The Deciding Hour

Christian - Thriller
322 Pages
Reviewed on 02/08/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

Six friends embark on the perfect holiday that takes them south of the border into beautiful Mexico. On their way back, having thoroughly enjoyed the sights and sounds of their travel destination, they run into horrendous weather and are forced to seek refuge in a strange hotel that looks like it is situated in the middle of nowhere. Caleb, Carlos, Dustin, Connor, Malik, and Ethan are about to find out that even though they claim their friendship is akin to that of brothers, there are limits to the sacrifices associated with brotherly bonds, and the secrets they keep from each other are about to test those limits in Jerrod Oluwatoyin Fasan's The Deciding Hour.

Interpersonal relationships take a front seat in Jerrod Oluwatoyin Fasan's novel with intricacies that make for the perfect balance. The way the early chapters suck you in is reminiscent of a horror classic. I love the way Ethan and the other boys are brought to life with very thorough origin stories that I found quite easy to follow. The pace of the story slows down somewhat as you approach its conclusion but the impressively vivid manner in which Fasan describes the events that transpire in that mysterious house makes up for any reservations I had. What I love the most about The Deciding Hour is that despite it being a Christian story, the storyline is finely balanced between the worldly and religious angles of the plot in a manner that is comfortable for all readers, irrespective of their faith or lack thereof. I enjoyed reading this lovely young adult thriller.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Deciding Hour by Jerrod Oluwatoyin Fasan is a thriller with a difference. Six friends are returning from vacation when they get caught in a storm and take shelter in a hotel. It’s much bigger than they thought it would be and seems to offer plenty for them. But then they discover the horror hiding behind the doors, a horror that keeps them trapped in a room together, forcing them to play a game to escape. It’s not your average game, though. This game knows all their deepest and darkest secrets, secrets that will let some of the friends leave – but not the others. With their faith sorely tested, can they find the salvation they need to get out of this situation alive?

The Deciding Hour by Jerrod Oluwatoyin Fasan is a fascinating story that’s part thriller and part horror and was based on accounts of near-death experiences related to the author. It is a Christian story and contains many Christian teachings and lessons, which made it feel as though it was in some way a non-fiction story. There are several main characters, all developed well, and you do get to know some of what makes them tick. The plot is unusual for the genre, which made a refreshing change, and it had some twists and turns. It isn’t a high-action story, but it is steady and well-written. If you like books that teach you life lessons along the way, this might be the book for you.

Asher Syed

The Deciding Hour by Jerrod Oluwatoyin Fasan is a Christian novel that clings firmly to the horror suspense genre. It revolves around a group of friends who find themselves trapped in an unthinkable situation. Fasan begins the story by introducing six young men making their way home to Texas after holiday-making in Mexico. In the latter half of their return, they are sidelined by freakish weather to a hotel that, while by all appearances is a safe haven, immediately gives off creepy vibes akin to what one of the men calls 'The Shining'. Trying to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, they set up what looks like a rather conventional video game. Unfortunately for them all, it turns out to be a game that nobody is prepared to play, but to survive and escape from the nightmarish hotel they are left with no choice but to play.

Jerrod Oluwatoyin Fasan weaves scripture and an acknowledgment that the young men cannot survive without faith into the prevailing plot of endurance and wit enough to escape in his novel The Deciding Hour. The sojourn of the hotel is implemented within sight of the book's beginning and Fasan wastes no time in setting a quick pace from the onset. Out of all the men, I found Malik to be the most complex, and as the proverbial skeletons come out of the closet in this haunting tale, Malik's are also the most gut-wrenching. Connor has a levelheadedness that prevails even in the clutches of fear and, to me, the other characters soon become ancillary to their own. From a literary standpoint, the writing might not appeal to readers who prefer prose that is more refined, but the story itself is solid and Fasan is skilled at injecting nuances and elevating the emotional components in this harrowing survival story.