This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
(Kregel Publications February 29, 2008)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Matthew Raley is senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California, where he lives with his wife and two young children. For fun, he enjoys playing chamber music with friends, giving occasional solo recitals, and playing first violin in the North State Symphony. This is his first book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Jim was at work when his eyes drifted to the coffee shop visible from his office window. An attractive woman driving a Mercedes pulled up to the curb . . . and Jim’s married pastor emerged from the car. When Jim delves deeper into his pastor’s world, will he be able to handle what he discovers? Is he right to suspect that Dave is having an affair? In the behind-the-scenes church battle that ensues, Jim is torn between duty to his church and a desire to show grace. A ripped-from-the-headlines drama of suspense that keeps you engaged to the last page.
Fallen is the story about Jim’s relationship with Dave—how Jim tries to do the right thing to keep Dave accountable, but finds the situation getting worse and worse. It’s also about Jim’s other relationships. Just as he discovers hypocrisy in Dave, Jim discovers his own sins against his wife and daughter.
I read this book intrigued by the plot - rather daring really, most people wouldn't touch the topic of pastor marital infidelity with a 10-foot pole. So right off the bat I thought Matthew had a lot of guts. The book was well written though the long bouts of just thoughts got a little tedious, overall the setup and writing was good. My issue came with content and mainly the ending. I did not have a problem with the actual subject matter (pastor cheating on wife and 2 kids and lying to deacon who confronts him about it) but I believe there should be a chance for redemption. Sadly, by the end of the book the pastor was the most evil man in town with no chance for redemption and anyone who had been a part of the church and believed a word he said in a sermon was a total schmutz. The deacon found some redemption, but the ending was really unsatisfying and maybe that is what the author was going for - that we shouldn't be satisfied with all the garbage going on around us. But I'm glad I don't have a copy to give away and I actually told my family not to buy it - but feel free to get a copy and check it out for yourself, just don't say I didn't warn you...
As a side note - I would read more from this author if the topic was different - I think he has amazing potential given the right outlet!