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No Eye Has Seen

Ark House Press
RRP $ 24.95

No Eye Has Seen is a fantasy thriller, with sci-fi tendencies, about the interplay between the spiritual and earthly realms.

This contemporary tale unfolds in the vaguely sketched ‘Mt Thompson’, and the action switches between three central characters: Sarah, who is killed at the very beginning, her killer, and Sarah’s pastor.

It paints a vivid picture of heaven and the unseen world of spiritual warfare.

The book is reminiscent of CS Lewis in scope and themes, but far less expertly executed.

The language is inconsistent (‘math’ sits alongside ‘uni’) and sometimes plain wrong (‘in a “thrice” he was after them’).

Events are often glibly summarised, draining them of meaning. Christian terminology abounds, despite the author’s obvious evangelistic intention.

The characters of Sarah and her pastor are mostly believable, but Sarah’s killer is an outright cliché, and the inner thoughts of all three lack plausibility.

The incidental characters suffer from cliché too, and some are blatant tokens of inclusiveness.

The pace is fine until the end, when the climax of the earth story is fatally interrupted with an incidental episode from heaven.

This section also includes the artless introduction of new details just as they are required for the plot.

Agreeably, humour is dotted throughout the book, and the descriptions of heaven are imaginative and enjoyable. Carter’s portrayal of Jesus is also convincing and uplifting.

Overall, though, No Eye Has Seen just doesn’t ring true. Carter nominally acknowledges the difficulty and unpredictability of life, but this is belied by the simplistic, cause-and-effect philosophy underlying the story.

In this world the fatherless turn to crime, meditation invites demonic possession, career-mindedness leads to alcoholism.

Christians do struggle and doubt, but briefly; they are rapidly suffused with peaceful certainty, even after the death of a spouse! And ‘inexplicable’ events are nonetheless explained, justified by sometimes ridiculous chains of events.

The Bible itself gives no such categorical account of life; Carter’s treatment is ultimately awry.

Reviewed by Renee England