I purchased this book in college at a bargain barn, and it sat on my shelf for years, because I did not really expect much from it. As far as how it compares to the other Peretti books I have read, I suppose I was right.
I began the book highly unnerved by what was going on in the story–crying crucifixes, “Jesus” speaking to people, “Jesus” walking around…it was sacrilege and disheartening. I should have expected, however, from Peretti’s constant themes, that events in his stories are not generally what they appear to be on the surface. The events in Antioch, Washington, soon proved themselves to be the fulfillment of Christ’s words in Matthew 24:4-5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.'”
The Visitation had its exciting moments and mysteries–like the mysterious beginning mentioned above and the mystery of the identity of the “Christ”–but I felt the book dragged on much like a biography of someone in whom I am not really that interested. The main character’s Pentecostal background complete with healings, a dead wife, and a seemingly failed ministry, held nothing to which I could relate, so it was hard for me to get too interested.
Of the Peretti books I have read, I would say that this was his weakest. If you are looking to start on Peretti, go This Present Darkness. It does not disappoint.