Review: THIS PRESENT DARKNESS by Frank E. Peretti

TITLE: This Present Darkness
AUTHOR: Frank Peretti – Web
GENRE: Christian, Supernatural, Thriller
PUBLISHED: Crossway Books (1986)


After RE-reading THIS PRESENT DARKNESS by Frank E. Peretti (1986) I am amazed by the spiritual warfare road he had paved. Peretti took a wild chance and wrote a book about a war between angels and demons. While it is accurate that they do battle, I have to say that much of what he wrote about how it works in the supernatural realm is quite fictional.

In the small town of Ashton, a preacher and a newspaper reporter discover a New Age plot to control the town and eventually the world. While this plot is rather far-fetched, just the simple idea of demons taking control of a town is realistic, even if it didn’t have anything to with occultism. But as the story goes on to show that prayer is the only human action that can thwart evil, I’m a little wary of this concept. The idea of Spiritual Warfare was a new thing in the 80’s and reading this book then, was like a revolution of thought. Not much of the way things operated in his book is biblical, so I just say… good thing it’s fiction.

I love the descriptions of the supernatural beings—the beautiful angels, as well as the sulfer-breathing demons. I grew up seeing things like this hiding under my bed. Today, I function in a prophetic deliverance ministry, which leads me to my next critique. Peretti’s descriptions of the violent exorcisms (I call it deliverance) is seriously over-dramatic. BUT if the deliverances weren’t crazy, would we want to read it? Hopefully, but it would have been less exciting. Speaking from experience, deliverance isn’t violent—and shouldn’t be! (If you’ve been involved in a violent deliverance session—I dare say it was spiritual abuse. Check out this website for real deliverance:

Anyway, the whole time I was reading, I wondered where the Holy Spirit played into all of this. It was sad that His angels were visible and Holy Spirit/God was not only invisible but non-participatory. I’m pretty sure that angels don’t live in a video game where they gain “life” from our prayers. That was kind of weird. I feel kind of manipulated into praying because my angel might lose its strength. If there is going to be a story about spiritual warfare, the Holy Spirit should really be more involved.

BUT hey, big fat kudos to his spiritually revolutionary concept of writing about the spiritual realm.


To rate this book: Just for fun, if it was 1986 I would have given it a 4: Very Good. But it’s not 1986, and Christian fiction should really be held to the same standards of secular writing. The characters were rather two-dimensional and the plot was predictable and dragged in the middle. I give this an overall score of 2: Fair. (Even though I will probably read it again for old time's sake.)