This Present Darkness
This Present Darkness is a 1986 novel, written by Frank E. Peretti. It is his first novel, and details the interactions between heavenly beings (angels and demons) in the small northwestern town of Ashton. It has been widely praised and criticized by many; however, most of the criticisms are based on personal opinions rather than biblical evidence.
The title of the book is derived from Ephesians 6:12: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
The plot involves the spiritual fight between angels and demons. The main antagonist in the novel is the New Age movement, which is the demons' method of deceiving the people of Ashton—and later the world. The main characters are Bernice Krueger (reporter for the town's newspaper, the Clarion), Marshall Hogan (the editor and owner of the Clarion), and Hank Busche (pastor of the Ashton Community Church).
The story begins on the night of the Ashton Summer Festival. Bernice Krueger takes a photograph of several mysterious people (later revealed to be several of the villains). She is arrested thereafter on false charges of prostitution and jailed. Marshall Hogan, her boss, visits her the next morning to try to bail her out. The chief of police, Alf Brummel, claims that it was all a "misunderstanding"; Marshall leaves without believing, and later discovers that his daughter Sandy's college professor is teaching Eastern mysticism.
When he is arrested on false rape charges, he meets with the pastor of the local community church, Hank Busche, who was also arrested on false rape charges. The two, after talking, discover that the Omni Corporation, a mysterious organization that bought the college, is trying to take over the town. The next morning they are let out, the FBI is contacted, and the heads of the Omni Corporation are arrested. A wave of demons that had settled over the town is driven away, and their leader, Rafar, is destroyed.