Reviewed by Eric Wilson
Isolation by Travis Thrasher
"If you thought Peretti and Dekker's House was scary, it's time to read a novel that goes much deeper into the characters and deals with some real-life challenges."
Few novels in the Christian market wrestle so honestly with the tough questions. Travis Thrasher has given us a true gift with "Isolation," but it comes in razor-blade wrapping.
The story follows a missionary family on furlough as they try to find some peace after their disturbing last weeks in Papau New Guinea. Their faith has been put through the wringer, and the religious pressure to ignore doubts and pain causes even worse trouble by isolating the husband and wife from each other. Their time of expected rest in a huge lodge in the mountains of North Carolina is soon torn to shreds by a creepy environment, spiritual discernings, and ultimately some very dark deeds. They are being stalked by an evil both familiar and unknown, and their earlier test in PNG will seem like nothing in comparison.
I love the way Thrasher gets into these characters' minds, including the villain. I love his willingness to wrestle with the hard issues. This book reminded me of a Christian take on "The Shining"; and since Thrasher praises King in his acknowledgments, I mean that as a compliment. My only complaint came from some of the bonehead moves the family does in the midst of mounting danger. With a known killer in the large house, I would never leave my wife and kids to search alone. It'd be all or nothing.
In a sense, though, this is one of Thrasher's themes. Isolation is a killer. Even in the darkest times--or especially then--we need to turn to each another and do so with heart-rending honesty and the willingness to walk together, shouldering each another's burdens.
If you thought Peretti and Dekker's "House" was scary, it's time to read a novel that goes much deeper into the characters and deals with some real-life challenges. Thrasher and FaithWords deserve praise for such a hard-edged thriller in what some call the "inspirational" market. As a writer myself, I don't write to be "inspirational" but to be "challenging." And it looks like Travis Thrasher has taken that to another level.
Eric Wilson is the author of twelve novels that explore Earth's tension between heaven and hell, the latest of which is One Step Away, a twist on the story of Job. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters. Visit him online at his website.