The Kingdom Vs John Reid

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


The Kingdom Vs John Reid


Dillon Lunn


Independently Published

Publication Date:

August 28, 2019




372 pages


John Reid doesn’t remember how he fell into a coma. What he knows now is that he’s woken up, and the whole world has changed. America has become a theocracy, ruled by a king who declares breaking the Ten Commandments can bring the death penalty. Put on trial for his crimes – which include dishonoring his parents and “committing adultery” by viewing pornography – Reid realizes what he felt were barely vices are now capital crimes. Will he be judged guilty or innocent? Will he get to make peace with his family and the God he’s not sure he believes in?

Lunn creates some very believable characters and uses a good knack for dialogue to make them each interesting. He also paces the story well, making plot twists feel very exciting.

At the end of the day though, the themes let down the story. Lunn builds his narrative around two questions. The first is, “if all your commonplace sins were lined up, would you be worthy of death in God’s eyes?” The second is, “what if you deserved to die and someone took your place?” These sound like great ideas for a novel, but they’ve been used so often. Countless writers have dramatized them in devotionals, pamphlets, youth group plays, sermons and other mediums. Readers who grew up in Christian circles have almost certainly heard this novel’s story multiple times.

If Lunn had an exceptional writing style, he might have made these concepts feel compelling. Alternatively, he could have written the story as a fable or fairytale, where predictability isn’t so much of a problem. One doesn’t read Aesop’s fables or Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytales to be surprised at the plot twists; they work because they’re elegantly simple. A thriller, on the other hand, only works if it surprises readers with its twists and turns. The Kingdom Vs John Reid is essentially a legal thriller, so its shortcomings create a big problem.

Despite a promising start, The Kingdom Vs John Reid becomes a disappointing story that either needs more tinkering or a totally different package.



2.5 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers who enjoy legal thrillers with theological overtones.

Christian Impact

Readers who can enjoy this book will be inspired by its themes about sin, redemption and sacrifice.

The Kingdom vs John Reid

About ECLA Web Team

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals. This account is managed by the ECLA Web Team.


  1. Add A Little Cheesiness (Building a Better Christian Novel Pt 3) – G. Connor Salter - October 10, 2020

    […] example, The Kingdom vs John Reid by Dillon Lunn is about a man who lives in a dystopian nation that follows Old Testament law to the […]

  2. What Makes a Story? (Building a Better Christian Novel Pt 10) – G. Connor Salter - May 9, 2021

    […] as a dream the narrator is having. More recently, Dillon Lunn used this idea in his thriller The Kingdom vs. John Reid, where the main character finds every time he goes to sleep his dreams let him see past events from […]

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