Temptation (Solitary Tales #3) – Travis Thrasher

Temptation Travis Thrasher
Temptation by Travis Thrasher
Series: Solitary Tales #3
Published by David C. Cook on April 1, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Speculative, Young Adult
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five-stars

The third book in the Solitary Tales series for young adults, Temptation follows the soul-wrenching twists of Chris Buckley’s journey as he heads deeper into a darkness that threatens all he loves best. As a reluctant student at Harrington High’s summer school, Chris meets a fun-loving senior girl who offers a welcome diversion from Chris’s past. Soon Chris no longer searches for the truth about the town of Solitary. He no longer tries to pierce its shadows. He no longer questions his role in its mysteries. He makes a new choice: he runs. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s running the wrong way—and is very close to being beyond any choices at all.

Chris Buckley needs answers but he also needs his sanity. Given the events of Solitary and Gravestone, those two things just might be mutually exclusive. Ever since Chris and his mom moved to the supposedly sleepy town of Solitary, strange things have been happening. Well, that’s an understatement. More like Chris finds himself caught up in a town that acts like nothing is wrong while covering up blatant murder, occult activity, a beyond weird pastor, a mysterious past, and something to do with mannequins. Something demonic is going down in Solitary and somehow Chris is tied to it.

In Temptation, Chris decides he simply cannot take the fight anymore and gives up. Let evil continue. He can’t stop it. He should be able to enjoy his last year in high school as much as possible and then just get out, leave, call it quits. Never speak of Solitary again. Or Jocelyn. Or Poe. Or Kelsey. If he can’t uncover the truth, he’ll run from the carnage it brings. Only he’s running the wrong direction.

But it’s in running that Chris begins to find some answers—maybe. The pastor, Jeremiah Marsh, seems intent on revealing more of his secrets to Chris. Solitary’s tie to Chris’s ancestry is revealed. Questions Chris longed to have answered now seem to find him. Running away turns out to be not an option, because whatever evil there is in the town needs him. He can fight or give up but he can’t not play the game. Temptation is a battle for Chris Buckley’s soul. And by the time he realizes it, it just might be too late.

After two novels of many questions and few answers, Thrasher pulls back the veil to give readers just enough answers to keep us guessing and begging for more. Chris’s desire to just be normal (and not like some character in a YA novel, he comments wryly at one point) is one of the cardinal desires of young adults—or anyone—trying to find their place in the world. Travis does a great job of diving into Chris’s character and making readers empathize with his plight. Not the plight of death and horror in Solitary, but the plight of death and horror in Chris Buckley’s soul.

Temptation is about a kid who reaches the end of himself—and rightfully so, given what we know of his story—and finds that it’s only then that can he make the decision of who he is going to be. Thrasher writes in such a way that Chris’s journey becomes our own and we find ourselves sucked into the story and unable to escape. And just like its predecessors, Temptation left me wanting so much more all while feeling satisfied at what had been revealed. With one book remaining to put the pieces together, Thrasher is settling in to close out what has been an awesome series. I wouldn’t want to actually be in Chris Buckley’s shoes, but being able to step into them through Thrasher’s art of story has been an entertaining and thought-provoking experience I won’t soon forget.

five-stars

About Travis Thrasher

Travis Thrasher

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, celebrities and pastors.

With the childhood goal of pursuing a writing career starting in third grade, Thrasher worked for 13 years at Tyndale House Publishers after graduating college. His experience working with as Author Relations Manager allowed him to understand the writing life as well as training him to work with a variety of personalities. This experience has proven to be invaluable with varied writing projects in the decade he’s been a full-time writer.

His novels are as diverse as the people he’s worked with, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. Publishers Weekly said “Sara and Ethan are two of the most real and sensitive lovers to grace the genre” when reviewing his first novel, The Promise Remains. They also stated “Thrasher demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre” in a review for Isolation years later. His readers have enjoyed the unpredictability of his novels, whether it’s due to a unique style such as second person or a twist they never saw coming.

Thrasher’s storytelling ability has also allowed him to work with others on their books, from musicians like country musician Scotty McCreery and Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. He has also penned novels based on songs such as Paper Angels with Jimmy Wayne and novelizations for films including Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Upcoming projects continue to expand his talents, with projects including The Black Auxiliary about the lives of the 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.

Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

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