The Dead Rise First: Rapture Countdown
By Alton Ragan and Robert D. McLaughlin
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2008, Alton Ragan
Paperback, 207 pages
In the small town of Jordan, Oklahoma residents find themselves the victim of a shocking terrorist attack. A society so completely dependant on technology for its security and commerce has suddenly been turned upside down. Even worse than the uncertainty of their immediate safety is another problem that no one can explain.
People who have been dead for years are popping up all over town, appearing and giving witness that the Rapture of the Church is eminent but for the lost, the Great Tribulation. Who will listen to their message and repent and who will refuse to believe their own eyes?
Meet Jack, a pastor who is suddenly slapped in the face by what has happened and then baffled when he spots Sister Gregg, a former member of his church. The only trouble is the last time he saw the woman was at her own funeral. The town begins to shake at these events and as a church turns to their leader, Pastor Jack desperately searches for the answers he must give his congregation. How much time remains for people to repent is anyone’s guess, for Jack and his flock it’s a race to reach the lost.
The Dead Rise First is a fast paced, intriguing read for anyone interested in the Rapture. This book brings something new to readers and is provoking discussion among scholars with this one question: why do the dead rise first? Although purely fiction, the events are based on scriptural answers that unearth a new understanding concerning the rapture of the Church. Does it reveal a mystery about how God will raise the dead in Christ as seen in 1Thess. 4:13-14? Will it be the same way Jesus resurrected in Matthew 27:52-53? You decide.
I normally love a good end-times fiction novel. I've read through the entire Left Behind series, as well as several of the books that rode the coattails of the series' success. This book seeks to take a slightly different angle, by suggesting that the Rapture will occur in two parts: first, the dead who were saved by Christ will be resurrected just as Christ was in the New Testament, allowing them to interact with the living; and second, the living who are saved will be "raptured" at the same time that the dead rise up to heaven. I have no issues with this concept in regards to my own understanding of scriptures. What I do have issue with is how the authors jump around and use different translations of the Bible, sometimes HCSB, or NAS, or sometimes KJV. No explanation is given as to why one translation is used over another, and I personally believe that if what they are explaining is indeed the truth, one version alone should be enough to convey that message.
For a roughly 200 page book, the cast of characters is quite large, with very few unique characteristics to separate the masses from one another. There is no strict point-of-view, with the text switching arbitrarily from one character to another, sometimes first person and other times third person. Cliches are rather common in both speech and discription, and most of the characters seemed to suffer from rapid mood swings as transitions from one scenario to another were obviously lacking.
I grew up in church, and I consider myself fairly well-read in the general area of Christian Apologetics, so many of the arguments used in the text were very familiar to me and seemed to lack in originality or imagination. While I do not doubt that this book has much potential in regards to the plot, the amount of work that it needs in both development and grammar means that I simply cannot recommend this book at this time.
This is the first - and possibly only - self-published book that I will likely review on this website. I am a real stickler for good grammar and punctuation, and this book has neither. I had a hard time even paying attention to the plot as the punctuation was very distracting. If there was one thing I would love to advise the authors, is to please, PLEASE learn how to use a question mark!
The Cover: I actually find the cover rather good for a self-published book. The picture applies to the plot and incites my curiousity.
First Line: "Rachel woke with a start, eyes wide open. A tremor made its way across the land as a distant sound roared in the background."
An intriguing opening line, since I immediately begin to wonder what was the sound and what caused the tremor. There is potential here, it's a shame the book is caparable to a really, really rough first draft.
Read For: Pages Read Challenge, Take Another Chance Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*