Diane M. Johnson
Horror, Mystery & Thrillers
September 28, 2018
Key Take Away: "...Diane M. Johnson was dead-on with her narrative and ability to hold the theme, message, and spirit that I believe she intended."
Honestly, it’s been a while for me since I’ve had the chance to read a story that has involved the church versus the occult. Good against evil. The will of God matched against Satan.
Well maybe that’s not true, but it was refreshing to read through a plot such as that where it’s not completely muddled with humour and angst. Again let me correct myself in making clear that I absolutely love humour in a character, the more the better, but in Perfect Prophet’s style, I will say that any silliness added would have taken from the soul of the story.
So no matter what I say below, remember that I truly believe in my heart that Diane M. Johnson was dead-on with her narrative and ability to hold the theme, message, and spirit that I believe she intended. Her words were not derailed with a misconceived notion that her reader needed ridiculousness.
The book sets out with the guitarist of a metal band, Alec Lowell, getting shot through the chest mid-performance. Through this commotion, we are introduced to the other members of his band. His “apostles” let’s just call them, although they are never referred to as such, but it's fun for me to do so.
I should add that for some reason when a music genre is usually written into the plot, I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth...I'm left with a feeling the author doesn’t really know their stuff.
Here I did not.
There weren't pages of lyrics (I’m not actually going to read those, you know that right?) And the bits of info I do get are enough to leave me with the normal coffee and cigarette taste that should be in there.
Cleo, the vocal, Paddy, the kid drummer phenomena, and Mark on bass (but also on the books, being the only one them concerned with the business side of things).
The band is the typical heavy-metal-stereotyped group. Drugs and alcohol are a must and the more satanic, anti-God and church message they can push with their music the better.
This adds some meat to the plot as all members of the band are, at best, atheists and must all come to terms with Alec's miraculous recovery from a bullet through the heart. Healing in record time, Alec is front page news, giving his band some much-needed publicity and also giving an ex cause to reconnect.
...“ohh btw, Alec, you’re the father of my son...” that’s not quite how it played out, but that’s the gist.
Lindy (the mom) is actually a nice lady despite her suspicious timing (suspicions from me, the reader, not to any character). Jake, his newly discovered son, is just a normal, sweet ol' kid.
Alec thinks Lindy is sweet as well, I guess, cause they hook up right away...telling Cleo to take a hike. In my experience with such situations there is much screaming, some possible threats, and definitely excommunication. By the end, Cleo and Lindy become good friends, Alec's genitals are intact as well, and I begin to suspect that beyond Alec's ability to heal himself, he has a godly ability to maintain peace among ex-girlfriends. Somehow there seems to be zero animosity in a situation that would at the very least leave the unholy presence of passive aggression. If this were reality, I am sure such a man would be blessed with a title of “Saint."
The Saint of “let’s stay friends," Alec Lowell.
Alec takes a reprieve from the spotlight and spends some time in his small hometown, living with Lindy and beginning his relationship with his son. Things seem to be going well for Alec, slowly dealing with the emotions and anxiety that should and do come with being shot through the heart (the "why me?" and all that) plus we start to see some decent character development in this new atmosphere of fatherhood.
Taking a side note here, I would like to thank Diane for how she took me through this bond. As the book progresses, we see Alec succumbing to the stress and fears of being responsible for a child, going from a carefree, don’t give a shit guy, to an "I need to protect this child, man" guy. In my opinion, it is written proportionally, not smushed in my nose. It is sincere.
As Alec deals, we realize he happens to be dead centre...or should I say in the “heart" of a satanic hotbed. I mean these weirdos are everywhere. It’s basically the whole town.
They are led by a young man named Lucas (cough, Lucifer...). Well, at least it’s not Damian. Either way, he and his deformed hand lead a group of robe wearing, orgy practicing, sacrifice making devil worshipers against the great Alec Lowell. There is even an entire black book in their possession that foretells of Alec's coming and the need to sacrifice him for their greater good.
(Sorry, I shouldn’t explain, but I am concerned you didn’t catch that...I wrote: for the devil worshiper’s “greater good"...that's super witty.)
Also, I should add that this black book was written by Alec's estranged father. You can guess that such a plot would start to turn into a hybrid occult soap opera. It does not. I’m still good with it.
So the scene is set for Alec to grow, through trepidation and toil, spirit and sin.
In a way, this is Alec’s coming of age story. His internal struggle with his own beliefs and with himself is as important as any of the external struggle we see as his apostles jump to his aid, ready to take a bullet or knife. If only one of these apostles would have pointed out the miracle of his new girlfriend and ex (that he abruptly dumped) becoming instant besties, Alec would have had the huge time-saving epiphany that he was, without doubt, the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
If you feel like me, and it has been a long time since you read or even watched a wholesome “saint vs. sinner" story, please take a look at this one...there’s something nostalgic to it.
You’ll get what you expect in a good way.
9 out 10 Hail Marys.
Have a nice day.