FeaturedPsychological Thriller

Here in the Not Yet


Must read 🏆

Packed with power and pathos, this absorbing and robust page-turner catapults off the page and into your heart.

Every once in a while I come across a book that’s so fresh, creative, and pertinent, it makes my jaw drop. Here in the Not Yet is that kind of book.

Who am I? Why am I here? What makes a hero? What is bravery all about? What are the two most powerful words in the English language? All these questions and more are met head-on in David Spaugh’s finely crafted psychological thriller, Here in the Not Yet.

Ben Knight is having a rough day. Recently laid off, with a newly pregnant wife, mounting bills and a truckload of inner demons, Ben is on the road to a “cabin weekend” with his dad in North Carolina. Father and son want to make the trip an annual tradition, making up for time lost after a nasty divorce. A storm hits. When they run into the teeth of a landslide, Ben hears his father say, “Hold on, son. No matter what. Hold…”

It's his father’s last words.

Suspended somewhere between life and death in a crumpled Jeep at the bottom of a hill, Ben finds himself parachuting into a big city. He sees rolling footage of his life projected on various buildings. Well, maybe it’s not a city but a parallel universe or a multi-verse. Pummeled by thoughts of failure, guilt, and regret as the detritus of past mistakes pile up, Ben is overwhelmed by despair. He suddenly notices another presence in this weird place. And it’s not exactly friendly. Or benign.

When Ben regains consciousness back in the mud, he awakens to a real-life nightmare and his father’s death. Ben survives. But he battles bitterness, guilt, and self-incrimination. Ben recalls the night terrors he had as a child. He also remembers the wise words of his grandmother: “He runs to us every time we call on His name. And He will run to you, always.”

Speaking of running, Ben soon runs into “The Quinnipiac Curse.” Unsolved mysteries, creepy legends and spooky tales revolve around the Quinnipiac Forest. There are also legends of “Takers” lurking in the woods. Could the stories be true? Out for a solo jog through the wintry forest after the accident, Ben gets the feeling he’s being stalked. And he keeps falling. Falling in his nightmares and falling in reality.

Meanwhile, white collar crime attorney Jason Nolan is hitting the bottle hard after the loss of his wife, Leigh. Jason stopped believing in heroes and miracles after his wife’s death, but… Oh, wait. You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out what happens next.

Top-notch writing and masterful storytelling propel this absorbing and robust page-turner. The author’s world-building skills are prodigious as are the intriguing and artfully crafted characters.

Additionally, vivid descriptions and word pictures virtually jump off the page into your head and heart as you read. You feel as if you’re standing right next to the protagonist as the story unfolds. Examples include, “The smell was rotten, like a Tyson chicken processing factory in west Texas had forgotten to pay the August electric bill.”  Expert descriptions of the New England countryside where Ben resides make the landscape stand up and walk. Example: “Sporadic sections of the trail looked as if an ice cream processing plant exploded and dropped cookies ‘n cream bits all over the place.”  

Told mostly in the third person, the narration and point of view shift occasionally to the first person for internal dialogue, indicated in italics. It’s just enough to offer readers additional insight into the characters without giving away too much, too soon.

Packed with power and pathos, Here in the Not Yet captivates from chapter one. It's a little The Pilgrim’s Progress. A little This Present Darkness. A bit Alice in Wonderland. A touch of The Chosen. Gently faith-flavored and marinated in mercy, hope, and grace, it’s all heart.

“Whether the end comes today, tomorrow, or in a thousand years, the day doesn’t matter. What matters is what you did with the time you were given.” Along those lines, I’d grab a copy of Here in the Not Yet right quick, ‘fize you. Cuz this one’s a keeper! (You may want to bring tissue.)

Indeed, Here in the Not Yet represents a towering achievement, especially for a debut novel. I couldn’t put it down! Not yet.

Reviewed by

Lifelong bibliophile. Library Board Member. Select book reviews featured on my blog and Goodreads, etc. I'm a frank but fair reviewer, averaging 400+ books/year in a Wide Variety of genres on multiple platforms. Over 1,000 published reviews.


About the author

David Spaugh graduated with a BSBA from The University of Texas at Dallas. David has established a successful finance career that has led to senior leadership. David considers his faith in Jesus, his wife, and his family most important. "Here in the Not Yet" is David's first novel. view profile

Published on May 23, 2023

40000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Psychological Thriller

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