Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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The Hunted by Mike Dellosso

Reviewed by C.J. Darlington

"Mike Dellosso could very well be the next Frank Peretti."

While playing in the woods with his friends, eleven-year-old Caleb Saunders is viciously attacked by a large, snarling, mysterious animal. His uncle Joe, a man struggling with his newfound faith, sets out on a mission to find the creature. Along the way he rekindles a friendship, and maybe something more, with the local Chief of Police who’s on a mission of her own. The two uncover things about themselves and the monster terrorizing their community they wish they hadn’t.

As you read The Hunted you can’t help but draw comparisons to another celebrated monster story—The Oath by Frank Peretti. Both feature heroes bent on finding a rogue animal (a bear in The Oath, a lion in The Hunted) who’s either killed or hurt someone they love. Their female counterparts are law enforcement officers with pasts, and there’s a spiritual battle raging behind what’s happening in the physical realm. The Hunted has a little less gore and symbolism than The Oath but fits the horror/supernatural vein perfectly. I cut my Christian fiction teeth on Frank Peretti, so it was a pleasure to find a worthy counterpart in The Hunted.

It’s refreshing to pick up a novel like this one which engages us right from the start and doesn’t shy from Biblical truths. It’s a dark world. We need more light in our books, and The Hunted lets it shine. It still delves into the gritty reality of its characters, but with a restraint that’s appreciable.

A recent trend in Christian fiction is toward vague spiritual references and good stories that don’t include swearing, sex or graphic violence but also don’t include much in the way of Christian content, either. There’s certainly a place for all types of novels, but it can be disappointing to pick up a book from a Christian publisher that really has no spiritual takeaway other than the characters believing in God. Dellosso’s first novel doesn’t disappoint. It’s sure to earn him shelf space alongside the “greats” like Peretti and Dekker.

I was honored to have the chance to endorse The Hunted as follows:

From page one The Hunted grabbed me by the collar and wouldn’t let go. It’s full of intrigue, supernatural undertones, and true-to-life characters. I highly recommend this superb debut novel. Mike Dellosso could very well be the next Frank Peretti—if you liked The Oath and Monster, you are going to love The Hunted.

C.J. DarlingtonC.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.