Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Kregel Publications February 29, 2008)
Matthew Raley


Matthew Raley is senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California, where he lives with his wife and two young children. For fun, he enjoys playing chamber music with friends, giving occasional solo recitals, and playing first violin in the North State Symphony. This is his first book.


Jim was at work when his eyes drifted to the coffee shop visible from his office window. An attractive woman driving a Mercedes pulled up to the curb . . . and Jim’s married pastor emerged from the car. When Jim delves deeper into his pastor’s world, will he be able to handle what he discovers? Is he right to suspect that Dave is having an affair? In the behind-the-scenes church battle that ensues, Jim is torn between duty to his church and a desire to show grace. A ripped-from-the-headlines drama of suspense that keeps you engaged to the last page.

Fallen is the story about Jim’s relationship with Dave—how Jim tries to do the right thing to keep Dave accountable, but finds the situation getting worse and worse. It’s also about Jim’s other relationships. Just as he discovers hypocrisy in Dave, Jim discovers his own sins against his wife and daughter.

My Review of Fallen

This is Matthew Raley’s first novel. I did not read this book in its entirety. I couldn’t. There are so many “what-if’s” and so much paranoid “supposing” in the first eight chapters it was hard to follow the story. The conversations were stilted and forced and the preachiness of the exchanges between the deacon and the pastor were beyond weird. Apparently this fictional church is filled with people who don’t have a clue about the Bible or how God works in our lives. I pray it is a fictional church and not a fictionalization of a real church.

Now, let me qualify a couple of things. I understand unsaved people fill our churches, and sadly, our pulpits today. I understand that marital infidelity does not exclude preachers. I also understand that the main character in the book recognizes his own wrong attitudes toward women as he deals with his pastor’s indiscretions. I know this is a timely message for a dreadful problem. However, this effort was not believable or entertaining to me. I did not like this book. Buy your own copy and decide for yourself.

1 comment:

Scrambled Dregs said...

Good job on an honest review.

You and I usually like similar books.

I really liked this one. Maybe because I've been in leadership long enough to really play the brain ping-pong game of walking on the paths of what if.

I've found more gray within decision making than I ever thought possible. What I call forgiveness and grace could easily be called licentiousness by another.

Today we disagree, Kim-bo. Let's see what happens next week, eh what?