Conceive, if you can, a story that unites the best of Christian social drama with The Twilight Zone. You would likely get L. G. McCary’s debut standalone That Pale Host.1 This psychological suspense tale watches struggling mom Charlotte Madsen confront infertility and then traumatic childbirth. Ghostly reflections haunt her years of marriage and parenting, mirroring her family’s real-world struggles with socially acceptable sins and even spiritual abuses. Slice-of-life scenes may feel overlong, but help portray the realistic evangelical realm of Bible studies, dance classes, and peer pressures. That Pale Host slips through the walls of time, exposing how otherwise happy homes can still host spectral groanings too deep for words—and the hope of healing that often lingers just out of reach.
Best for: Adult fans of social dramas in modern evangelical communities, who don’t mind edgier elements like psychological and spiritual hauntings.
Discern: Physical and spiritual suffering provokes a woman’s existential dread of broken relationships and her child’s safety; ghosts constantly afflict vulnerable heroine, who often responds with acts of anger and hatred; churchgoing couples spread gossip and fall into other sins; villain verbally abuses teenage girl using a vulgar word, then resorts to worse crimes.
- Disclosure: novelist L. G. McCary also writes articles and manages social media for Lorehaven. As usual, we received a free pre-release copy of the novel, and wrote this review independently. ↩