This is going to be a really difficult book to describe, so bear with me. First things first: Valley of the Shadow is the second in a series, but it stands alone brilliantly. I had absolutely no problem figuring out the setting: there was no missing backstory that left this reader with a sensation of being lost. I do, however, want to read the first in the series because this second book was so mind-boggling, tense, amazing . . . more on that in a minute.
Valley of the Shadowtakes place in two settings: the real world and Interworld. Interworld is a place everyone must pass on their way to heaven or hell, although those who head to heaven mostly appear to just zip right past it. Those who fall into a coma or are not quite dead end up stuck in Interworld.
In Valley of the Shadow, five people entered Interworld at the same time. After "dying" on the operating table for 20-30 minutes, Conner returned to life a new man. He remembered absolutely everything from his time in Interworld, including the names of the people who arrived there at the same time he did. Now, with a brand new faith in God, Conner has looked up the other people he encountered and found that one of them is in a juvenile detention facility and another lies in a coma. Convinced he was brought back to life for some higher purpose, Conner tells his story to everyone and is rebuffed. His boss puts him on leave.
While Conner is attempting to find out what he can do to help out, Mitch (who is comatose) is stuck in Interworld and his father is on the verge of unplugging him from life support. Inside Interworld, someone named Nathan tells him that he needs to get off the farm where he believes he's been living for 5 years. However, time is not the same in the Interworld as it is in real life and Mitch has only been in a coma for 2 months. Mitch has been staying with a man named Howard and isn't sure whether or not he should trust Nathan, although Howard gives him the creeps.
See how complicated this is to describe? Basically, you've got people fighting to bring Mitch back from both sides, a juvenile delinquent who has brought something on the order of a demon back with him and may be beyond saving, a couple of men who think it's their mission to help out, and this black, scary thing that wants to grab Mitch and pull him into hell. And, a bunch of other scary things that pull people away, but . . . let's just say this is a really creepy book in a good way. In spite of the overlapping storylines, it's really not so confusing as it sounds. It's just difficult to put it all into words. You just have to read it. Sorry. I'm at a loss.
4.75/5- Excellent! A fast-paced, suspenseful thriller with a Christian theme, creepy creatures from hell, some tense chase scenes and a knock-your-socks-off conclusion.
Side note:My youngest son read this book the day it arrived; and, he also had no trouble with the fact that it is the second in a series. He filed a request with the Book Ordering Mom-person for a copy of Vanish, the first book in the series.
Just for fun . . . the following photo was taken during our home fireworks show. Fireworks are legal in our county, although they probably should have been banned, this year, due to over 3 weeks with no rain. Hubby hosed down the dry lawn and both guys stomped out stray embers. This is a photo my husband suggested that I take, of youngest son running through the smoke from one of our little smoke bombs.
I received two books from Paperback Swap, today, and I'm curious how other people feel about their PBS experiences. One of the books, a book of short stories by Miranda July, arrived in pristine condition. The other didn't meet my conditions. Lately, it seems like I'm running about 50/50. Half the time, I get books in very good condition, and half the time the book police ought to arrest the sender for tome abuse. Are you a PBS'er? If so, has it been a good experience or are you receiving a lot of bad books? Just curious.