3 Gates of the Dead Synopsis:
Sometimes, the most evil things come from the most holy…
Conflicted with his faith in God and the hypocrisy of the church, Aidan Schaeffer, a young assistant pastor, is in a constant state of spiritual turmoil. When Aidan learns that his ex-fiancée is the first victim in a string of ritualistic killings, he finds himself in the middle of an even deeper fight. Tormented by demonic threats and haunted by spirits, Aidan throws himself into investigating Amanda’s death; all the while supernatural forces have begun to attack the people around him. The more questions he asks, the more he is drawn into the world of a mysterious Anglican priest, a paranormal investigation group and a rogue female detective investigating the murders. As the gruesome rituals escalate, ancient hidden secrets and an evil long buried threaten to rip Aidan’s world apart.-Goodreads
3 Gates of the Dead Review
Let me start with the positive. It was cool that this book was based in my hometown. I’d never read a book based there before, so it definitely added a certain heft to the book that it might have been lacking otherwise for me. (However, it also took away some of the mystery for me. I was internally shouting a few answers at the characters.) The characters were well-written. There were some genuinely creepy and disturbing scenes scattered throughout. The writer has a serious talent for writing believable dialogue and making his main character seem very joe-street, even as a pastor.
Some of my favorite quotes were:
“Dude, run!” – (This is one of those deals where the line itself wasn’t really funny, but the context – a faith-less preacher running from a haunted house – made it hilarious.)
“I wish I could be as good as you.”
His eyes bore into me. “You’re not me. You’re you. Learn to be who you were created to be. ” – We need this message, we need this message everywhere.
“Then let me be more clear and direct. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, f*** off!” – This one quite literally had me snorting with laughter.
Sometimes my love of horror and my distaste for religious hullaboo cause me to have very conflicted feelings on books. Most of the time, it’s not a problem, and I’m easily able to just enjoy the book. However, this conflict was definitely present for 3 Gates of the Dead, which was an interesting attempt by author Jonathan Ryan to try to integrate man’s doubting his/her god into the course of a supernatural thriller.
See, here’s the thing – there’s a certain point at which a book becomes less of a fun read and a thrill ride and more of an excuse for preaching some religious point.
For the religiously-inclined, this is a wonderful book that reinforces its okay to have doubts, but that the presence of their chosen divinity is definitely there. For the non-religiously inclined, it’s a supernatural thriller that had the potential to be super interesting, and quickly just became a tad annoying. The main reason this happened for me was honestly the fact that it was obvious really early on that of course the main character was going to find his faith again. There was no doubt about it, so the doubts never really felt serious. If it had felt like there was any chance that he might legitimately not regain his faith, it would have been a lot more interesting.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad read, but it could use some tweaking. There’s some repetitious imagery, some grammar and punctuation mistakes that got missed, and the internal drama needs to be a little bit more…dramatic. It is a mostly entertaining and quick read, though. I’d definitely recommend it to those who do the praying thing, but wouldn’t recommend it to us heathens that are just looking for a good supernatural thriller. 3 Gates of the Dead is available here on Amazon if you want to try it out for yourself.
I know, I know, what’s a girl like me doing reading religious-themed books. I can’t help it. Sometimes the premise sucks me in! And like I said in the 3 Gates of the Dead review, most of the time I don’t have a problem. In fact, quite a few of my favorite horror stories have a strong religious element. It just depends on how it’s done (and it’s not helped in this case by the fact that’s not as much a horror story as it is a supernatural thriller).