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The Calling by David Mack
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The Calling (original 2009; edition 2009)

by David Mack

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Title:The Calling
Authors:David Mack
Info:Pocket (2009), Edition: Original, Paperback, 336 pages
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The Calling by David Mack (2009)

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Tom is one of the Called. He can hear prayers of other people and goes to helping the ones he is nudged to help. Tom is married to his wife Karen who are expecting a baby. Tom's gift enables him to hear a prayer of a twelve year old girl for help and leaves on an unforgettable quest to New York that will change his life. ( )
  dsy38 | Jul 26, 2012 |
Tom Nash might seem like a normal average guy from Sawyer, Pennsylvania. He’s a jack-of-all-trades with a knack for fixing things. But beneath all that, Tom is anything but ordinary - he hears people’s prayers. And more odd than that, he answers them. Maybe it's because he's a handyman, but Tom feels compelled to fix people's problems. Which is all well and good - until the soul-shattering plea of a terrified girl sends him on the darkest journey of his life....

Please God - don’t let them kill me.

Those seven words turn Tom’s world upside down. He departs from home and heads out to New York City where he is immersed in a world full of angels and demons and a never-ending battle between good and evil. There he meets a saucy, Latina named Erin who more or less gives him a quick lesson on what he is - one of The Called. He was born with a divine purpose for a reason - to help the powers of Heaven in the war against the agents of Hell (otherwise known as the Scorned). It is up to Tom to find the girl who prayed for his help -- because her fate will determine whether humanity deserves to be saved, or damned for all eternity.

Doesn’t that just sound fantastic?! I know the description totally hooked me and boy was I in for a treat. Firstly, Tom was a great character - he was very down to Earth, loves his wife (I really like that in a man), yet is in a position where he has a calling to help other people. He does this and does it well. And although, his wife is very supportive of this, he knows that she is not all that happy with him when he leaves her several weeks before their baby is due. On his mission, he meets Erin (which may be because I'm Latina myself) but I loved her. She was saucy, funny and was a major kick a$s character. We are kept at the edge of our seat as Tom and Erin head from one dangerous situation to the next and all while trying to get the next clue that will bring them closer to the missing girl - Phaedra.

I found the storyline to be very engaging - it was a cross between the tv show Heroes and the movie Constantine which created its very own unique blend. Full of twists and turns that kept you guessing and helped the pages turn quite easily. I can envision this becoming a series and I would definitely love to read more of Tom Nash. I can't help it, I have a thing for men with special powers. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy, good writing and powerful characters. ( )
  bookwormygirl | Feb 26, 2010 |
I think my major problem with this novel, (probably) the first of a new urban fantasy series by David Mack, is more a reflection on me than a reflection on the novel. It's about a guy named Tom who can hear prayers and usually chooses to answer them. It reminds me of the old TV show Early Edition, which I always enjoyed. He was trained by Jesuits, even-- how cool is that? I was expecting an origin story, which this wasn't, not really, but I soon got over that. But it turns out that there's more to Tom's powers than hearing prayers, and this is where I lost it: he and the other Called also have the ability to blend into the background, can't be fingerprinted or recorded, can tell when someone's telling lies, &c. Up against all that, what's hearing prayers? The novel wouldn't play out much differently if Tom got his mission from, well, a newspaper turning up on his doorstep a day early. In addition, Tom has a guardian angel who sees fit to intervene whenever he can't get his own way out of a situation... which is a bit too convenient. But this is the actual premise, and maybe I just need to jettison the premise I expected.

The novel was a bit slow to start, I think maybe because Tom is kind of a flat character (and his partner Erin the Hot Butt-Kicking Latina even more so), but after around a hundred pages, the narrative picked up steam and never really stopped-- until it crashed in a train station! Mack delivers his typically slick action there, and throughout the novel. And Frank was a fun villain. The book has its flaws, but it was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. (It needed more Jesuits, though.)
  Stevil2001 | Jan 13, 2010 |
The Calling by David Mack

An ordinary guy hears other peoples prayers and tries to answer them. This is an unlikely premise that works surprisingly well until Tom Nash hears a prayer more frightening and sinister than he has ever heard before. Nash’s response, his experiences and the surprising things he discovers about himself comprise the gist of the book.

The clear portrait painted of Tom Nash, depicts an ordinary guy trying to do extraordinary tasks. The clarity of the portrait helps to add credence to the unlikely premise of hearing other’s prayers. The introduction to a previously unknown sub-culture is met with a realistically cynical response. Mack did a nice job with the characters, including the feisty but terrified, young victim. The storyline flowed well, the gaps were filled in and the plot provided enough mystery to intrigue and motivate continued reading.

I enjoyed the book, I recommend it. It is pretty obvious it will be followed by a sequel which I will make every effort to read as well. ( )
  wbentrim | Aug 28, 2009 |
Tom Nash can hear prayers, which he feels compelled to answer. Usually, they are run of the mill things and Tom uses his other talent for swaying the minds of people for the best good possible. He has an otherwise pretty mundane life: mortgage, job, truck, wife, and baby on the way. This is all until one night he hears a prayer, which comes from a young girl praying not to be killed. It’s a prayer Tom cannot ignore, though he has never had to answer anything so serious before, and it takes him into New York City where danger awaits.

In NYC, Tom meets another of his kind named Erin. Through her, Tom learns that he is not the only one who can hear prayers. In fact, he belongs to a group known as The Called. Within The Called, there are sages, seekers, and sentinels. Opposed to them are the Scorned, who are fallen. It becomes clear to Tom and Erin that the Scorned have something to do with the kidnapping of the girl Tom hear the prayer of. It is up to Tom and Erin to find the girl, secure her release, and do so with as little damage as possible. Unfortunately for them, they have to go under the law because it seems that the Scorned and the Russian mobsters who are trying to ransom the girl for 12 million dollars have connections in the force.

The story is fast paced, but full of detail and exciting. Mack hangs just enough mystery above you to compel you to keep reading for answers. The characters are varied, but not cardboard cut outs that make them hard to distinguish from others. The storyline is very creative– Mack designed a world of his own, but made it realistic enough that one could almost believe that underneath the realism we live under, there just might be other forces at work. This book demands that you read it from front to back. A few twists are added to make the plot take a few unexpected turns, which I very much enjoyed.

The book moved from a few perspectives, but not so many that the book felt choppy and hard to follow. Every transition from one character to another went smooth. I have to admit, though, that the action scene that took place in the subway toward the end of the book got a bit too long for me. The drama was very high throughout, but there’s only so much description of running, jumping, and shooting I can take. I prefer my action and drama to be intense and quick, and I felt that it sort of drug on in this book. That was the only part of the book that I skimmed and read through. The rest of the book kept my attention, so I still recommend it highly to anyone who likes fantasy, action, and mystery/crime. It has elements of all a bunch of genres, so it has a large appeal to a varied audience. ( )
  morbidromantic | Aug 14, 2009 |
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This book is dedicated to the memory of Robbie Greenberger, who, at the age of twenty, was taken from us before he had a chance to follow his own calling.
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Jung Lee didn't hear the bullet till it passed through his head.
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No one would guess by looking at Tom Nash that he's extraordinary, and that's just fine with him. A tall, broad-shouldered jack-of-all-trades from Sawyer, Pennsylvania, Tom has a knack for fixing things. He also hides a secret talent: he hears people's prayers. Stranger still, he answers them. Maybe it's because he's a handyman, but Tom feels compelled to fix people's problems. Which is all well and good -- until the soul-shattering plea of a terrified girl sends him on the darkest journey of his life.… (more)

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