the visitation

Frank Peretti
Word Publishing

Burned-out former preacher Travis Jordan has been living in the relatively peaceful Washington town of Antioch, wishing to keep his past behind him and live out his days as uneventful as can be expected. For a while, all he had to contend with are a pile of dirty dishes, his concerned sister, and the overly-zealous young pastor that’s replaced him in his old church. Nothing interesting ever really happened in Antioch- until one day the small, unasuming town found itself the gateway to supernatural happenings. Angel sightings, messianic visions, and a weeping crucifix that seemed to heal all who touched it were just the beginning. Then came the young man who claimed to have a special message for everyone who would hear him, a message that pointed to him being the second coming of the Messiah. Suddenly, Antioch finds itself clogged with the spiritually hungry, arriving in droves to a farm outside of town. Now, Travis Jordon finds himself and his strained spiritual beliefs challenged, as he hurtles toward a showdown between himself and a possible false Messiah…

Ever since this book came out in 1999, The Visitation has stood as my hands-down favorite of everything Frank Peretti has written. There’s a completely deep connection with the parallels between the character of Travis Jordan and myself, it’s almost spooky. I’ve been in his shoes, made the same mistakes he’s made as a Christian, experienced the same hardships, and have been in the same place where, while I haven’t ever renounced my faith in GOD and Jesus, I did have some serious issues to work out between us.

Story-wise, the plot takes place between the “present”, with some very informative flashbacks into Jordan’s past, bringing us up to speed as to why we found him in this position. You really feel and care for the characters…even the so-called “bad guy”, who is in the wrong, but when it gets to why he’s doing this, you can’t help but feel for the guy.

The Visitation is one of Peretti’s best works. On a Christian level, it strengthened my own faith without being preachy. On a purely literary level, the story will draw you in, keeping you through the various twists and turns in this mystery thriller with supernatural overtones to the end. And really, that straight-to-video movie adaptation does hardly any justice to the book. Check this one out. Highly recommended…