About the Author
Joel Richards was the kid who did crazy things just to have a good story to tell afterward. On deciding to make his affection his profession, he received a BFA in acting and a BA in English from the University of Utah. He has narrated over 150 audiobooks and continues to tell his original stories to live audiences.
Read an Excerpt
By Craig Parshall, Caleb Sjogren
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Craig Parshall
All rights reserved.
I was thirteen years old when my father died. His funeral was held in a large stone chapel on the grounds of the cemetery. It was my first face-to-face with death. But it would not be my last. I couldn't put it into words, nor understand it, but somehow the fact that the ceremony was being conducted in a graveyard hit me with an almost tangible image of death. Like a sad fairy tale full of ink drawings about a powerful, pitiless giant standing guard over the land of the dead, while I, hopelessly and haplessly small, shivered in his looming shadow.
My mother's muffled sobs during the service that morning were heartbreaking. Even more than her unceasing wails on the day she'd answered the doorbell and spoken to two men from the foundry. One of the men had taken me into our television room, presumably waiting for my mother to collect herself. When she finally appeared, she sat down next to me and, in a quavering voice that was barely capable of transmitting facts, reminded me that my father had loved me. And then the worst. She told me that he had been killed in an industrial accident. I tried in my own dizzying numbness to console her, but nothing I did seemed to ease the pain. Despite that, she gathered me in her arms and told me, laboring on each word, "We are going to make it." But I didn't see how.
When the funeral service ended, there was a flood of faces that came up to me saying they were sorry about our loss, some familiar to me, many not. A few chose to remind me that at least death had come instantly. "He didn't suffer," I was told. I am sure it was meant to be consolation, tinged with wisdom. But it imparted neither. When you're thirteen, and you know your dead father is lying over there in that burnished wood casket, the proffered wisdom of a grown-up sounds hollow and distant, and the faces of all those strange adults don't register. Except for two faces — the ones that even now connect that day to this one, haunting my memories. I can still see those two faces.
Hoskins Opperdill was one. My father had been a quality control engineer at the Opperdill Foundry, which operated along the banks of the Little Bear River. From the few occasions my father had taken me to the foundry, I remembered it as a place of infernal noise and gargantuan machines. The plant was owned by Hoskins Opperdill, who I had always heard was the richest man in Manitou. I never heard my dad say a negative word against him. After the funeral, Opperdill strode over to me in his suit and tie and starched white shirt. I had heard that he had a son of his own, about my age, but I'd never even seen him. He might as well have lived in a different world.
Opperdill had the stern, stiff look of a man had who had kept to matters of business his whole life, yet when he held out his hand to shake mine and patted my head, I sensed a different side.
"Your father was a fine man."
"I am very sad that he's gone. Would give anything to change that. Do you believe me, son?"
Here was a grown man — a wealthy, powerful man — asking a thirteen-year-old boy for his opinion. I kept my head down at first, hot tears blinding my eyes, and I almost felt ashamed. But while the man's face was stern, his eyes were gentle, so I worked up the boldness to answer. "I'm not sure if I can believe that. I just know that my dad is gone, and it was your foundry where he died."
He gave a sound, like he was clearing his throat. "A straight shooter, huh? Well, that's okay." Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a roll of hundred-dollar bills and shoved them into my hand. "Your mother's too proud to take it. Make sure she gets this. If the money-grubbing lawyers have their way, it'll be quite a while before the workers' compensation payments are straightened out."
Everyone stepped outside and strode silently down the gravel path for a short graveside service. The pallbearers strained cautiously against the weight of their load under a brilliantly blue sky, which seemed grotesquely out of place. A smaller group gathered around the vacant space that had been dug in the ground. I was given two red roses. One was to put on the coffin while it was still poised at ground level, which I did. The other rose remained clutched in my hand.
The minister droned in vague generalizations about a man he'd never met. I focused on the rose, trying to follow the spiraling of its petals from the outside into the center, then out again. Keeping my mind occupied, steering it away from the raw fact of why I was there. After the service was over, as I stood beside the box containing all that was left of my father, I felt a hand on my shoulder, too heavy to be my mother's. Almost too heavy to be a hand.
I turned my head and started at the sight of Mason Krim, a neighbor of ours who lived in a huge brick house at the end of our block. The word among my neighborhood pals was that Krim had poisoned cats and dogs that had ventured onto his property, supposedly leaving tainted food in bowls on his back stoop for that purpose. But then again, that could have just been urban legend, spread abroad by imaginative teens.
Krim stood hunched over and pointed to my father's casket, which had yet to be lowered into the ground, and spoke. "I know what you're thinking."
Even overloaded and shell-shocked, I still found this statement exceedingly odd.
"You're thinking," he went on, "that's all there is. Dead is dead. Gone." Then he bent toward me, closer to my face, his breath filling my nostrils with the scent of something rotten and barely camouflaged with peppermint. "Just make sure you keep your mind wide open to anything. There's things out there you don't know yet. Things that can happen. Even when you can't see them."
Krim looked down at the blooming rose in my hand and reached out, as if asking to take it. For some reason I felt compelled to lay it in his palm. He closed his hand slowly around the soft, ruby-red petals of the rose and held it there for a few seconds. Then, with a crooked smile on his lips, he opened his hand and offered the rose back to me.
I held it by the stem, and at first just stared at this very strange man with the bent-over posture. Then my eyes drifted down to the rose. The petals that had been red and velvety were black and brittle. It was as if that flower, full of color, had been instantly transformed by Krim into something lifeless. As dead as some forgotten plant on an untended grave.
The sight of that was so startling that I dropped the rose and took a step backward. "Are you a magician?"
"The magic you're thinking of, that's for tricksters. I'm no trickster. I told you, there are things that can happen."
My mother must have spotted the interchange, because she had started to approach. As she did, Krim turned, gave her a curt nod, and then slipped out.
I had little comprehension what Krim was talking about and no idea how he did that with the rose. But in the midst of my grief and the swirling confusion of my young life, I knew that it had actually happened right in front of me. And it had to do with death, and things that I didn't know yet, things that were mysterious and inviting, and it was whispering a story to me, like a fairy tale about how, with the right secrets, the departed might be within reach, and the land of the dead could be tamed.
Excerpted from The Occupied by Craig Parshall, Caleb Sjogren. Copyright © 2016 Craig Parshall. 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.
What People are Saying About This
Craig Parshall has combined gritty naturalism with believable supernaturalism to produce a real page-turner.
One of the greatest challenges for a writer is making the invisible world real. Craig Parshall has done exactly that. . . . If you’re fascinated by the supernatural and how it exists in a mor-al universe, then this is the book for you.
In his new novel, The Occupied, Craig Parshall takes us into the supernatural world for a thrilling ride that also educates us about the unseen realm. In the end we discover that it is crucial that we know who occupies us.
[The Occupied] is the answer for those seeking Christian alternatives to popular crime thrillers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You know how sometimes I get bored reading the same genre of book too many in a row? Yeah, about that. Not this month. I've been all over the place and it's been a bit like happy whiplash. I'm reading genres that are outside my norm (which can be hit and miss) and I'm reading genres that I really like but there aren't a lot of good ones out there. This is that second time of book. I mean come on people, at heart I'm a mystery girl. I like a good suspense, even a thriller, and combining that with Christian themes, well there just aren't enough of them to pick from. I picked up the next book in this series, 'The Empowered' from Tyndale not realizing that it was a series. That is totally on me for not paying attention. Anyway, I had to back-burner it for a minute only because I felt I needed to read this book first. Sometimes you don't have to (and it's possible this is one of those times) but sometimes you feel like it might be important. This was that second time. That all being said when it comes to Christian Supernatural Suspense Thrillers I have certain expectations. This one fell short of the mark for a large one. When you add Christian to that list of a specific genre the faith element is vital and that's what I felt was not there with this book. I mean there was faith, and even a 'come to Jesus' experience sorta and Biblical reference but outside a secondary character who was pretty intense with his faith I felt like there wasn't enough. When you set someone up to do battle with the demons you have an expectation that they will be prepared for such a spiritual battle. I just didn't get that. I got faith, I got Bible, but I just didn't get any depth of Spiritual preparedness. That kinda bothers me, actually bothers me enough that it is the only reason this book is 4 star. All that aside I loved this book. I mean come on, legal thriller meets supernatural suspense and yet it still remains true to it's Christian roots as a clean read. Well, as clean as you can get with demons and possession and murder. I was drawn into the book from page one and seriously way way to late into the um morning one night. The book broke it down into the three battlefields we all face (perhaps not in actually seeing demons but you know) the world (and worldly things) the flesh (and our own desires), and the devil (the big one). It did so while keeping true to the timeline of Trevor's life and never breaking away from it's fictional base. From teen with an attitude who accidentally dabbles into the occult, to high profile defense attorney with all the world has to offer in New York where his past indiscretions come into play), to back to his hometown where it all started and needed to end. I really am excited to read the next book in this series and see where it takes us next.
The Occupied, A Trevor Black Novel, by author Craig Parshall is a contemporary Christian novel by Tyndale publishing. This 448 page paperback is chocked full of intrigue, suspense, action, adventure, and spiritual warfare. It is captivating and very hard to put down. Author Parshall has done a super job with this book. It is well thought, well planned, and extremely well written. The author throws in some twists and turns to keep readers guessing. He provides descriptive details that bring frightening repulsive demons to life on the pages of his book. The novel is divided into three sections. The Flesh gives us background on main character Trevor Black. He grew up a small Wisconsin town. We are introduced to neighbor, Mason Krim, a recluse that no one knows any details on. We also meet Trevor's friend Augie. He and Trevor have a seance after someone dies. The World is section two and starts twenty years after in New York. Trevor is married to Cortney and is a successful lawyer. We meet his wife and Elijah White, a Christian that has prophetic dreams and assists Trevor. In this part of the book, Trevor begins to see the demons and the people they inhabit. Through some unfortunate activities, his life drastically changes. Then Trevor learns about the death of a childhood friend in this part of the book. The third section is entitled, The Devil. Trevor ventures back to his hometown in search of information about his childhood friend's death. In this section we meet Ashley, investigating the murder, also. "It is who occupies you that counts." is one of my favorite sentences in this book. The inspirational message is clear. Christ, our Savior, is the one that occupies us or should. I would definitely and highly recommend this book. It is a captivating nail biter to be sure. Anyone interested in spiritual warfare, good vs. evil, or likes suspense and intrigue will love this contemporary Christian novel. It would make a nice book club book. Readers will want to discuss it with someone else that has read it, too. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars. I was given the book by Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review. I was given the book by Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review.
The Occupied is a Trevor Black Novel by Craig Parshall, New York Times and CBA bestselling fiction writer and columnist. He has written eleven other suspense novels and serves as special counsel to the American Center for Law and Justice. His degrees and expertise in law and religion enhance his writings and bring credibility and depth to his story. The Occupied tackles the life and death struggle of a successful New York City criminal defense lawyer against the world, the flesh, and the devil—literally. As a young boy, a brief introduction to the supernatural comes back to haunt him. One minute he has everything—a successful career, wealth, luxury, a beautiful wife, expensive car. Then his whole life changes. With the change emerges an uncanny ability to feel and “see” demonic activity. And these horrific forces become a relentless enemy, set to destroy him. As he pursues the trail of a serial killer, it leads him home to the origin of this evil. I recommend this different, riveting, and thought-provoking novel—the first of this author’s that I have read. I look forward to reading this author’s other works. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
The Occupied is the first book I’ve read by this author and he didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series now as I’m invested in the characters and the storyline. Great action packed read that makes you think long after you close the book on the final page. I received this book for free from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are mine.
“Occupied” by Craig Parshall was a very interesting read. This was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down. It had twists and turns along the way. I couldn’t wait to find out “who did it”. This story is about a criminal defense lawyer, Trevor Black. The story starts out with the life of Trevor as a young, wild teenager. Then it moves to present day Trevor. Trevor has all the things the world calls successful, but one day he loses it all. After all of this he encounters forces of another world. Then a childhood friend is murdered. Trevor is bent on finding out who the murderer is. If you enjoy good, clean, suspense-filled novels, you will love this one. It may keep you up at night. "I was given the book by Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and here is my honest review."
The Occupied, by Craig Parshall, is an excellent read! Good versus evil on a whole other level. An everyday kind of guy finds he has a gift to see beyond the veil of the real world into the spirit world. And, wow, how that changes his perspective on what is happening around him. Parshall has done a marvelous job of giving readers a glimpse beyond the veil. The Occupied is a murder mystery and yet so much more. Readers follow Trevor Black from his childhood in small town, USA, to big city, New York City and back to the hometown with the underlying issue being the past does not always stay the past. With great, well-developed characters, a story line that is action-packed, strong spiritual truths, a lot of suspense, and a little romance and, voilá, The Occupied is an amazing story. One that reminds readers they may want to think about what the real battle of life is all about. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Club network. A favorable review was not required and opinions are my own.
Nutshell: Lawyer Trevor Black had a pretty good childhood, was in a band as a teen, went off to college, then law school and ended up in New York City with a trophy wife and part of a prestiges law firm. Life was moving along pretty well. Until things started to fall apart and he came face to face with life unravelling. His marriage, his practice, his life. His eyes were also opened to a side of the world that he had never seen, but was eerily familiar from his youth. The dark side. With murders popping up that all looked the same with sinister evil forces behind them, Trevor finds himself looking not for murderers, but for the evil "horribles" living inside of those murdering. In this twisted tale of heaven versus hell, this gripping tale keeps you reading until the end. Pro's: captivating! What a great story, and a great story teller in Craig! Con's: may be on the dark side for those that want something light to read. Demons vs angels are prevalent in this book and if that keeps you awake a night, you may not want to read this. :) Recommendation: Looking for something a bit heavier to chew on? This book will do it! It does get gruesome and violent at times, but it fits right within the story line. Tyndale Publishers sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.
Well. This book wasn’t quite what I expected, but y’all, what a pleasant surprise it was! A gritty thriller and an intriguing look at spiritual warfare and the supernatural that I had a hard time putting down. Also, reading it alone at night made for some extra thrills, especially when my cat jumped at nothing – ha! I haven’t read Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness (I know…#fail, but it’s on the list), but I imagine it to be something like this reading experience. Using fiction, Parshall was able to bring to life the battles of good and evil that we don’t see. It was interesting and has left me thinking about the supernatural days later (in a good way of course!). I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this story as well. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be and I always like when I’m wrong in a mystery – it’s not as fun when you guess! If you like a good thriller – add this one to the list! Are you a fan of thrillers? What’s one of your favorites? (Thank you to Tyndale Publishers for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.) Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2016/10/11/occupied-craig-parshall-book-review/
They Don't Only Come Out After Dark.... This is a Christian supernatural thriller! All three of those subjects come together in a very fast-moving and believable story. If the reality of God and the devil aren't acknowledged, they don't have any influence on one's life, right? Once upon a time, that is what Trevor Black thought, as well. Seemingly, he had it all: he was a successful New York City lawyer, had a beautiful wife, and lots of money. Trevor had never given much thought to good or evil, God or the devil. But then everything came crashing down around him, and in the midst of his loss, he discovered Jesus. But he also uncovers the reality of evil, and that he has been given an unusual gift. He can sense the presence of evil, or horribles as he calls them--he can even smell them. So begins a very realistic tale of intense spiritual warfare. As a warning, there are some mature themes in this book. However, everything flows together to point the reader to faith in God. Trevor finds he must be ever watchful, because as Peter said, "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." But he also discovers as the disciples of long ago said to Jesus--"Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." This book is a real page turner, but it will also keep the hair on the back of your neck standing--even more so, because the story is so believable. The author does a great job of tying incidents from decades earlier in Trevor's life to things happening in the present. The characters are interesting and realistic, and the author will keep you on the edge of your seat! Your heart will be racing by the time you get to the last page. This also appears to be a start of a series; I certainly hope so! I highly recommend this 5 plus star book to anyone interested in thrillers with a supernatural twist. Tyndale House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The Occupied, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
** “But you, on the other hand, are occupied by Christ. By God’s grace, and your faith. You see, it is not what comes against you that matters. It is who occupies you that counts. Christ, the guardian of your soul.” ** I am new to Craig Parshall’s novels, but wow did I start with a bang with “The Occupied,” a tale of spiritual warfare. Trevor Black is a former criminal defense lawyer who develops a unique gift — the ability to sense demons, or horribles as he calls them, and their presence in humans. Using this gift, he is dragged into investigating some horrific murders and figuring out the connection between them and himself. Three distinct sections make up “The Occupied.” The Flesh deals with Trevor’s teen years and his introduction to the dark side of the spirit world. We will eventually see how giving into the flesh impacts Trevor’s future. The World deals with Trevor’s life as a high-level attorney, some brutal murders, Trevor’s loss of career, and his gain of Christ in his life. It is during this time Trevor learns there is a higher purpose in life, his weapon is the word of the Spirit (the Bible), and that God is always stronger than the enemy. During The Devil section, Trevor returns home to investigate the murder of a high school friend — and if it is connected to the recent murders in New York City. He begins to realize that he can truly “visualize the true ugliness of the other side,” and learns that Jesus has overcome the world, and through that power Trevor can overcome the dark side. Parshall does a great job of tying together the three eras in Trevor’s life, and throwing in many awesome spiritual truths. He reminds us that if we truly have faith in God, He will never leave us and will always provide us the tools we need to defeat the enemy. As Rev. John Cannon encourages Trevor: “God’s Word is the road map. But the walking is left up to you. You are not alone. God does not fail. He empowers you. Christ in you, the everlasting hope. But the way is narrow. Sometimes daunting. A thin line, like a razor’s edge.” “The Occupied” is a great murder mystery and an awesome spiritual warfare novel, with a little bit of legalese and a touch of potential romance. It will send chills down your spine and keep you guessing until the very end. So the only other question to ask is: Who occupies you? If you are a fan of Frank Peretti, Mike Dellosso or Ted Dekker, you will love Craig Parshall’s newest novel. I really hope there are more Trevor Black novels to come! Five stars out of five. Tyndale House Publishers provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
Once again I've come across a book that leaves me with a deeper meaning to spiritual warfare. The Occupied is more than mere thriller or horror; it is also a book on truth about the unseen forces that influence the world today just as it did in the past. Because we can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there. The character Trevor Black (and I started to see a little symbolism about his name as I read more) is blessed with the gift of discernment. Discernment meaning he can smell and sense the evil of demons around him and at times see them as they "occupied" a person. Although the Christian aspect is not heavy or layered thickly throughout the book, the belief in Christ is made evident. As is the Scriptural truths about the battle that we cannot see. Told in present tense, first person at the beginning and then morphing into past tense, first person, the reader is held firmly into the story to experience the life of Trevor Black as he learns what his new gift means for him and why. There are references to things I've seen in other books, such as Guardian King and Lord of flies, that makes those other books take on a new level. And it deepens the story of The Occupied even more. The title, The Occupied, has a dual meaning itself. Want to know what it is? Then read the book! I highly and fervently recommend it It is a book that leaves you wanting more of Trevor's story; leaves you with questions and the need to understand more; leaves you with a veil lifted from your eyes and the desire to understand more about the full armor of God. Craig Parshall has brought to readers a solid book of mystery, thrills, passion, hope, and above all love. Emotions ride high in The Occupied. And I will repeat this, buy the book! It's a book that will stay with you for days to come. ***I received this book through Tyndale Blog Network in exchange of my full and honest review***