Piercing the Darkness

by Frank E. Peretti
Series: This Present Darkness #2
441 pages, Suspense
Reviewed by Jeanne

A thrilling and suspenseful read, but watch out for the very physical portrayal of spiritual beings.


The angels of Peretti's This Present Darkness are back, but in a different town with different demons who haunt it. An attempted murder takes place in the small town of Bacon's Corner, and, fleeing her less-than-pleasant past as well as her pursuers, main character Sally Beth Roe is on the run.


There's a mix of moral and immoral behavior throughout, but the latter is usually perpetrated by the bad guys, whereas the good guys have fairly moral behavior. Intent on finding out what is happening in the town, good characters sneak around and spy on bad/deceived characters. The evil characters are just that: evil, using blackmail, deception, and force to make others do their bidding. Sally Roe, though not a Christian, is trying to live a moral life despite her negative past.

Spiritual Content

Just like the first book of this series, angels and demons are very present in all the pages. Even more often than before, demons possess, deceive, and destroy humans such as Amber, a little girl in this story. Yoga is used to have trances and become closer to [demonic] spirits.


A lot. The book starts with the attempted murder of Sally Roe and continues with Peretti's familiar sinister plotline and violent undertones. Death, normally by way of murder, sprinkles the pages; a child's arm is broken by a demon; a person is accused of child abuse merely for disciplinary spanking of their child; and a character, while in a trance, drowns her own child. And that's just a small dose of the violence found here. More significant than the violence, though, is the eeriness and frightening quality of the spiritual warfare that Peretti weaves into his tale. This second book is even more disturbing than its predecessor.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Demonic possession is portrayed very much like the effects of drugs: visions, the feeling of being in another world, hearing voices and seeing spirits. When one person finds another in this state, their verdict is that the possessed woman is "stoned."

Sexual Content

Demons, and the people possessed by them, accuse humans and Jesus Christ himself of sexual perversions in one or two places.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Ironically enough, it's some of the angels who mutter stuff like "Dog*****t" under their breath. There are very few other exclamations and none at all that are extremely vulgar. Insults are flung back and forth between the bad guys.


There is no doubt that this book is amazingly fast-paced and exciting, thrilling and touching by turns. It is, perhaps, even better than "This Present Darkness" in its plot, its characters, and the style of Peretti's writing. It is very interesting to watch him weave the stories together by slowly making the characters from the first story interact with these new people. For any reader who likes suspenseful and well-written books, "Piercing the Darkness" might be considered one of the best.

However, like "This Present Darkness," this story had its problems. Once again there is a heavy, heavy amount of spiritual conflict between forces of light and forces of darkness, and, while Christians should be ever aware that their fight is not against flesh and blood, Peretti may take that concept too far in his two books. His physical portrayal of demons and angels alike should make readers approach this book with caution. As C.S. Lewis said in his book "The Screwtape Letters," it is possible to dwell too much upon the mysterious powers of demons...and angels too.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: 13+

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