Review: The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook – Jeff Kinley

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The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook:
Slaying the living dead within.

by Jeff Kinley
Thomas Nelson 2011, Kindle edition 

I suppose it says a lot about this book that I requested it to review around Halloween (and when I was just getting into the TV series The Walking Dead) but have only just managed to finish reading it.

The book alternates chapters between a zombie story and non-fiction theological study of sin and depravity, or, as the book’s overarching analogy calls it – the zombie within.

I’m honestly in two minds about this book: on the one hand there were parts which I really enjoyed, and others which just seemed really contrived and repetitive. It’s obviously aimed at younger readers, and assumes a certain fluency in current pop-culture. In many ways I would have preferred to read the two intertwining books separately.

On the plus side, the theological part, on the whole is very good (though I had a few quibbles towards the end as it seemed to assume a “left-behind” eschatology) and it doesn’t shy away from looking seriously at what the bible has to say about the human condition. Perhaps due to the alternating pattern, this side of it seemed to move fairly slowly and labour certain points too often, which resulted in ultimately stretching the analogy for too long (partly why it took some effort for me to find motivation to finish it). What I did appreciate was that the story side, which, although it had connections to the theological chapters was not explicitly tied to them; the theological chapters were not blatant exegesis of the story. Kinley allows the reader to notice the connections themselves with the narrative, which could easily stand on its own as a (fairly mild) zombie thriller.

There are some helpful study guide questions, though I think they’d be better placed after each chapter rather than at the end of the book.

On the whole, it’s an interesting attempt at contextualization, and will certainly appeal to the target audience. While the analogy may be, at times, stretched, the teaching on sin, grace and sanctification is both solid and written well for young people to understand.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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