When Night Comes
By Dan Walsh
Bainbridge Press, 2014
Jack Turner comes back to Culpepper to give a series of lectures for his old history professor. Within days, he starts having bizarre experiences at night. Like he’s traveling back in time, experiencing the epic events in his lectures firsthand. He has no control over these experiences and can’t make them stop.
Joe Boyd thought he’d left big city crime back in Pittsburgh when he took a detective job in Culpepper, Georgia, a sleepy southern college town. His peaceful life ends when two students turn up dead in two weeks. The coroner is saying natural causes, but something doesn’t add up.
Rachel Cook, a teaching assistant at Culpepper, can’t believe Jack is back in her life again. She’s had a crush on him since she was fourteen, but Jack never knew. He instantly seems attracted to her, but she can tell…something is deeply troubling him.
Watching all this from a distance is Nigel Avery. He’s certain this experiment’s about to unravel. It’ll be his job to tie up all the loose ends when it does.
Although I knew that When Night Comes was a departure from the style for which Dan Walsh is known, I was eager to read this story because I enjoy his writing so much, and I was in no way disappointed.
Fans of Dan Walsh's previous novels will find When Night Comes very different. It's entertaining suspense. It's not Christian fiction, but rather fiction written by a Christian. It's written from a biblical worldview, but without the emotional and spiritual themes that run through his other novels. Sometimes reviewers subtract rating stars due to these factors, and I don't think that's fair, because When Night Comes is in a different class and therefore shouldn't be compared to them. Yet it's still the writing of Dan Walsh, a masterful storyteller, and that's a very good thing.
When Night Comes has elements of police procedurals, romance, and lots of just plain spine-tingling suspense. There's a strong military theme built around World War II events and conspiracies that I found fascinating. It's about greed, guilt, fear, and image generation through dreams that actually place you in the scene as an eyewitness - the Pearl Harbor attack, Doolittle raid on Tokyo, etc. And it makes you think about how far people will go in order to obtain wealth, hide guilt, and maintain their good reputation.
I'm probably not the best audience for this book, for while I enjoy a good murder mystery, I don't care for the scary stuff - and that's why I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed When Night Comes. I certainly won't ever think of dreams in quite the same way! But as a fan of police procedurals, I can say that Dan holds his own very well in the area of suspense. His writing is tight, the plot well developed, and the villains are totally without conscience. There's even a neat little twist at the end that I never saw coming.
Dan is gifted at writing suspense and I hope he gives us more in this genre - but it's the lovely stories for which he is best known that I will seek out most often. Highly recommended to all who enjoy suspense - and for those fans, 5 stars.
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, as well as The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.
Meet Dan online at danwalshbooks.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Thank you to Dan Walsh for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.