The question is, ‘What if Jesus returned in the modern era?’ That is the heart and soul of this novel written by Steve N. Lee but it was probably better that he left the name of Jesus off the cover. The story doesn’t need a religious connotation to be relevant. The power of its ideas alone give it plenty of leg room to run off with our imaginations.
What if…? begins with John Connolly, who is a New York City derelict who stumbles onto a car accident and is accused of sexually molesting an unconscious victim. The victim, named Mary, later recovers, not only from her life threatening injuries but also, oddly, of her diabetes. The accident was witnessed by a passing limo that held a rather atheistic Commander in Chief. He is responsible for putting Connolly behind bars and keeps his hair trigger aimed at him as events progress.
Perplexed by her newly given health Mary hunts down John to find out what really happened, only to accept the fact that his ability to heal must be real. She convinces him to use his gift for good and thus begins a credit card driven bounce around the country to heal sick children. As John’s healing ability touches people personally his clan of helpers and followers grows exponentially.
With an election looming and this modern day messiah creating miracles on a daily basis the forces of political fanaticism clash with those who have witnessed the miracles for themselves. The violence beckons John to expand his peaceful philosophy to its ultimate expression. That’s when he declares his intention to run for President of the United States. It’s not the end of the story by far but you can see where this is going.
What if…? is a dramatic tale driven by conflicted characters who rarely show any religious leanings even after witnessing the impossible. The author gives us an example of what the world might be like if dogmatic rationalism refused to acknowledge the importance of faith. This painfully logical world lacked enough heart to recognize a man who was there without a motive beyond his desire to heal. I can’t help but to agree with the premise that such a society would very likely destroy its saviors and itself.
What if…? Author: Steve N. Lee, Publisher: Blue Zoo (2007), ISBN-10: 0955652510, 350pgs, $25.99 – Available at Amazon.co.uk