If you discovered that one of your neighbors was a werewolf, what would you do about it?
If you answered, “Move”, you are not Matt Mikalatos. He would decide to kidnap and cure the werewolf or, at last resort, kill him. Then – because silver bullets are so hard to buy and even harder to make at home – he would arm himself with a slingshot and silver quarters and go ambush his neighbor.
You are, I trust, more sensible than Matt Mikalatos.
Here I must make a distinction. Night of the Living Dead Christian is written by Matt Mikalatos and features Matt Mikalatos as a main character. Most of the book is written from his viewpoint. (The rest is written from the werewolf’s point of view.) I do not know what, precisely, is the difference between the author Matt and the character Matt; it is merely justice to note that the author might not, in fact, attempt to subdue a werewolf with a slingshot.
There are other characters who carry the names (and who knows how much else?) of real people. But it’s appropriate that some of the characters aren’t entirely fictional; the novel isn’t, either. In its largest idea, it’s an allegory. The werewolf in the man is the sin nature, the old self that must die. The imagery may be from horror movies, but the idea is Christian.
Night of the Living Dead Christian is also, as the title suggests, a satire. It’s actually a very funny book. Mikalatos makes fodder of much in our culture – the foibles of American churches, robots, mad scientists, monsters.
It is also a dressed-up theology book. The novel is a search for our healing, but the answer is not given as allegorically as the question. A pastor could splice together a pretty good sermon from these pages. What is unique is that the target of the sermon is equally Christians and non-Christians. Matt Mikalatos asks what it means to be transformed by Christ, and how we can be – and it seems as much a challenge to believers as a lesson to unbelievers.
I will dock points for this statement: “Hitler was firmly opposed to atheism. He claimed to be a Christian.”
In truth, Adolf Hitler disdained Christianity. His belief that the races were in a struggle was based on Darwin’s theory of evolution. That’s what all the talk about the great Aryan race was about: They were the fit to the unfit, and the triumph of the Aryan race over the Jewish race was the survival of the fittest. The truth of Hitler’s bloody philosophy has been too obscured. I fear that Night obscures it more.
I will also dock points for a small inconsistency. Matt is clearly portrayed as being knowledgeable about Christianity. He quotes Scripture from memory and casually uses the hefty, overwrought word transubstantiation. But somehow, he doesn’t know the story of the rich young ruler. Stranger yet, he fails to recognize the beginning of an exchange between Christ and a Pharisee – and then quotes the end of it.
Still, Night of the Living Dead Christian has many points left. It gives you much to laugh about and even more to think about. The characters, though generally strange, are generally likable, and thoroughly entertaining. Despite its comedic side, the story engages humanity’s deepest needs with great urgency and emotion. Not often do novels show so vividly that we must be transformed, and that we can be. Night of the Living Dead Christian challenges, teaches, comforts, and entertains. Try it and see.
Now – you knew it was coming – here are the links.
the author’s site;
the book’s Amazon page (buy it there!);
and the blog tour links:
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Morgan L. Busse
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.