In Jerome Peterson’s The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai, protagonist Andrew Sharpai is a haunted man on a spiritual journey.
Sharpai begins the novel as a chef in Las Vegas who quickly becomes engaged to LaRae, the most well-known dancer in town. But after LaRae is killed in a car accident, he moves to Idaho, where he works at a Denny’s.
At the local garden center, he meets Iris, who tells him that she’s a witch. She wears a pentagram necklace, has a scarred face, an equally scarred past, and a charming 8-year-old daughter named Lily. Sharpai is intrigued: “Something drew me to her. Was it the scars and their story? Was it because she alluded to being a witch? If it wasn’t for those scars, she’d be a good-looking witch, yet, the wounds attracted me… I’d only felt this strong toward LaRae.”
Iris also has an ex-husband named Devon, who is a Satanic leader of sorts and wants her back. By getting involved with her, Andrew starts down a path that includes witchcraft rituals, unexplainable and sudden bouts of illness and other ominous things. The couple and Lily eventually move away, yet the problems continue until a peyote-dealer-turned-Christian leads them to the one true God.
Peterson is a skilled novelist, and the characters are believable and believably scary. Sharpai is an intriguingly flawed hero—he drinks too much, and it’s implied that he might be an alcoholic— and the author is equally talented at dialogue, which drives the story and the action.
Despite this novel’s Christian leanings toward the end, many Christians will feel unsettled by the vivid witchcraft rituals. And some events require smoother transitions, such as Sharpai’s suddenly intense relationship with LaRae.
Still, the book is a page-turning read, and the ending, despite not being neatly wrapped up in a bow, is hopeful and satisfying.