Author:  Mark Mynheir
Title:  The Void
Publisher:  Multnomah

Man clones human beings. Clones rise up and kill man. (Another) Man must rise up and defeat evil clones. It’s a tale as old as time, right? Or perhaps the second episode in the Star Wars saga? Actually, it’s Mark Mynheir’s third novel, The Void. The story revolves around the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and specifically, Robbie Sanchez, a female cop running a murder investigation. A local police officer is found dead in a parking lot, just a few hundred feet from the mysterious Lifetex scientific complex.

The rest, as they say, is history, except with a spiritual twist. Not only does Lifetex create clones of human beings, the clones apparently are soulless, and therefore perfect empty vessels for demon spirits. The demon spirits take up residence in the clones, begin attacking humans, and waging war against the “sealed ones” (Christians) in an attempt to thwart the Offensive One (God).

As a disclaimer, I should mention at this point that I prefer secular literature. I find that it represents life more realistically. Many Christian books seem to paint the world with a limited palette, preferring to favor black and white and ignore the gray altogether. However, there are lots of people, including friends and family, who like an easy weekend read, or a message book. I understand that, and have read those books (Francine Rivers or Karen Kingsbury come to mind). I can appreciate them, and when they’re well-written, they’re engaging, and remind me of things that aren’t always obvious in my day-to-day life.

Mark Mynheir’s The Void doesn’t rise to either of those standards. It’s clunky, and I never cared much for Robbie Sanchez, the protagonist. It’s also impossible to believe that Robbie, or her environment, exists anywhere on planet earth. The cop that is killed is a Christian. His partner, also a Christian, is allowed to work the case with Robbie, and routinely witnesses to her (all okay . . . but hold your horses). The other two cops working the case are Christians (starting to seem a little implausible? Just wait.). They often all gang up on their boss and harass him about not being spiritually minded. At one point, Robbie repeats a comment from one of the clones, and Christian cop #3 raises his hand (you read that right) and starts quoting the Book of Enoch, mentioning "It's an extra-biblical text. Not on par with Scripture, but certainly an interesting read." In the middle of a briefing.

So I can’t recommend this. I want to, I really do. I read to the end, hoping for a twist or mind-blowing ending. The author replied to an e-mail query in a matter of hours, and seemed sincere, genuine, and kind. But the book is not well written, and serves only to remind me of the burden Christians have to produce great art. To write novels and paint paintings and play music that is every bit as good as the secular world, if not better, and then give all the glory to God. To portray Him realistically, honestly, and convincingly to a world that doesn’t need a dumbed-down message, but instead a simple one that resonates. A message that is real. It’s just not this book, folks.

   
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