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Monsters don't exist. I had been telling myself that for nearly a week. But it was the sort of night you could almost believe in them. A bone-white moon hung in a field punctuated with bright stars, and dark clouds moved across the sky like slow-moving barges. It was nearly Halloween, and despite the cobwebs, giant spiders, tombstones, skulls, and electronic screams, it was a pleasant night. But I didn't feel pleasant. I felt nervous. It was a week ago today that I accidentally interrupted the argument between my neighbor and his wife, and since then I had felt jumpy in the neighborhood at night. Nervous. Always looking over my shoulder. But, I told myself, there's no such thing as monsters.
I was on patrol, like every night. My neighbors hadn't shown any interest in starting a neighborhood watch program, so I walked the beat myself, a solid pair of walking shoes on, gloves with no fingers, a pair of binoculars swinging jauntily around my neck, and my cell phone in hand, the numbers 911 already dialed and just waiting for an eager thumb to press SEND. In my other hand I held a long, heavy flashlight for bludgeoning ne'er-do-wells. I couldn't let a little incident like last week's keep me from my appointed rounds.
Up ahead, on the corner of 108th Street in the middle of a cluster of identical houses with the identically perfect lawns that permeated our neighborhood, stood a lanky man in a long white lab coat, a pair of goggles pushed up into his disheveled hair. A thick nest of electrical wires coiled out of a nearby streetlight and into a box he clutched with thin, white hands, and he was laughing and doing a sort of merry jig as I approached, the box squealing and flashing with a riot of handheld casino gaudiness.
"Excuse me," I said. Of course I needed no excuse since it was, after all, my neighborhood, and I was not the crazy person connecting wires to streetlights. But it always pays to be polite. Although when you're a neighborhood watch guy out on patrol, sometimes it also pays to be a no-nonsense guardian of the suburbs. I was just waiting for this guy to give me an excuse to go all "no nonsense" on him. He looked like the kind of guy who probably had too much nonsense in his life, and I was the perfect person to change that.
The man turned to me and grinned. He held the box out toward me. "No doubt you would like to ask me about the work of inexplicable genius I hold in my hands."
"As a matter of fact, yes." I shifted my stance and held the flashlight nonchalantly over my shoulder, making it clear that I could give him a glancing blow if necessary. "Do you have a permit for that big mess of electrical wiring there, sir?"
His eyes widened, and he tittered nervously. He glanced furtively up the street, then shoved the box into my hands. "One moment." He ran halfway down the street, his lab coat billowing up behind him, and shouted, "Hibbs!"
A gate swung open on the Murphy house, which had been sitting empty for three months. A man came walking from the backyard, easily seven feet tall. His arms and chest were thick where the scientist's were thin, and he gave the impression of a man who had been stuffed full of something, that he held more than blood and muscle and bone under his skin. He wore a tight shirt that showed off his muscles. Stenciled across his chest were the words THE HIBBS 3000. He regarded me coolly.
The scientist grabbed one enormous arm and asked, "Hibbs, do we have a permit for this endeavor?"
Hibbs looked at me and then back at the scientist. "Negative. This power source, which we require for our experiment, cannot be legally accessed, Doctor."
The scientist smiled at me, relieved. "Well, there you have it. Can't get a permit for something that's illegal, now can you?" He snatched the box away from me. "Would you like to watch our experiment, good neighbor?"
"You can't do illegal experiments here in our neigh borhood!"
The scientist cocked his head sideways. "Oh. Why's that?"
"It's breaking the law."
"Ha ha. So is speeding, my dear boy. But that doesn't stop anyone." He took my hand and shook it firmly, then chuckled to himself. "So is cloning human beings, ha ha, at least in one's garage, but that never stopped me, no!"
"That's it, pal," I said, and I set my flashlight on the sidewalk and whipped out the tiny little notebook and even tinier pencil I carried in my back pocket, wet the tip of the pencil with my tongue, flipped open the notebook, and put my pencil at the ready. "What's your name?"
The doctor looked at his box, which was humming now. I felt a mild heat coming off of it. "Hibbs, that last electrical boost seems to have done the trick." He jumped, as if his brain had prodded him that I was waiting for a reply, and said, "Oh yes, my name is Dr. Daniel Culbetron. And my associate there is the Hibbs 3000. He's a robot."
"Android," the Hibbs 3000 said.
Culbetron threw one hand up in the air. "Potato, tomato. Don't be so sensitive, Hibbs." He turned to me, as if confiding a great secret. "Robots are notoriously unbalanced emotionally."
Hibbs turned to me, another coil of wire in his hands. "You have yet to exchange your appellation with us."
"I'm Matt Mikalatos, Chief Officer of the local Neighborhood Watch."
The box in Culbetron's hand started warbling and beeping, and he laughed and waved it at Hibbs. "We had best find a safe observation point." He looked over his shoulder, as if he had misplaced something, then over his other shoulder, and then turned in a complete circle, wrapping himself in cords and giving the appearance of a circus clown looking for a small, collared dog. "Where is our benefactor, Hibbs? Do you think he'll want to see our device being tested?"
I tapped the box. "What exactly does this thing do?"
The Hibbs 3000 paused, then looked at me and said, "The apparatus creates a surge of auditory effluvia that is anathema to the lycanthrope."
Dr. Culbetron, midway through unraveling his Gordian knot of electrical wiring, sighed and shook the box at Hibbs. "In English, Hibbs. This poor neighborhood constable cannot possibly comprehend your robotic ramblings." He handed me the box and stepped gingerly over a cord. "It's a device designed to create sounds that will be upsetting to werewolves."
"I don't understand."
"It's quite simple, really. Perhaps you have seen anti-rodent devices that plug into an electrical socket. They produce a series of high-pitched squeals, above the range of human hearing, that drive away mice and some insects. It sends them scurrying out of their little hidey-holes, charging past the devices screaming their furry little heads off as they head for the woods." He snatched the box and held it over his head. "This box does precisely that—for werewolves."
I tightened my grip on my flashlight and a chill ran through me. "There's no such thing as werewolves."
Hibbs was setting a ladder up against the side of the Murphy house. "There is a 63 percent likelihood that the device will evoke a similar response from multiple monster species."
"There's no such thing as monsters!"
Culbetron put one hand gently on my shoulder. "Werewolves, of course, are rather rare in this part of the world. You're quite right about that. The vast majority of the lycanthropic population has been confined to Eastern Europe."
Hibbs shook his head. "Scientific research on this topic is irresponsibly scant. Dr. Culbetron does not represent scientific fact with his previous assertion."
"Well then, Hibbs, let us start some scientific research of our own!" With that he and Hibbs pulled earphones on, and Culbetron slammed his palm down on the button in the center of the box. A sound something like a mix between a jetliner, a baby crying, and fingernails on a chalkboard came screaming out of the box.
"One minute and forty-seven seconds, Doctor!" Hibbs shouted.
"Thank you, Hibbs. To the roof! Let the science begin!"
They climbed a metal ladder onto the roof of the Murphy house, Culbetron struggling to ascend with the box in one hand and Hibbs waiting patiently behind him. I put my hands over my ears, and Hibbs fixed me with a curious look. I shouted at him to ask if they had a third pair of earphones, but he didn't answer. I was about to ask again when Culbetron shouted from the roof, "Zombies!"
"There's no such thing as zombies!" I shouted back. I could barely hear him over the horrible shrieking of the machine. The volume was growing, and the lights in the neighborhood dimmed.
"Look, Hibbs! Coming from the south—a horde of the undead! It works, Hibbs! It works!" There was a popping sound from the roof, and sparks came flying out of Culbetron's box. Startled, he fell backward into Hibbs, who tried to catch him, and they both stumbled over the apex of the roof, slid to the edge, and nearly fell before the electrical cords caught on the gutter. The box, however, flew to the ground and smashed to pieces. The sound, mercifully, stopped. Culbetron and Hibbs hung from the roof, their feet dangling thirteen inches from the ground.
I took my fingers out of my ears. I heard a dull roar, a sort of rumbling echo in my ears. It appeared that Culbetron's box had temporarily deafened me. I looked to Culbetron, who was frantically trying to climb back up the electrical wiring and get onto the roof. I could hear him telling Hibbs over and over that they must get on the roof before the zombies came. So my hearing wasn't gone after all. Then what was that strange rumbling sound?
I turned on my flashlight for comfort and walked down the street, toward the rapidly increasing sound of riot in the southern part of the neighborhood. I looked back and could see the two crazy people clambering back onto the roof of the Murphy house. Maniacs.
I had walked half a block when I saw them come around the corner and turn toward me, just one or two at first, lurching out of the shadows and dragging their stiff legs along the sidewalk. But then a few more came, and then more, and then a terrifying conglomeration of people with green-painted faces and torn clothes and makeup that gave the appearance of torn flesh. My finger hovered over the SEND button on my cell phone, but I hesitated. What would I say to the dispatcher? I ran through the conversation in my head. First the operator would ask me the nature of the emergency. I would say zombies. The operator would ask me what the zombies were doing. I would say running around, but that I was afraid they might bite someone. The operator would remind me that this was, after all, America, and zombies are allowed to walk around and that I should call back if the zombies ate someone or a house caught on fire or something. By the time I got to this point in my imaginary conversation, the first zombie had reached me—a fast zombie in running shoes and sweatpants—and he snatched the phone away from me, hit SEND, and shouted into it.
"Hey!" I said, and I grabbed the phone away from him and shut it. "I'm Chief Officer of the local Neighborhood Watch, sir. You can just tell me the nature of your emergency." Looking frightened, the zombie pointed at the horde running up behind him. "Zombies?" I asked. He shook his head furiously and pointed again. "Zombies!" I said again. "I know. I see them." He shook his head and held up three fingers. "Three words." He nodded. "First word." The zombie made a terrible face. "Indigestion? No. Bad taste? No. Wait. Is it ... monster?" The zombie nodded and held up two fingers and started running in place. The rest of the zombie horde was almost on us now. "Run? Chase? Chasing?" The zombie nodded and held up a third finger, then pointed at himself. "Monster chasing me!" The zombie smiled and jumped up and down and pointed at my phone. Then he looked at how close the other undead were to us, gave a little shriek, and ran away. Zombies were nicer than I thought—or that one was, at least. The rest of the zombies were starting to speed past me now.
"Ruuuuuuhhn," one of them moaned. A snapping, growling sound came from behind it, and I looked past the zombie-things to see a large, furred creature biting at their legs and herding them toward me with a ferocious speed.
I stared in wonder at this vicious animal. "Is that ... a giant badger?" But before I could get a good look I was swept up into the tide of the undead. Against my will, my feet started moving, and the looks of real terror on the zombie faces convinced me I didn't want to get too close to that angry badger at the back of the crowd. I started pushing zombies out of my way. I could hear the badger-thing right behind me now, the snapping of its long, white teeth right at my heels. One zombie looked over at my scalp and licked his lips. My wife has always said she loves me for my brains, which is great, but attractive brains are a real disadvantage when there are hungry zombies around. I pushed him into a thornbush along the sidewalk, and a panicked laugh bubbled out of my mouth. "Sorry," I said. I wasn't sure whether being polite to zombies pays off or not.
The zombies were starting to scatter now, disappearing by twos and threes down side streets, under hedges, and between parked cars. The badger was getting closer and had a disturbingly wolflike appearance.
"A werewolf!" Culbetron was yelling at me from the rooftop. I kept running, but looking back at the badger I could see now that it was definitely more wolf than badger. It was, in fact, more man than badger too. It was bent over like a man running on all fours, its back twisted down toward canine legs and clawed, furred hands. A fountain of drool was pouring from the creature's fang-studded mouth, and I could tell as it got closer that it was bigger than me. Culbetron cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, "You should run faster!"
I considered shouting a sarcastic thanks to the doctor, but I was already short on breath, so instead, I took his advice. I could hear the snapping teeth of the wolf getting closer, and the sound of its claws clicking on the sidewalk. I threw my flashlight back at the wolf, but I heard it clatter to the ground and the wolf growled. Then I felt the sudden, considerable weight of a large, clawed mammal settle into my back, and I fell onto the cement, skidding along for several feet before we stopped.
The wolf rolled me over and huffed in my face. Despite my expectations, its breath didn't smell one bit like rotting flesh.
I put my hands on its face and tried to push it back. "Your breath is surprisingly minty." The wolf snarled, a menacing, terrifying sound. A small voice in the back of my head informed me that since the wolf took such good care of his teeth, he should have no problem eating me right up. I let out a low moan and tried to think how to get out of this situation. I felt like I was about to start crying, and the wolf was pushing his gaping maw uncomfortably close to my tasty face. Finally, I gave him the only compliment I could think of: "My, what nice teeth you have." As soon as I said it I regretted it. But I start to babble when I'm panicked, and before I could control myself I said, "Why do you think the wolf in 'Little Red Riding Hood' didn't just eat her in the forest instead of running ahead to Grandma's and waiting there to eat her?" Which, if you think about it, really is an excellent question.
The wolf shook its head, and its yellow eyes narrowed. Its ears perked, and it looked back over its shoulder. It looked quickly back to me just as a straight, silver arrow sprouted from its left shoulder. It let out an animal squeal of pain. I was so startled that I let the wolf fall forward onto my chest, and its muzzle brushed my ear. It snorted, but it almost sounded like it had said a word. Like it had said, "Help." It pushed itself up from my chest, and the look in its face seemed to change from savage hatred to an almost elemental fear. It looked in my eyes one more time, only this time its eyes seemed almost human, as if they were scanning me to see if I might be a source of help, as one soul crying out to another. It was as if the wolf wanted help, not just to escape the hunter, but to escape something inside itself. It jumped from my chest and loped up the street, then catapulted its body over a fence across the street.
I stood up and brushed myself off. My back hurt from the wolf 's claws, and my chest hurt from hitting the pavement. The wolf and the zombies had disappeared like sunbaked snow. The neighborhood was quiet again.
Excerpted from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD CHRISTIAN by MATT MIKALATOS Copyright © 2011 by Matt Mikalatos. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted October 19, 2014
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Posted January 7, 2014
Enter at your own risk. Night of the Living Dead Christian is the story of every monster's need for transformation. You will be convicted of your own failures and sinfulness through this story. The monster within will not appreciate being exposed.
With creativity, encouragement, and a great picture of thise who make up the church, Matt was kind enough to deliver a powerful tale.
True to monster lore, the story contains pain, death, and blood. True to the words of Christ, the story requires faith in Christ that transforms our actions.
This is not a doctrinal treaty, so be aware that you may be tempted to quit if you are expecting Spurgeon's devotional, or Lewis' Mere Christianity.
Especially if you are unsure of your hideousness, read about the various types of monsters at the end of the book
Posted October 29, 2013
I did not enjoy this one as much as My Imaginary Jesus, but it was still good in it's own way with several laugh out loud spots scattered throughout. Like his last book it is Christian Fiction with insightful comments on different types of Christians.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 28, 2012
So. For the first 50 pages, I didn't get it at all. So confused. For the next 50, things got a little clearer. And then....I was totally on track with the crazy (but so worthwhile) writings of Matt Mikalatos.
Matt, the newly self appointed king of the neighborhood watch, finds that his 'hood is overrun with zombies (blindly following 'Christians'), vampires (super-selfish), and werewolves (those lacking self control with possible anger issues). He meets Luther, who has a very interesting background - don't we all - and who has also recently started to abuse his wife. He also has pastor dad issues; but above it all, is still seeking to figure out who he is and who Jesus really is, too. Along for the ride to crazy are the Hibbs 3000 android/robot, mad scientist Dr. Culbetron, and former high school classmate turned neighbor (also former vampire), Lara.
As mentioned, I had a difficult time getting into this book at first. This is my second Matt Mikalatos book, and I have to say, he might be an acquired taste....but it's a worth it taste. Read this book as well as his first, "Imaginary Jesus" - you will be glad you did. And you will have lots to think about like I do.
Posted June 13, 2012
B-movie meets theology. This book is about control (who has it?), self-seeking (who doesn't?), resurrection, and transformation in Christ.
"Night of the Living Dead Christian" by Matt Mikalatos is a work of fiction that brings God's truth to a particular sub-set of the population..those interested in such things as werewolfs, vampires, and mad scientists and those who learn best from a good laugh. Honestly, images of Mystery Science Theater 3000 kept popping in my head during this read (I could imagine the three guys chatting up a storm through each chapter of the book. I even wanted to make funny comments within the dialogue)...also this book has a little of Meyer's Twilight series throughout.
On the down side, this book has been done before by Frank Peretti or Ted Dekker without giving the reader such spelled out clues as too what each monster symbolized... also, the dialogue seemed forced if not fake when it came to the theological sound bites.
On the positive side, the book was convicting. Getting inside the mind of a werewolf stepped on my toes. I loved how the werewolf confronted his father. I loved the honesty of that particular conversation and the truth revealed.
I would buy the book simply for the lines on p. 204.
"My allegiance is to a kingdom that is growing and resolving itself in our midst, not through laws but through the transformation of human beings, by the change in human hearts"
Posted May 10, 2012
Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos is a tale of werewolves, zombies, mad scientists, and other monsters and monster hunters. Luther, Matt’s neighbor, is a werewolf whose wife and daughter have left him because of his inability to control his anger. Matt and others try to help Luther find a way to transform into the person he knows he was meant to be—and in the process find themselves drawn to the One who changes us from the inside out.
The spiritual allegory had me identifying much too closely with the monsters and taking a long hard look at my relationship with Jesus, who has the ability to change every monster into they should be.
If you’re looking for an entertaining and thought-provoking read, Night of the Living Dead Christian should be at the top of your list. I highly recommend that you get a copy before the monsters in your neighborhood grabs them all!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Media Center. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted January 5, 2012
This was a seriously funny book! Like the zombie telling the lone neighbourhood watch that a monster was chasing it, even though most people would consider a zombie a monster? That was hilarious!!! And very, very churchy, spirutual, with all the different monsters being different types of people, their mindframes, as Christians. So there were deep, reflective parts, too. So it's a well rounded book!
What surprised me was the more fiction way the author approached the mindsets, really only taking it to being a metaphor for the mindsets during the interludes, but for the chapters, it was more fiction, which I really enjoyed, since I'm not a non-fiction reader, and I thought that this book might be that from the first bit of the description on the back. But it wasn't like that. And I liked that!
I really enjoyed the journeys that the characters went on, and how they realized who they were as Christians, where they wanted to go, with a few bumps on the way, or else it woudn't be interesting, and with the various monsters of the various mindsets. Very interesting!
I really enjoyed reading this book, so if you like spirtual mixed with monsters, check this book out!
Posted December 14, 2011
It's a dark October night, and you are patrolling the streets as a neighborhood watchman, when all of a sudden you come upon a startling scene - a mad scientist and his franken-robot messing with a strange machine attached to the streetlights! So what do you do? Well, that's the question Matt asks himself when he finds the pair tinkering with the neighborhood power supply. Unfortunately, he isn't able to stop the mad doctor before he turns on a device that will supposedly call all of the local "werewolves" out of hiding; but when he sees the onslaught of zombies, he knows they were somehow telling the truth, especially when a friend turns out to be a vampire. Now that Matt is in the middle of all this unbelievable chaos, what will he do, who will he trust, and will he survive the Night of the Living Dead Christian?
I don't think that I have ever read a Christian book that has made me laugh as much as Night of the Living Dead Christian. Matt Mikalatos' metaphor-laden spiritual allegory is a mix between classic Hollywood horror movies and Monty Python-like humor. Every chapter went deeper and deeper into the question of transformation - whether spiritual or supernatural - and described the monstrosity that levels of belief can become; (zombies surrender their minds, have no original thoughts, and are motivated by their own desires, vampires steal the life force of others and are notoriously selfish, werewolves are animalistic, carnal, and uncontrollable, etc...). I found the characters to be well-developed and very funny, especially the zombies and Luther the werewolf, and the plot was constructed nicely and well-executed. I think that the author did a wonderful job tackling the misconceptions about being a Christian, and what it means to be a true Christian. After reading the book, I have actually started relating some of the people in my life to the "monsters" I read about - particularly some of the people I see in church from time to time. I will definitely recommend this book to the teen confirmation class at my church, because there's actually a terrifying amount of truth behind all the metaphor. Overall, this book, although quite a laugh-out-loud riot, was surprisingly full of hope and optimism, and it is definitely a page-turner that readers will enjoy, especially teens and young adults.
Rating: On the Run (4/5)
*** I received this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Posted December 7, 2011
Night of the Living Dead Christian is the story of Luther, a werewolf on the run, who is dangerously close to losing everything that matters because of his inner beast.
Luther and Matt join forces to find someone who can help.
But time is running out...
I found this book to be a wonderful, funny, and entertaining read. I could not read it fast enough or put it down.I always found myself laughing at how all the characters interacted with one another. Matt did a wonderful job in the way he uses zombies,vampires, and a werewolf to compare them to how us humans act.
We sometimes act like werewolves who can't control our desires,
zombies experiencing a resurrection that is 90% shambling death and 10% life, or vampire satiating ourselves at the expense of others.
But through it all we long to stop and become truly human the way Christ wants. We just can't seem to figure out how.
* I received this book for free from Tyndale for being a book blogger *
Posted December 3, 2011
While on patrol one night as the only member of his neighborhood watch program, Matt confronts a suspicious scientist and his robot sidekick. Before he can figure out what they are up to, a heard of zombies runs by, being chased by a werewolf. This sends Matt on a mission to find out more, and eventually, to help the werewolf, Luther, conquer his dark side and find salvation.
In true Mikalatos fashion, this book was zany, satirical, random, yet profound. I enjoyed the delivery of theological food for through the eyes of a werewolf. I found the point of view switches to the werewolf a bit jarring but enjoyed them nonetheless. If you like satirical fiction and haven¿t read one of Matt Mikalatos¿ books yet, get to it! They are delightful.
Posted November 29, 2011
Night of the Living Dead Christian, by Matt Mikalatos is a hybrid between a horror satire and a book on biblical spirituality. Don't be fooled by the comic book styled graphics on the cover, and its bright green block letters and cartoon zombies- this book has a relevant message for young and old alike- as well as secular and religious readers. Underneath the satire and humor, the author presents a sombering message about hypocricy and divisions among so called Christians and churches.
Matt Mikalatos challenges some common misconceptions that many readers may have about the concept of Christianity through the story of an enlightened warewolf in the midst of a spiritual battle. The warewolf, seeking relief, has amazing insight and clarity that one would not expect to see from such an untamed, wild creature. The warewold himself is the one who points out the sobering reality that many who claim to be Christian, aren¿t really Christian on page 53 when he states ¿If claiming to be a Christian meant personal transformation, our world would be a far different place. As it is I know far too many Christians who are worse men as Christians then they were as pagans¿. It also is pointed out that many religious churches and institutions are really impediments to true faith. For example, he challenges the notion that just because one says he or she is a Christian doesn¿t mean that they are. He points out the divisive and cultic nature of some well known denominations and contrasts th
Posted October 13, 2011
Do you sometimes feel like a monster? After you blow up at your kids for the hundredth time today, do feel like a huge, angry werewolf? Do you feel like a mad scientist-always right, never thinking your wife's opinion matters, always trying to fix your friends? After you've laid a huge guilt trip on your husband for the emergency at work that kept him late, do you feel like a vampire sucking the life out of him and your marriage? Do you feel like a zombie-always following your favorite paster or author, but never checking for yourself what the Bible says? Is there any hope for us? Read on...
The subtitle of Night of the Living Dead Christian is "One man's ferociously funny quest to discover what it means to be truly transformed." That is an excellent description of this book. In this allegory Luther, a werewolf, is trying to discover if he can be different. With the help of Matt (the author), a mad scientist, a robot, a vampire, and a half zombie, quite an adventure ensues! Can they find the truth before the monster hunter kills Luther?
I wasn't sure what to expect, especially since Matt Mikalatos is described on the back on the book as "Monty Python meets C.S. Lewis." An interesting combo, huh?! However, after read it I can totally see how this comparison fits! This is like no other book I've ever read. (Now I look forward to reading his first book, Imaginary Jesus.) I laughed so hard I howled and my mad scientist self even learned things-what a great mixature! There is also a wonderful self-diagnosis guide at the end, if you are wondering if you are a monster. I highly recommend this to all, especially if you have a sense of humor and enjoy learning.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy for my honest review.
Posted October 2, 2011
Now, I know we are not to judge a book by its cover, but, when I saw this, I just knew I had to know more. Upon hearing the premise of the book, I was intrigued--compare monsters to Christians in our various levels of hypocrisy. What I did not expect was such a vivid tale that captured my attention like it did. There is a real story where Christians encounter monsters and real transformation happens. Little problems in marriages and churches and theology pop up, but they are subtle. The real issue in the book is that it will cause readers to really look at themselves and see what monster they have become. I do not want to give away major plot events--if you read my blog, you see I rarely do. All I can say is that I took my sweet time with this book to savor it. As a book reviewer, I often skim books or put them down once there is something boring or wrong with it. That never happened with this book. At the end, I was even wishing for more. Luckily, there was some bonus material for readers. Read this book and realize the truth that being undead is harder than being dead and that only Christ can make you truly alive. Marvelous!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 26, 2011
"Night of the Living Dead Christian" by Matt Mikalatos is about a guy named Luther on the run from his werewolf-self. He turns to his neighbor Matt for help and together they try to find someone who can help him overcome his inner beast before Borut (a lethal hunter with too many weapons) finds him. Throughout their journey they run into a mad scientist with an android, a horde of zombies, a vampire, secret lairs and not-so-secret lairs, and a robot Jesus.
I'm a big fan of Mikalatos' first book "Imaginary Jesus." So I was pleasantly surprised when I read and saw that this book was a follow-up. I loved the whole monster theme because it was refreshing to see someone write about monsters as they really are, not some gushy I-love-you-and-yet-I-want-to-suck-your-blood-really-badly vampire book.
"And so we return to my most pressing need, the desire for transformation, the burning passion to have a more manageable and less destructive nature. Of course, the Christians say they can help with that. Or God can. But I look at their lives and see far too many zombies." - Luther the Werewolf, page 95
This book is an spiritual allegory. Christians claim to have been resurrected in Christ, but we sometimes act like a zombie, experiencing a resurrection that is 90% death and 10% life. Or like vampires who satiate themselves at the expense of others. In Luther's case, he was a werewolf who couldn't control his base desires.
"If you never see yourself the way you really look, it's pretty easy to be satisfied with your life." - Lara the Vampire, page 122
I really enjoyed this book along with the laughs and watery eyes that came with it. The discussion guide in the back was awesome and very thought provoking, great for a small group to get together and discuss. There was also a fun Are You a Monster? guide in the back of the book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted September 20, 2011
In the wake of his stellar breakout book, Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos decides to take the presence of the undead among us at face value. Christians claim to be the resurrected dead, but what if we've been raised only to a half-life? That sort of Christianity may be exactly what James described: Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead." (2:17 NRS) Those who follow Jesus want a living, vibrant, exciting faith. So why does Christianity seem to foster so many undead, half-living monsters?
Night of the Living Dead Christian takes the metaphor at face value and dives in head-first: bring on the Zombies! Well, not just zombies. In Night of the Living Dead Christian, Matt teams up with a mad scientist, an android, a vampire and a whole Church-full of zombies to help his neighbor, Luther Ann Martin, find a cure for his lycanthropy (which for you laypersons means that Luther is a werewolf). As in Imaginary Jesus, Matt's non sequitur, real-life-meets-the-fantastic humor keeps you laughing and rolling your eyes. And he handles the metaphor so deftly his point is always clear just below the surface, ready to engage you in some serious self-reflection.
Luther the Werewolf is any of those people who feel that they have a beast living inside them that they can't quite control. Those of us who can relate to Luther when he says, "There are many nights when I crave that sudden infusion of air, that falling away of the higher functions and the sharpness that comes with listening to my instincts, with doing what my body tells me to do." Luther's wrestling with his base nature is truly the core of the book. His voice frequently interrupts the narrative with deep theological musings on the nature of fallen humans crying for redemption.
That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other monsters. The Zombies are those of us who find it easier to follow an intelligent, charismatic leader, to let his spirituality be ours. Those of us who have found it easier to surrender our brains than to engage our own faith.
The Vampires? The selfish, those who take and take and take from others, who can't stand even a moment of self-reflection, who never give back.
As Matt's team works to help Luther escape the beast within, Matt comes face to face with his own monstrous nature: he's a mad scientist. As the vampire tells him, "You think you're smarter than other people. You have your little knot of henchmen. You're trying to fix the world around you whatever the cost, never thinking of the damage you're doing." Ouch... that one hit a little closer to home than I like to admit.
Monsters have always been a safe way for humanity to explore our inner demons. In NotLDC, Matt uses them as a mirror for our Christianity and asks how we can be truly, fully transformed. The old stories really are true: the Christian life - the full, true life lived in the freedom Jesus offers - is still anathema to the undead in all of us. A simple concept, but not easy. The how of transformation refuses all formulas and systems. As fun and witty as NotLDC is, it's not a book of neat & tidy answers. Matt allows the messiness of reality to ruin his story, so the resolution is both less than we want & more honest. NotLDC refuses to offer us cop outs. The deus ex machina at the end of the story truly is the only ending any of us can honestly hope for. So while Matt doesn't give us easy answers (that only work in books & never in real life), he does
Posted August 23, 2011
Chief Officer of the Neighborhood Watch Matt Mikalatos is on patrol when he encounters mad scientist Doc Culbertson. Doc tells Matt that he constructed a gizmo that gets into a werewolf's head. Matt ridicules the claim insisting there are no monsters until he observes a horde of zombies pursued by a werewolf. Fearing the neighborhood will become unsafe,, Matt accompanied by Doc trace the Lycan to the home of Luther Martin whose wife left him a week ago when she noticed the changes.
Luther wants to rid himself of his inner beast so he can become a normal human. He knows transformation to Christianity is the king of conversion, but he is not a Christian having turned away from his father's rigid religious doctrine. Matt and his new friends want to help Luther. They visit a church filled with a flock of zombies, a vampire who like Luther wants to revert to pure human, and a psychiatrist who counsels them. The despondent werewolf asks a pastor for answers. The response is simple, but Luther wonders how he failed to grasp the Word before; as he and his friends comprehend a transformed life starts with faith.
In his follow-up to the Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos provides a thought-provoking parable insisting there are monsters amongst us disguised as Christians claiming to be faithful yet unable to control their inner beast. Focusing on converting those beastly desires to become the type of person God wants of us takes different paths for different people at different times in their lives. Readers will appreciate Mr. Mikalatos' profound Christian morality tale.
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Posted April 25, 2012
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