Beckon, by Tom Pawlik, is advertised as a thriller along the lines of a combination of Steven King and Ted Dekker. While the book does keep the action moving and contains a certain level of suspense, it was ultimately predictable and uninspiring. The author’s approach of advancing the perspectives of the three main characters in three different segments of the book was interesting, but never really allowed the individual characters to be developed. Once introduced to the first character, the reader gets to know him for a few chapters only to not hear from him again until the final third of the book.
The plot of Beckon involves a town by that name that carries the motto, “you are not here by chance.” Three strangers are drawn to the town for various reasons, and are thrown together into a plot that consists of a secret tribe of Indians, giant spiders, and a strange version of the fountain of youth. The author weaves in some reflection on the true nature of eternal life by incorporating a Christian into the story line. However, the Gospel is never clearly presented, and one is left with the feeling that the character’s joy and peace came when she “got serious” about her faith, as opposed to her husband who “just went through the motions.” Another character talks about her prayer life starting when she began going to church again a few months prior after a traumatic experience at work. Once again, no mention is made of salvation or regeneration, which makes for a somewhat disconcerting theological message. The story would probably have been better served by leaving out the religious overtones all together, except for the fact that the contrast was being made between the immortal life that these characters were striving for and true eternal life found in Christ.
Overall, Beckon was a page turner, but one that was incomplete and fell short of some of the comparisons made on the cover. If you are the type of person who enjoys straight thriller with some horror mixed in, you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for a more complex plot with twists and turns that leave you wondering and thinking, this is most certainly not for you.
I would give Beckon 3 out of 5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.