Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: A Vampire in the Church Choir by Matt Mikalatos


Published: Oct. 02, 2012
ISBN: 9781301018598
Source: Own {free download at Smashwords}


Lara, the newest alto in the struggling church choir Sonshine Singers, has a secret. She’s a vampire. Keeping a secret like that – being (sort of) dead – isn’t easy, which is why she came to a Big Box Mega Church in the first place. But now the pastor is preaching on “Monsters In Our Midst” and the congregation is out with pitchforks and torches. Plus, Lara is starting to suspect that the pastor himself is not all he seems, despite the long list of accolades, accomplishments and his slavishly devoted fans. To top it all off, Lara is getting “thirsty” and that long-necked tenor is starting to look like a great big juice box… even worse, the choir's next performance is only three weeks away, and Lara has been “promoted” to soprano. Sounds like a disaster, one way or another, a disaster that Lara is determined to avoid, resist and out-sing. The stakes are high, and the notes are higher, but for the first time in years Lara feels like she has a challenge she can really sink her teeth into. {Goodreads}

Goodreads | Smashwords

I love me a good allegory.  And allegories in the form of short stories are pretty much the best thing ever.  Matt Mikalatos hits another home run with A Vampire in the Church Choir.  I loved Imaginary Jesus (now published as My Imaginary Jesus) and knew I had to read AVitCC

We don’t talk about religion much on BtS, and it’s not because we’re ashamed of our faith—not at all!  We have both felt that a book blog is just that, a blog about books and bookish things.  So, I almost didn’t post this review, because it is a Christian allegory.  And I didn’t want to offend anyone.  But, in the end, I felt I needed to share my love for this story!

This is unique, something I haven’t seen before.  I appreciate the originality of Mikalatos’s story.  I’ve never seen another Christian author incorporate humor, vampires, and stereotypes…and do it in a way that doesn’t offend, but instead broadens the perspective of the reader.

Some memorable quotes:
As soon as the lights went out, an upbeat, catchy song started things off.  The band was polished and just short of professional.  Competent.  Nothing I would listen to outside church, but I don’t like Christian music.  Maybe because secular musicians give their whole life to their music and Christians give their whole life to Jesus.  Christian music doesn’t seem as committed.  I gave the band a 7.5 out of 10. {pg 14}

As scared as I was, another part of me was having fun.  Pastor Nate’s message was funny and entertaining.  It was spiritual0ish, and the main message wasn’t threatening, wasn’t convicting or guilt-inducing.  It was this: keep being who you are.  Mainstream, white, upper middle class, conservative and family-centered.  You’re doing it right.  Don’t worry about becoming a better person, you’re already better than plenty of other people.  Apart from the fact that I was a vampire, it sounded good. {pg 22/3}

He was off script, and the girl didn’t know what to say and it didn’t matter what she said because I couldn’t hear her over all the things I was yelling in my own head.  I didn’t want to go to church because of the hatred from the pulpit.  Toward me, toward others, with the occasional platitude about “hate the sin but love the sinner.”  Because, as a single woman, I couldn’t stand to hear one more sermon about marriage, or to have one more person tell me to trust in Jesus and I’d get married, or maybe I was supposed to stay unmarried like Paul, or if I would just do things a little differently a man would materialize in my life.  I was tired of married people telling me that Jesus should be enough for me, when the marriage plus Jesus didn’t seem to be enough for them.  I didn’t want to go to church because when I asked questions people tried to modify my behavior instead of answering them. I didn’t want to go to church because there was nowhere else where I felt quite so alone as Sunday morning.  I didn’t want to go to church because I couldn’t keep pretending that nothing was wrong every week.  I couldn’t pretend to be deeply in love with God every time the music started.  I couldn’t pull off pretending to be someone who I was not.  I was not perfect, and it seemed to be a prerequisite for membership. {109/11}

He turned to the audience and spoke over the music, his voice vibrating with the authority of the Halloween Angel, “If we love him because he first loved us, that means he loved us long before we were perfect.  While we were monsters of one sort of another, he love us.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” {pg 124}

So, while being off-beat, and very sarcastic, Mikalatos spins a tale that takes many issues in the church and reveals them in a different light.  A light that makes you take a step back and check yourself to see if you are causing some of the issues, adding to them, or simply not doing anything to make a difference.

5 out of 5 Moons



  1. Nice! thanks for the great review! I'm glad you enjoyed the book. If you haven't checked out Night of the Living Dead Christian, it has Lara in it, also.

  2. Nice! thanks for the great review! I'm glad you enjoyed the book. If you haven't checked out Night of the Living Dead Christian, it has Lara in it, also.


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