THE SECOND COMING: the most thought-provoking religious thriller I’ve ever come across

Posted: August 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Upon hearing the words “religious thriller”, one might be thinking of a certain brand of genre fiction that often includes lost gospels or mysterious, mythical artifacts endowed with miraculous powers that some evil military or cult leader wants to get their hands on. Global setting, smartass hero or heroine, lotta fighting, lotta symbolism, lotta clichés, cliff-hanger ending, right? You’ve read all that? There’s not a chance in Hell you haven’t. Some of these books get to the best-seller list as soon as they hit the shelves.
And then, there’s the book I’m about to present to you all, written by Mr. Scott Pinsker. Though described as a “religious thriller” as well, the novel, called THE SECOND COMING: A LOVE STORY(Thanks for the signed copy, Mr. Pinsker!) steers clear of cliché and stereotype, being a different breed of book altogether. The plot is very, very simple.
Meet Joe. He is a traditionalist, conservative religious leader who preaches a brand of Christianity that some might deem “hardcore”: salvation occurs through Christ alone, and man may approach God through thoughts rather than action. This is the message that Joe preaches throughout coastal Carolina, with such disciples as Peter Clay, a hobo with a murky past and Margaret Magdala, a counselor who sells her knowledge to the highest bidder, no matter how appalling the things these people have done are. Joe says he is the Second Coming of Christ.
Meet Israel. He’s a charismatic, very liberal individual with one prerequisite for Heaven: “Just render my creations holier than whence you found them”. Despising rituals and literalism, Israel is charismatic enough to appeal to those who feel discriminated by the conservatives of the United States: Islamists, homosexuals, such as David Shepherd, a speechwriter for key political figures, who lives with his boyfriend, Michael Waters, the recipient of a weird prophecy.
. He also claims to be the second coming of Christ. And each says the other is Satan!
The strong point of this book is how clever it is as a whole. The confrontations between the two messianic figures, together with their followers are filled to the brim with witty debates about the nature of man, God, Satan, morality, philosophy, politics, in short, what it means to be human. The description on the back cover hails it as a “groundbreaking novel”. Well, it really is. It’s the finest example of a thinker’s thriller I’ve ever read, it’s a piece of wisdom that will challenge and reaffirm your faith. It is meant to have you scratching your head in (dis)belief. A wise man once said a good book is meant to make you laugh, cry and think. This one has it all, with an impressive cast of characters, each with their own highs and lows: Thomas Acostes, a down-on-his-luck ex-standup comedian, Philip Pharis, a hellfire-and brimstone preacher, Abdul Al-Hanon, who wants “the plague of Islamophobia” out of the USA, shock-jock turned authority on the state of affairs Nate Konrad, and others, who gravitate around the two figures like moths to flame. Add a really clever piece of creative mythology involving crows and bloodworms(read the book!), an ending that represents the essence of excellence(READ…THE…BOOK!), and you’ll see why I rate it a solid 10 outta 5! Hell of a job, Mr. Pinsker!(or is it?)

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