PARANORMIA is the newest book written by Christian speculative fiction author Paul Regnier and I’ve got to tell you…it is fantastic! A few years ago, I interviewed Paul after reading Space Drifters: The Emerald Enigma (book 1 of 3 in the Space Drifters series of comedic space opera goodness), and I knew from that very first book that he was going to be an author to watch out for (You can read that interview HERE). His newest book is evidence of my first assessment. So, how exactly can I describe Paranormia? Well, I’ve been telling people…
It’s like if C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens had a book baby. If you can imagine that, then you might have an inkling of an idea of what this book might be like.
Allow me to explain. The book is about a 21-year-old comic nerd named Chris, who fancies himself quite the loser. By that, I mean, the guy is really hard on himself, and maybe he deserves to be. Although he’s a comic book artist and writer, he never seems to have any sense of drive or direction. His graphic novel is collecting dust while he tries to save up money to self-publish it. He goes through jobs like some people go through Kleenex, and he can’t talk to women to save his life. As a matter of fact, the girl he’s got his eye on—his next-door-neighbor, in fact—kind of thinks he’s a creep because he never can quite express himself to her in any sort of coherent way.
Then, he makes one major mistake (some might call it a brilliant move, depending on your point of view). In a fit of despondency, he asks his best friend and roommate why God can’t just point him in the direction he needs to go to make his life great? He essentially, asks God to intervene in his life, which sets into motion of rollercoaster-style chain reaction that will turn Chris’ world upside down.
Enter, stage right: Sir Finchelus (Chris calls him simply Finch), an angel on probation tasked with steering Chris toward a righteous mission God has tasked the nerd with. Enter, stage left: Demonic forces bent on stopping Chris from completing his mission no matter what the cost. And thrown in the midst of it all is Chris’s best friend/roommate, his sweet and pretty next-door-neighbor, and the alluringly sexy and very wealthy millionaire boss.
The plot plays out like a secretive game of chess between good and evil with Chris the only pawn on the board. Like The Screwtape Letters, you get a glimpse of how Satan and demons work to hinder a Christian’s growth and stop any momentum she might have in expanding God’s kingdom. Distractions. Shiny baubles. And when all else fails, fear and accusations are their weapons of choice. But they’re not all horns and pitchforks either. They come as angels of light, after all, and when Chris is given a dream job with a shiny new Porsche (and later, a Ferrari), plus lots and lots of money, he can’t see how any of it could possibly be a bad thing.
Contrast that with Finch, the angel, who shows up only when he wants to (it seems), never offers Chris any real support (it seems), and definitely never offers Chris nice cars, expensive clothes, and lots and lots of cash. In fact, it seems that Finch wants Chris to put others ahead of himself. Worse, he seems to want Chris to shift his entire outlook on the world, and focus on heavenly things at the risk of losing everything.
I won’t analyze the book’s themes any more. Don’t want to spoil the fun. But I will say a few more things about the story. First, the protagonist is an extremely likable fellow. Very identifiable (at least, to me anyway). Well developed. He also has a clear cut character arc and it’s exciting to watch him transform from loser to something much much better as the story progresses. Finch, however, is my favorite character (I have a feeling that’ll be true for a lot of people). I don’t want to give much away about him, but he’s very funny, and his mischievous streak is quite entertaining.
Finally, while, yes, this is Christian fiction, it’s not preachy or dull. It’s truly a fun story that explodes to high-octane levels toward the end. Car chases. Shootouts. Demonic attacks. Spectral smoke coiled like tentacles. Divine miracles of biblical proportions. This book has it all…including lots and lots of heart and wit.
It’s my hope that you’ll give PARANORMIA (and Paul’s other books) a chance and see what I’m talking about when I say he’s a very fun author with an obvious passion for writing geeky romps. Pick up Paranormia HERE. And check out Paul’s Amazon author page HERE.