Book review: 4th in Walk series includes cancer fight, journey through southeastern US

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2015 1:29 a.m. MDT

Richard Paul Evans is the author of Richard Paul Evans is the author of "A Step of Faith," the fourth book in the Walk series. (Simon and Schuster)

"A STEP OF FAITH," by Richard Paul Evans, Simon and Schuster, $19.99, 270 pages (f)

There is no question that Richard Paul Evans can tell a good story. He's a talented writer and storyteller.

In the fourth book of his Walk series, "A Step of Faith," which was released earlier this year, there are humorous moments, heartwarming moments, moments of self-discovery and moments of profound wisdom.

But the story is starting to lose some steam.

The main character, Alan Christofferson, who 10 months earlier lost his beloved wife to a tragic accident, his expensive home and was betrayed by a business partner, continues to make his way from Seattle to Key West, Fla. The journey begins as an escape, but along the way he is able to find some healing and forgiveness, something relatable to readers.

Richard Paul Evans is the author of the Walk series. The fourth installment is titled Richard Paul Evans is the author of the Walk series. The fourth installment is titled "A Step of Faith." (Debra MacFarlane)

During his walk, Alan survives a stabbing, meets all sorts of women who think he is Mr. Wonderful, reconciles differences with his mother-in-law and concludes the third book, "The Road to Grace," by learning he has a brain tumor. This new problem requires surgery in Los Angeles as "A Step of Faith" opens. In the mix of characters are two women who have serious feelings for Alan, as well as Alan's father, who all want to take care of him.

The story, told through Alan's diary, has some compelling elements and deep thoughts, but the author seems as tired as poor Alan. It took Alan three books to go from Seattle to St. Louis.

Yet in "A Step of Faith," he treads over Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia in a short amount of time. He still meets a nice combination of interesting and insane people while eating a fine variety of Southern cuisine, but the description of his travels feel more like trivia filling in the holes of the story.

This story also felt a little rushed. It seemed to lack the depth and substance that made the first three books serious page-turners. After patiently waiting for this book to finally be released, some may wonder, "Is that all there is?"

There is a lot to like about the story as it's an easy read, and I appreciate the foreshadowing deep principles from his diary on the first page of each chapter. The dinner with the cult leader in Alabama was memorable, as well as the slow cooker stew conversation with the 60-year-old survivalist.

It has clean language and doesn't have any described violence or sexual scenes.

But just as Alan reaches Florida and you think, "Wow, he's going to end the series," something happens to force readers to wait for another book.

Perhaps this is just a major set up for something grand to happen as Alan comes down the home stretch in the Sunshine State.

If you go ...

What: Richard Paul Evans book signings

When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, noon

Where: Barnes and Noble, Gateway Crossing, 340 S. 500 West, West Bountiful

Web: www.richardpaulevans.com, barnesandnoble.com

Note: Books to be signed at this event must be purchased at Barnes and Noble Bountiful location.

Also ...

When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Also ...

When: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Deseret Book, Fort Union, 1110 Fort Union Blvd., Midvale

Web: deseretbook.com

Also ...

When: Saturday, Nov. 1, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Where: Deseret Book, Salt Lake Downtown, 45 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

Web: www.deseretbook.com

Also ...

When: Saturday, Nov. 2, noon

When: Walmart, 625 West Telegraph St, Washington, Washington County

Also ...

When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2 p.m.

Where: Sam's Club, 11278 S. Jordan Gateway, South Jordan

Note: Sam's Club membership required for store entrance.

Also ...

When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m.

Where: Costco, 3656 Wall Ave., Ogden

Note: Costco membership required for store entrance.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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