Ryan Kates is a paranormal expert, TV host, and skeptic. He hosts News4th, a nationally popular cable show focused on UFOs, ghosts, and everything that goes bump in the night. Ryan is used to dealing with the weird and unexplainable, but when bizarre paranormal phenomena rock the planet he finds himself questioning his long-held views.
As these phenomena escalate, mass hysteria and political tensions begin to mount on a global scale. The world begins to spin out of control, and a former flame reenters Ryan’s life, bringing her family along for the ride. The pawns are moved into place, and Ryan must confront the ultimate evil on the world stage, culminating in a supernatural encounter far beyond his wildest dreams.
Ryan Kates imagines he controls his life. His paranormal talk show has launched him to stardom, despite the fact that he thinks his callers are all kooks. But as UFO sightings and missing-person reports proliferate worldwide, Ryan must confront the possibility that he’s as much a pawn as any of his listeners. But whose pawn? The answer may deceive even the elect.
Jim O’Shea’s The Reluctant Disciple stuffs its segments with haunted houses, alien abductions, international conspiracies, and eschatological prophecies. It’s an end-times mashup for the ages. But the action is often engulfed by exposition, and so many events are happening that entire subplots simply vanish, leaving some readers to wonder if the plots too have been beamed up.
Ryan, in his new capacity as a national influencer, finds himself beset by figures out of his past. Some of these connections are spiritual in nature, some romantic, and the former generally more compelling than the latter. The villain’s terrifying insidiousness, however, is reason enough to tune in. Like an opposition-research project gone too far, the avatar of this story’s evil achieves the apex of villainy: persuasiveness. Readers are forced to contend with a spiritual power-play feasible not only within this work of fiction, but the real world too. Meanwhile, Ryan faces an even more daunting challenge: what options remain when he’s in checkmate?
Part paranormal thriller, part gothic horror, part Left Behind reboot, The Reluctant Disciple tours popular thematic attractions via disquieting paths.
Best for: Older teen and adult readers seeking a more chillingly plausible end-times vision.
Discern: Compelling depictions of false theology, scenes of paranormal horror, references to demonic possession, brief vivid gore, brief sensuality.