About a year ago, I read an amazing book called Imaginary Jesus, by Matt Mikalatos. I was so intrigued and excited about it that I told just about every Christian reader I know about it. It was such an interesting concept, and very original. (You can read that review here).
So, I was very excited to see that he had written a new book, called Night of the Living Dead Christian, with the subtitle ‘one man’s ferociously funny quest to discover what it means to be truly transformed’. Again, it was such an interesting idea. This is how the back cover describes it:
Night of the Living Dead Christian is the story of Luther, a werewolf on the run, whose inner beast has driven him dangerously close to losing everything that matters. Desperate to conquer his dark side, Luther joins forces with Matt to find someone who can help. Yet their time is running out. A powerful and mysterious man is on their trail, determined to kill the wolf at all costs…
This doesn’t sound like standard Christian fare. In fact, that is why I think I like it so much. I chose to review the book based solely on the fact that Mikalatos wrote it, and was curious to see what he would do with the whole monster thing. I wasn’t sure I would like it as much as I did Imaginary Jesus, because it could come across as kind of silly or hokey. But, like before, this book was brilliant.
The general idea of the story is that a man (Matt) befriends his neighbor, who happens to be a werewolf that has driven his family away and is desperate to be released from his torture. Thrown in are a mad scientist, his robot android, a vampire, a monster hunter and an ego-maniacal preacher, among others, who interact and deal with the monsters in various ways. Beyond the very funny dialogue that combines pop culture humor with some pretty deep theological discussions, there is a story of how to deal with evil desires and impulses, and how to people spend so much energy keeping these impulses from becoming known or taking over. In essence, it is a story of hope.
It is hard to explain just how Mikalatos does this so effectively, but a blurb by Publishers Weekly on the back cover sums it up very well:
“Startling, contemporary, meaningful…Mixing questions of suffering and free will with a nexus of weirdness, Mikalatos throws Christian fiction into the world of Comic-Con and Star Wars.”
The older I get, the more I embrace weirdness and Comic-con-ness. For an author to be able to produce a work that not only incorporates these types of quirks, but celebrates them, while at the same time not diluting the message of Jesus, is someone I want to continue to read and support.
You can find out more about Night of the Living Dead Christian and Matt Mikalatos at www.mattmikalatos.com. You can also read the first chapter here and check out a short video from Matt Milalatos here.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Night of the Living Dead Christian from Tyndale publishers for review purposes. No other compensation was received.