2018 Christy Award winner!By March of Owen Edmonds’s senior year, eleven students at Masonville High School have committed suicide. Amid the media frenzy and chaos, Owen tries to remain levelheadeduntil he endures his own near-death experience and wakes to a distressing new reality.The people around him suddenly appear to be shackled and enslaved.Owen frantically seeks a cure for what he thinks are crazed hallucinations, but his delusions become even more sinister. An army of hideous, towering beings, unseen by anyone but Owen, are preying on his girlfriend and classmates, provoking them to self-destruction.Owen eventually arrives at a mind-bending conclusion: he’s not imagining the evileveryone else is blind to its reality. He must warn and rescue those he loves . . . but this proves to be no simple mission. Will he be able to convince anyone to believe him before it’s too late?Owen’s heart-pounding journey through truth and delusion will force him to reconsider everything he believes. He both longs for and fears the answers to questions that are quickly becoming too dangerous to ignore.
Read an Excerpt
A deep, guttural growl jarred my eyes open. It was so dark I couldn't see a thing, but I knew where the sound was coming from. Exactly where she was, crouched low to the floor.
My psychotic dog was at it again.
I didn't move. Maybe she'd give up and lie down. For once, let it go — whatever it was.
But she kept on, this time with a snarl. I had no choice but to throw my sheets back and peer over the foot of my bed. "Stop it, girl. It's okay."
Labrador retrievers are known for their protective instincts, but my dog's senses were way off. More nights than not, she'd fixate on my closed bedroom door and growl like an ax murderer was stomping down the hallway.
I tapped the mattress. "Daisy. Get up here."
She didn't budge.
"Come on, girl. Nothing's there."
This time, I was wrong.
My door flung open and collided with the wall, sending Daisy scurrying under the bed and me scrambling to my feet. A silhouette stood in the doorway, framed by the hall light. This was no ax murderer. Still, I wasn't entirely relieved.
What does she want now?
She steadied herself against the door frame, her hair still wrapped in a towel from last night's bath. Her pasty-white bird legs looked even thinner than usual.
Don't step in here. Don't come in my room ...
She usually ended up knocking something over. And somehow she'd always make it my fault.
I grabbed my cell off my nightstand — 6:03 a.m.
She managed to slur a few words, but I interrupted. "Go lie down, Mom. I'll make breakfast in a minute."
A half hour later, I had gotten dressed, fed my dog, pressed start on the coffee maker, and was sorting through the mail left in a heap by the microwave. My stomach leaped into my throat when I came across a slim letter stamped with a cardinal-red logo. Finally, the letter I'd been waiting for — working my guts out for — since my freshman year.
I exhaled, trying to rid my body of nervous tension. I didn't get anxious very often, but this was Stanford. My dream university. I tore into the envelope. In less than sixty seconds, I'd know if I'd succeeded or bombed.
I read at warp speed. "Admissions Committee carefully reviewed ... much consideration ... regret to inform you that your application ..."
And just like that, my number one goal was facedown in the water.
I wanted to protest, to somehow convince the letter to change its mind and rewrite itself. But reality began to seep in like the damp cold of the drizzling rain outside.
It occurred to me that maybe my mother was right, that I was too ambitious. Maybe the world had enough doctors already.
I crumpled the letter with the rest of the junk mail and hurled the wad clear across the kitchen. It felt good seeing it slam into the recycle bin.
Maybe if there hadn't been a sink full of dishes, I would have sat and sulked.
I rinsed my mom's sticky wineglasses, battling the sting of disappointment. It's not the end of the world, I reminded myself. I'd already been accepted to my hometown university, Boston College. Hardly a bad plan B.
And it fulfilled my second biggest goal: to get out of Masonville, Texas. For good. I'd been here three months and still couldn't get used to seeing cattle graze next to busy streets.
I stared at the wet streaks on the kitchen window and shook my head. Another dreary day. It was like a gang of storm clouds stalked this Hill Country town, bringing downpours and gloom and charcoal-colored sunsets.
But the press loved the weather. The ominous drizzle was the perfect backdrop for their never-ending news coverage about the Masonville High suicides. Sure enough, on the TV mounted to the kitchen wall, a reporter was going on and on about the deaths. She was interviewing some psychiatrist whose big words failed to offer any solutions.
What would cause a whole string of people to murder themselves? As much as I prided myself on having logical answers for everything in life, this was beyond me.
I wiped dishes dry while footage played from the last town hall meeting. Same as all the others: sobbing mothers, finger-pointing fathers, school administrators pleading with the crowd to stay calm.
Then it was back to the know- it-all reporter. She was one of the worst. With every suicide at my school, she was among the first to flock to our campus in a race to broadcast the latest tragedy. It was like having ravenous vultures perched over you every day. Watching you. Licking their beaks.
Thanks to the media, the nation was now captivated by the so-called Masonville Suicide Saga. It was reporters like this one who made our brand-new school out to be the eighth wonder of the world, the ultimate reality freak show. I'd go to class today knowing that people all over the world were on the edge of their seats, wondering who would off themselves next. And how.
This was not how I'd envisioned my senior year.
I texted my kind-of-girlfriend, Jess: About to leave. We'd been spending time together for two months now but had yet to make it official. I wasn't big on commitment, and I guess she picked up on that.
I carried some buttered toast and a cup of coffee into the living room for my mom, who was sprawled on the sofa. Why was she lounging around while I made breakfast? This was my life. Most days I was pretty good at dealing with it.
Today? Not so much.
But it wasn't all bad. With the exception of her constantly correcting my grammar and making me learn a new Latin word every week or so, she pretty much left me to myself.
I set the food on the coffee table, along with a bill she needed to pay today. Two weeks ago, actually. Then I grabbed my backpack and headed out the door to see my baby — my 1986 Ducati Scrambler motorcycle. Iconic yellow panels.
My mom may have been a near failure as a parent, but she managed to do a few things right — like get me this Italian bike two years ago for my sixteenth birthday. It needed some work, but I couldn't complain. It was a classic.
Thankfully, today it started right up.
Ten minutes later, I pulled into Jess's circular driveway and stared at her mammoth house, a stark contrast to my place. It's not that my mom couldn't afford better; we were living in her childhood home because it had been willed to me by her parents. To me, even though my mom hadn't spoken to them in decades and I seriously had no idea they even knew I existed. The plan was to fix up the place and sell it for a decent profit. And the key to the house showed up just in time, when we needed to get out of Boston fast.
I never did understand how my mom managed to bank a six-figure income while working a few hours here and there as an online tutor — and I didn't really care to ask — but with Jess's dad, there was no mystery. He was a real-estate genius.
I sent Jess a text, then ran up the slippery steps to her front porch, holding the new pink helmet I'd gotten her. When she didn't come out, I grabbed the thick knocker on her front door and hit it against the mahogany.
And there I stood.
By now, the drizzle had picked up. I texted Jess again, then looked toward the three-car garage. The door was open. Weird.
As usual, Mr. Thompson's Tesla was gone, but so was Mrs. Thompson's SUV. Jess's convertible was the only vehicle there. I knocked again, with my fist this time, and rang the doorbell. It chimed like a pipe organ.
I called Jess's cell. Straight to voice mail.
I texted: Where are you? You okay?
I sucked in a damp, deep breath and ran into the garage. It wasn't my place to go barging in, but the door to the house was locked anyway. I tried knocking again. Still no answer.
I hurried to my bike, glancing back at the front door through the rain, then put my helmet on and sat with the engine off. I didn't care that I was getting soaked. My pulse pounded against my watch. I forced myself to breathe deep, squeezing my handlebar grips.
Most people in my shoes wouldn't be so alarmed, but most people weren't burying classmates every few weeks. Truth is, I'd been worried about Jess. She'd seemed down lately. She'd get quiet all of a sudden, and not even our inside jokes would get a laugh out of her. When I'd ask what was wrong, she'd just shrug.
I hated that.
Still no word from her, so I started my bike and pulled back onto the street. I noticed an old man in a white, vintage-looking pickup truck parked across the street. More like he noticed me — he stared a hole through me, then tipped his cowboy hat.
I gave somewhat of a nod, then took off, hardly touching the brake all the way to school. Maybe Jess's mom had driven her, but wouldn't Jess have told me? She'd been riding to school with me every day for a month now. Our bonding time, she called it.
Unwelcome images paraded through my mind, vivid and colorful. Jess on her bedroom floor, not breathing. An empty pill bottle a few inches from her open palm.
Maybe her mother is rushing her to the hospital right now.
That would explain the garage door left open, the missing SUV, Jess's parked car.
I exhaled, slow and steady. Jess would never hurt herself ... would she?
I played my music through my earphones, but that didn't stop the mental footage. A school-wide announcement. A funeral procession. Me in my new black suit I'd worn way too many times already.
I turned my music up. Jess is fine. I'll see her in a few minutes at school. Nothing to worry about.
I wiped blobs of rain off my helmet visor, and by the time I neared the intersection two blocks from my school, I could see better. Unfortunately.
Religious fanatics surrounded our campus. They shouted and held up signs, protesting as if our suicidal student body were defiling their holy planet. Their posters said all kinds of cruel, idiotic things. My personal favorite: "Satan lives at Masonville High."
I shook my head. Just yesterday I'd vented to Jess that if Satan did exist, he'd be outside waving a sign with them.
From day one, the protesters had creeped Jess out.
"Why do they hate us so much?" she'd say.
I'd just sigh. "Who cares?"
But I had to admit the hostile scene was becoming unnerving. Especially today. My stomach hurt, sloshing with nervous adrenaline, and these people were not helping me fight the urge to puke.
A lanky guy with stringy red hair shook a fist. "It's the end of the world! Repent or perish!"
Wouldn't you know it — traffic stopped, putting me next to him for a good two minutes. Let's just say that if looks really could kill, I would have flatlined.
The light changed, and the freak ran alongside me, shouting nonsense. I made a hand gesture to let him know what I thought of his hate speech.
Eyes back on the road, I instantly squeezed hard on the brake, unable to breathe.
Television network vans lined the curb outside my school. That obnoxious reporter was scurrying to get in front of a camera.
Excerpted from "The Delusion"
Copyright © 2017 Laura Gallier.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
I encourage you to read The Delusion. It triggers your imagination about the realities of spiritual warfare.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I literally could not put the book down. I will definitely be reading other titles by this author.
This book was a wonderful writing and compelling to read with also had a fresh perspective with the power can comes from payer and that is the true of God’s Word. The story of this book was reminding us to the true of the we are all have good and bad inside for very long time of our culture that we have to face out and challenges us. This is a great book for family and specially to teenage that had a lot of change in their life and need to be guide with the right direction this book will help and bring to the vision that support and faithfulness. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Tydale House Publishers for this review”.
Fans of The Shack and This Present Darkness won't be surprised by The Delusion; spiritual warfare isn't a new book topic. However, this is the first time I've seen it so perfectly written for TEEN fiction. That's what makes The Delusion so special! It comes across as more of a horror story, or at least a thriller, and doesn't immediately connect with Christian beliefs. Though it does have biblical references, they feel quite natural as part of the story. As I read, I kept thinking of the ways this story could be integrated in a youth group book club, a church play, or even a Halloween activity for teens. The physical descriptions of guilt, hopelessness, and sin were deftly handled in symbolic ways that young people can appreciate. Author Laura Gallier also did a great job of describing the traumas of high school, right down to a suicide epidemic that isn't such a new thing in the news anymore. I really enjoyed The Delusion and hope to see more from this author! Thanks to Tyndale for sending me this book. Opinions shared are mine.
If you let it, this story will change your life. Read. This. Book. I really can't emphasis this enough to you. To spare you an insanely long review, just imagine that I wrote those three words three hundred times. The Delusion is a fast-paced, supernatural, paranormal, Christian thriller. And no, that is not an oxymoron. The story starts with Owen, a high school senior, and eleven of the students in his school have committed suicide. WHY? Turns out there's a battle - a battle of good versus evil, light versus dark, Creepers versus Watchman, a battle for souls. A battle that's all too real. Though reading The Delusion may result in the rustle of chains scarring you half to death for the rest of your life, this eye-opening story is worth the sacrifice. While the author has used her imagination to paint a more complete picture of the world we cannot see, she definitely relies on the Bible and what is revealed to us there. Even though this is a fiction story, you know because you know because you know that this is real and happening right now. Imagine spiritual warfare presented in a fiction format. While entertaining and enthralling, this story will change how you view life, death, God, evil, suicide, prayer - the list goes on! I'll say it again: if you let it, this story will change your life. Five Stars ~ I have a lot of favorite books, but The Delusion is one of the best books I've ever read. No joke. Fans of Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean, The Gifting Series by K. E. Ganshert, or Ted Dekker will love this novel! The Delusion is the first book in The Delusion Series. Book Two can't release fast enough!!! I received a copy of The Delusion by Laura Gallier published by Tyndale from the Tyndale Blog Network. All opinions expressed are my own.
A very important subject is addressed with this book. It may be fiction, but it is based on a spiritual reality and the Paranormal that a lot of people don't think about when they see the news. What is behind all the violence, and peoples personal issues. This book deals with mass suicides among young people, and what drives them. It's main character is ignorant of what is behind the suicides, until his eyes are opened. This book is easy to read, flows well, and has romance, suspense, deals with alcoholic parents, abuse in personal dating relationships, and broken homes, and offers hope to those who suffer with hopelessness and depression, and has a mind blowing ending. If you've read This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, which was published in the 1986, and liked it, you'll love this book too. I highly recommend this book for Youth, but I think Adults will learn from it and enjoy it too as I have. I received this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.
I’m sitting here, trying to decide what adjective to use to begin this review. I want to give this book the credit and recognition it deserves. Amazing doesn’t seem like a “good enough” word to describe this book…. This book provides a visual picture of spiritual warfare…the invisible battle that wages each and every moment of every day around every person on Earth between the dark and light forces. I have never read a book that described this battle in such a clear way. There were moments that I had to put the book down and ponder what I had just read. There were moments when I got goosebumps, thinking about this war that is real but not seen by human eyes. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, flying through the pages, but nervous to see what was ahead. This was a life-changing book for me. It changes the way I look at prayer and interceding for people with prayer, it showed how truly important prayer is in a very cool way. The story shows how demonic forces can oppress Christians and possess non-Christians. There were some terrifying scenes that are more terrifying when you realize that this book, although fictional, is based on Biblical truths. The book is a young adult story, focused around teenagers but would definitely be a good read for teens as well as adults. Because of the difficult and gritty content, I would recommend that it not be read by anyone under the age of 16. My only problem is that it ended on a slight cliffhanger and I need more of the story! I am eagerly awaiting book 2. I highly recommend this book, it is my top rated book of 2017 so far. My Rating: 5 stars I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers to review.
Owen Edmonds recently inherited a home from his grandparents in Texas. Needing to flee their home , he and his mom move to Texas. Owen attends Mason High, which has had eleven students commit suicide. One day he goes for a walk on his property and meets a gentleman that offers him a drink from the well. Owen gets really sick and when he wakes up he is able to see people walking around with chains attached to their necks. Then he starts seeing strange creatures around the people who have chains. Owen notices some of the people do not have chains and instead have a light glowing from them. This news spread quickly and his friends turn against him. Two other boys want to drink the water and see what Owen sees. But when they drink the water, they die, leaving Owen suspected for killing them. The story is told from Owen's point of view and is very detailed. The story moves along rather quickly and there is so much happening that it is hard to put the book down. This is a story of good and evil, a story of teens and how they think and feel. There were a couple things in the story that I felt were especially good. One was when Owen questioned his mother about the names on her chains and was able to find out things of his past he had wondered about. The other was about his Christian friend Ray Ann. She was there for him through the situation and wanted to see what he could see. She was so loving, caring and forgiving that Owen wanted to give his mother the same mercy Ray Ann gave him. Together Ray Ann and Owen struggle to figure out a way to stop an attack on their school. I think older teens and adult that enjoy fantasy or thrillers would enjoy this book. There are very detailed descriptions that could be disturbing for some. The images the author paints are sometime horrific and some could find this hard to read. I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing. This my honest review.
** “People are enslaved by their own evil attitudes and impulses — their hard hearts. Dark forces exploit that. Prey on people’s brokenness. Thrive in a culture of unbelief.” ** Wow, just wow. That’s all I can say about “The Delusion” by Laura Gallier, a story of supernatural battle on the grandest level. The new high school in Masonville, Texas, has seen 11 student suicides since recently opening. And as that number continues to grow, no one can figure out why so many students are taking their lives. New in town, Owen Edmonds has a chance encounter with a mysterious man in the woods that will radically change his life. He suddenly finds himself with the ability to see what is attacking the students at Masonville High — and it’s something straight from a horror film. Is he having hallucinogenic delusions, or is what Owen seeing reality? And if so, why can no one else see what he is seeing? With the help of his new friend Ray Anne, who is a beacon of light, Owen sets out to help those around him and save them from the grips of death itself, even as he battles his own personal demons. The two work to fight against the forces that work under the “cloak of invisibility.” “The Delusion” is an incredible supernatural novel telling the story of the very real battle of good and evil that exists in our world. Gallier does an amazing job revealing how that good and evil could be personified. This story will totally creep you out, but yet move you to decide whose side are you on. It’s filled with utter despair and despondency and devastation, yet offers a very real hope as Owen and Ray Anne battle hell’s darkest forces. Gallier encourages us to always search for the light and the hope in every situation, and that sometimes we have to be the one to sacrificially fight the battle. As the mysterious man in the woods reminds Owen, “A real man fights for those who can’t defend themselves. Even if it costs him everything.” “The Delusion” also tackles such spiritual matters as does God really exist; is there someone out there who really cares about us; why does He allow bad things to happen; humanity fails time and time again, but God never does; we each have “incredible, indescribable value”; choosing freedom versus slavery; and the fact that only mankind can truly drive out wickedness. Fans of Frank Peretti or Robert Liparulo’s Dreamhouse Kings series will love “The Delusion.” Gallier does leave her novel at a bit of an unresolved cliffhanger, so I can’t wait to see how this story continues. And please, if you are struggling, seek help. Remember God loves you so very much and there is always hope. Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Five stars out of five. Tyndale House Publishers provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
"My stories are twisted and bizarre--and so terrifying that I'm sometimes told to shut up a few minutes into them--but I can't." So by this prologue begins a strange and weird tale told by Owen Edmonds. Owen starts off as an agnostic. We see that he is basically a good boy, someone who strives to do what is best, even though he comes from a broken home. He has friends that at times can be good, but for the most part are self-absorbed and vain. Just one moment of curiosity, the want to know more information, the need to have his questions answered, Owen takes a risk and the consequences send him into a supernatural existence. Now he can see demons and angels. He can see the shackles and chains that bound people to sin. And he can see the light of those who have been freed of their chains by their belief in Jesus Christ. The book is told in first person. The reader falls headlong into teenage thoughts and emotions, experiencing them. We see his illogical actions, his rash judgements, and ultimately his surrender and maturity. It takes skill to pull off the true portrayal of a teenager on the cusp of adulthood. And Laura Gallier does this extremely well. The novel is dark, but like any tunnel, there is light at the end. With each chapter the stage is set into more complex acts, each building upon the other, until the finale. The character, Owen, grows with each chapter, learning humility and love. Fair warning to readers, there are instances of scenes describing the horrific descent into hell. In one scene, it had nothing to do with the girl's suicide, but everything to do with her lost soul. The story is sound in Scripture, which is surprising to find in Young Adult novels. There is no apology for beliefs. There is no sugar coating the horror. And this is what makes it a great Christian Thriller. It is a battle of light and dark. The power of what prayer can do. And all told through the eyes of a teenager who is just beginning to learn the truth about what he is seeing. Thoroughly thought-provoking, I could see this as a youth group read and discussion. And extremely well-written novel and one that I do not want to part with, other than handing it over to my teenage son. ***I received this novel from Tyndale in exchange of an honest review***