USA Today bestselling author David Mack’s novel “The Calling” brings us the story of Tom Nash, an ordinary guy who’s anything but — Tom hears prayers, and does everything in his power to make them come true.
On the surface, Tom looks like a pretty normal guy: average truck, average home, a wife, and a baby on the way. Only Tom and his wife, Karen, know that he is anything but ordinary. Tom is blessed — or cursed — with the ability to hear peoples’ prayers. He cannot choose which prayers he hears, but often when he hears them, he feels compelled to help. And up until now, he’s done just that; lending a helping hand to those who need it, and privately chuckling about those who don’t. But things are about to change.
Tom wakes up in the middle of the night with a new prayer in his head; seven short words that will change his life forever. The plea comes in the voice of an eleven-year old girl, Phaedra Doyle, and when Tom hears the prayer, he knows this rescue mission will be more dangerous than ever before. But knowing that he is undoubtedly the only one who can help her, he knows he cannot refuse to try. The silent plea echoes in Tom’s head: Please, God… Don’t let them kill me.
Tom bids his worried wife goodbye, and sets out for New York City, in search of the abducted child. When he goes investigating and wanders into trouble, he is mercifully saved by a beautiful woman, Erin, who seems to know more about his ability than he does. How can that be? Tom wonders. Simple — Erin is just like Tom. They are the Called, born with special abilities used to save (or destroy, when powers are placed in the wrong hands). More specifically, they are Seekers, and not only are they able to hear prayers, they are each also given a special unique ability. Erin can communicate with animals. Tom, as he will eventually learn, is a lie detector. He can also command large groups of people, and occasionally deflect bullets.
Erin joins Tom on his mission to save young Phaedra from her captors, who turn out to be the Russian Mafia. Or so they think… But when more and more clues pile up, the possibility of the Russians’ involvement becomes less and less likely, forcing Tom and Erin to search elsewhere. However the closer they get to their answers, the more perilous the mission becomes, until it becomes a very real possibility that neither of them will live to see tomorrow. After all, they’re only playing God, and immortality wasn’t part of the deal.
Can they save Phaedra without sacrificing themselves? Will Tom ever find answers about who he really is?
Incredible. A hint of religion, as you can relate the Called to guardian angels, but not enough to repel haters of religious fiction. The caste system of the Called is really interesting to learn about, and it feels extremely realistic, almost as if they could really be walking among us. Tom’s character — and for that matter, Erin’s — are extremely easy to relate to, and the sense of chemistry between them is obvious. Most importantly, the ending was a twist. A good one, at that. I was pleasantly surprised, and really can’t think of a better way it could have ended. A refreshing topic, brilliantly plotted and executed. Read this book: you won’t be disappointed.
This book is currently available at the Wausau Barnes & Noble.