On Earth As It is In Hell
by Cortina Jackson (48HrBooks, 2014, 204 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
January 17, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Cortina Jackson, a doting mother of two sons, with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and over 15 years of law enforcement experience, has written a fictional novel that reaches within the depths of your soul to examine you5r relationship with God and the Devil; On Earth As It Is In Hell. Although fictional, one gets the impression that this book is based on the author’s life experience, especially after reading excerpts of the book and numerous phone interviews with her. With Jackson’s experience and knowledge in law enforcement, she has seen firsthand that; oftentimes, life is scarier than fiction. This has given her a basis for the material in her writing that often seems too detailed to be true. The gory and graphic aspects of those doomed to Hell, such as this fiery inferno continually burning the skin from their bodies, seems so disturbingly realistic. It is actually scary! This born-again Christian has written a spellbinding novel.
The author provided me with some personal, and perhaps embarrassing background which could be the basis of this novel, such as: “I grew up in a Christian home where strict Church of God in Christ (COGIC) principles were ingrained in me every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Although strict adherence to God’s word was always driven, it did not keep out Satan’s influence of incest which began the downhill spiral of my self-esteem.” She speaks of bad choices in men, enduring physical and sexual abuse, as well as extensive infidelity on the part of her husband(s), and two divorces. She specifically stated: “I confided in my Pastor that I had in McKinney. I trusted him with my heart; however, he too broke it when he let me know that he was sexually attracted to me, and wanted to have sex with me. He talked to me in ways that I had never been talked to before; describing in detail what he would do to me! My Pastor!!! I was so broken hearted, that I stopped going to church and believing in men period, and sometimes God too!”
Perhaps most significant are the dreams that the author had, which she indicated was a carryover to the book itself, specifically stated by her to me in an email: “Some of the descriptions of Hell, I would dream about them, I would wake up, and write it exactly how I saw it. The descriptions of demons, was put on paper through the same process. I would pray to God to tell me what to say, and I would have a dream or vision, write it until there was nothing more to say.” Based on this, one could easily say that this book is inspired by God! Jackson further states: “I wrote it specifically for the non-believer, the skeptic; the hurt, the abused, the suicidal person. Satan wanted me to end my life many time, and when he couldn’t get me to take my own life, he tried to get my, now ex-husband, to do it.”
On Earth As It Is In Hell resonates with me in such a way that it seems to grab my soul and gets me to re-examine my life, which I believe is the intent of the author. She gives a graphic depiction of Hell throughout this book that is at times frightening, but also reassuring in the sense that it is a place that you don’t want to go to, and makes you determined to live a life to keep it from happening. The book is a gut check. Jackson’s depiction of Hell seems so vivid and real, unlike any description I have ever known, as if the author had been there to paint this horrific picture of what we have been taught in Church and in life. See video here.
Hell, a word that not only describes a dark, fiery underworld, but also defines periods in our lives. Thus is the case for the three main characters in this book, Clara, Nick, and Toni, portrayed in this thriller. The story line follows: Clara, the unbeliever due to God’s lack of intervention; Toni, Clara’s friend; homosexual by nature, faithful friend by design; and Nick, a pastor who endures his own trials. Their lives intersect, as they each experience turmoil and tragedy in their lives. However, no matter the trials and tribulations that they face, choices must still be made that will determine their future.
Jackson is a masterful storyteller in her depiction of the characters in this soul searching book, namely that of Clara, Nick and Toni. She bares her soul in this riveting, intriguing, controversial, and terrifying book, which has all the makings of a movie reminiscent of The Devil’s Advocate, starring Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron. Eerily similar to Jackson’s depiction of what Hell must look like in her book, is another movie starring Keanu Reeves; Constantine. This movie, Constantine, is a dark, yet dazzling film. A terrific story backed up by spectacular effects and great cinematography. Perhaps one day we will be saying the same about Jackson’s On Earth As It Is In Hell. I can see Angela Bassett in the role of Clara.
The book is also reminiscent of The Shack by Canadian author William P. Young, with its Christian theme. As a matter of fact, The Shack is being made into a movie starring and being directed by noted actor Forest Whitaker, which I can see something similar for On Earth As It Is In Hell. A further similarity is that Jackson and Young were first time authors, and their books were immensely successful. Only time will tell for Jackson just how successful this book will be.
Jackson states in On Earth As It Is In Hell: “With all the Hell on Earth occurring these days, the one place that one can expect to find refuge, is the church. But what happens when the church is in direct correlation with Hell? What unfolds as the church is found to be built atop portals to Hell; as demons enter into the services, the pastors, and the people seeking solace?” Sure, all of this is rhetorical on the part of the author, but is it really that far from the truth or what we actually experience for ourselves?
The author further states: “An agenda is about to be introduced, Satan is wringing his hands with delight as new world agendas are exposed. In great detail, the layers of the character’s lives are peeled away, revealing graphic circumstances that will change them forever; for there is a worst fate that could be faced.” Jackson is actually setting the stage for horrific acts to follow in this spellbinding work of fiction that borders on reality. This agenda that the author speaks of is actually being set by a dark and secretive organization aligned with Satan, known as C6. There is plenty of mystery and intrigue in this book, culminating into a surprise and catastrophic ending, as well as redemption for those that believe in God. Metaphors are used throughout this well written book to convey the author’s vision and message.
However, the story does not end without the deep, dark, underworld being revealed. Does Hell exist? Who is worthy of its torment and destruction? In this tale, you may be surprised! The story will captivate you, encompass you, and almost consume you, before releasing you to your own thoughts: which may be scarier than fiction. My former Pastor at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, would indicate in his sermons that Hell is real. I believed him, and I believe what the Bible says about Hell. This book by Jackson is tremendous, and should be read by all those concerned about their ultimate salvation, which I highly recommend. The author will expound on her story and book as a guest on the BlogTalkRadio show The Authors Corner with Etienne, Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at 9:00AM with Etienne Gibbs. I plan to be listening.
Dennis Moore is the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor of SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. He is also a former member of the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago and its Prison Ministry. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.