It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Today’s Wild Card author is:
and the book:
The Devil in Pew Number Seven
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 2, 2010)
***Special thanks to Christy Wong of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
Becky Alonzo never felt safe as a child. Although she lived next door to the church her father pastored, the devil lived across the street. This tormented man terrorized her family with rifle shots and ten bombings. When these violent acts didn’t scare them away, he went even further. During dinner one evening, seven-year-old Becky and her younger brother watched as their parents were gunned down. Today Becky speaks about betrayal and the power of forgiveness. She is a graduate of Missouri State University and has been involved in ministry, including a church plant, youth outreach, and missions, for thirteen years. She and her husband, along with their two children, live in Franklin, Tennessee.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 2, 2010)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Walking, Crawling, Dead or Alive
My bare feet pounding the pavement were burning from the sunbaked asphalt. Each contact between flesh and blacktop provoked bursts of pain as if I were stepping on broken glass. The deserted country road, stretching into the horizon, felt as if it were conspiring against me. No matter how hard I pushed myself, the safe place I was desperate to reach eluded me.
Still, I ran.
Had a thousand angry hornets been in pursuit, I couldnt have run any faster. Daddys instructions had been simple: I had to be a big girl, run down the street as fast as my legs could carry me, and get help. There was nothing complicated about his request. Except for the fact that Id have to abandon my hiding place under the kitchen table and risk being seen by the armed madman who had barricaded himself with two hostages in my bedroom down the hall. I knew, however, that ignoring Daddys plea was out of the question.
And so I ran.
Even though Daddy struggled to appear brave, the anguish in his eyes spoke volumes. Splotches of blood stained his shirt just below his right shoulder. The inky redness was as real as the fear gnawing at the edges of my heart. I wanted to be a big girl for the sake of my daddy. I really did. But the fear and chaos now clouding the air squeezed my lungs until my breathing burned within my chest.
My best intentions to get help were neutralized, at least at first. I remained hunkered down, unable to move, surrounded by the wooden legs of six kitchen chairs. I had no illusions that a flimsy 6 x 4 foot table would keep me safe, yet I was reluctant to leave what little protection it afforded me.
In that space of indecision, I wondered how I might open the storm door without drawing attention to myself. One squeak from those crusty hinges was sure to announce my departure plans. Closing the door without a bang against the frame was equally important. The stealth of a burglar was needed, only I wasnt the bad guy.
Making no more sound than a leaf falling from a tree, I inched my way out from under the table. I stood and then scanned the room, left to right. I felt watched, although I had no way of knowing for sure whether or not hostile eyes were studying my movements. I inhaled the distinct yet unfamiliar smell of sulfur lingering in the air, a calling card left behind from the repeated blasts of a gun.
I willed myself to move.
My bare feet padded across the linoleum floor.
I was our familys lifeline, our only connection to the outside world. While I hadnt asked to be put in that position, I knew Daddy was depending on me. More than that, Daddy needed me to be strong. To act. To do what he was powerless to do. I could see that my daddy, a strong exNavy man, was incapable of the simplest movement. The man whom I loved more than life itself, whose massive arms daily swept me off my feet while swallowing me with an unmatched tenderness, couldnt raise an arm to shoo a fly.
To see him so helpless frightened me.
Yes, Daddy was depending on me.
Conflicted at the sight of such vulnerability, I didnt want to look at my daddy. Yet my love for him galvanized my resolve. I reached for the storm-door handle. Slow and steady, as if disarming a bomb, and allowing myself quick glances backward to monitor the threat level of a sudden ambush, I opened the storm door and stepped outside. With equal care, I nestled the metal door against its frame.
I had to run.
I shot out from under the carport, down the driveway, and turned right where concrete and asphalt met. The unthinkable events of the last five minutes replayed themselves like an endless-loop video in my mind. My eyes stung, painted with hot tears at the memory. Regardless of their age, no one should have to witness what I had just experienced in that houselet alone a seven-year-old girl. The fresh images of what had transpired moments ago mocked me with the fact that my worst fears had just come true.
I had to keep running.
Although I couldnt see any activity through the curtains framing my bedroom window, that didnt mean the gunman wasnt keeping a sharp eye on the street. I hesitated, but only for a moment more. What might happen gave way to what had happened. I had to get help. Now, almost frantic to reach my destination, I redoubled my efforts.
I ran on.
To get help for Momma and Daddy. To escape the gunman. To get away from all the threatening letters, the sniper gunshots, the menacing midnight phone calls, the home invasionsand the devil who seemed to be behind so many of them.
But Im getting ahead of the story.
When one thinks of Pastors we feel that they are someone who people wouldn’t take issue with let alone terrorize their family, but that isn’t always the case. When Pastors preach the Gospel and preach against the evils that Jesus took a stand against we’d expect some to take issue with that – we are in a fallen world, however what if the issue is one of power and control and nothing to do with God or His Word?
In The Devil in Pew Number Seven we are taken into a family as the dad begins to preach and revitalize a church that has been under the strong holds of a man who practically owns the little village. From bombings, strange calls to murder – the family is held in a prison of fear for years, culminating in the loss of their wife/mom and eventually the mental breakdown of their dad – the years of torment took their toll. A story of fear, forgiveness and the work of God this is a must read for anyone who wants to know what it can be like for some pastors and their families.