengthened while being entertained simultaneously (some would argue that being scared is not being entertained!). Yet, dealing with the demonic in real life is not entertaining either! Serious and sobering stuff!

Zelenski deals with the demonic biblically in this novel using various principles. Ezekiel invokes the Blood of Jesus against the demonic entity. He also shows how long-standing faith in Jesus, as shown by Ezekiel Walker and detested by the demon, prevented this entity from destroying him over the course of the years outlined in the prequel. The author has also shown protection by calling on the name of Jesus during demonic onslaught by Jim when he was first attacked. 

Another element in a Christian's defence against the demonic is having a right relationship with Jesus. Zelenski deals with this by having these strange circumstances bring Jim Cooper to his knees, realising that his failing relationship with Jesus is placing him under attack from this demonic entity. It was refreshing to have him restore his relationship with God, repent of his doubts relating to his marriage and why his daughter has autism. Another element is to have faith in action as exhibited by Maria. She stood firm in the belief that no matter what was going to happen, God was still her protector and she had His peace and assuredness. 

I have only one complaint. The shortness of this tome. I had the same issue with the prequel. I look forward to Zelenski venturing into the arena of full-length novels! 

I am very impressed with the novels and writing of John Zelenski and look forward to his future works. 

I can see why this novella has been optioned for movie rights and is in the process of being made into a movie. It deserves it!

Highly Recommended. 5/5 

World Building 5/5 

Characters 5/5 

Spiritual Level 4/5 

Story 5/5 

Enemy Spiritual Level 5/5

Overall Rating: 5/5

_______________________________________________

Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet,

A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Walker's Vale contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Redemptive Fiction outlined in this booklet, (click on the title below to see what this is based on), I award John Zelenski with 

The Reality Calling Christian Redemptive Fiction Award





Congratulations, John Zelenski!


To read a preview or buy this enthralling novella, click on the Amazon link below.

Walker's Vale

It is also available online at Barnes and Noble, or autographed copies can be purchased from the author from his website at http://www.johnjzelenski.com/.

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