A God Named Joe by Peter Jessop
|A God Named Joe by Peter Jessop|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: "A God Named Joe" isn't a bad idea, but it is a bad book. The writing is poor, the action is poorly plotted, you struggle to find even a single dimension to the characters. Don't read it.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? No|
|Pages: 216||Date: July 2006|
|Publisher: quince books ltd|
A reviewer's life is not always easy.
God's life is not always easy.
In a confidence trick of enormous proportions, God roams the Earth as a tramp named Joe. God and his angels did not win the war of heaven. Satan did. Satan was not cast out. God and his angels were. Joe and his seven angels have wandered the earth ever since, while Satan rules in heaven and on earth through his representative, Samuel Salamander, head of the Gecko Industries corporation. Gecko Industries (and by extension, Satan) is behind all the evil on earth - the poverty, the hunger, the wars.
But all is not lost. Mirella St John of Paradise Holdings, a front organisation for an ancient sect which knows the truth, intends to reassemble God and his fallen angels and reinstate them with a second war of good versus evil, without the trumpets this time, and in the boardroom of Samuel Salamander.
It's not an awful idea for a novel, is it? In a post-Da Vinci Code world, people are enjoying ancient sects with secrets concerning the evils of organised religion. Add a little naughtiness, a little black humour and some acerbic comment on corporations and globalisation and you have the makings of a nice little underground, cult-style book, non?
Y'see, you have to be able to WRITE. Peter Jessop, despite his nice little idea, can't write. There's no discernible style - "a god named joe" comes to you largely in the present tense, irritating at the best of times, but virtually unreadable in the hands of a gauche writer. For Jessop, no tired cliche is ever too much. He has souls "soaring like birds" in the book's very first paragraph. Hearts "pound like jack hammers threatening to explode". Self-conscious, clever-sounding words such as "saturnine" appear incongruously in the middle of supposedly gritty street dialogue. Here's a line from an unbelievably bad sex scene:
"The man, sensing her want, gives three long, slow intense thrusts of his shaft before exploding inside of her."
Erm... oh dear.
Characters are two-dimensional at best. I could forgive that. I can't forgive their dialogue, which veers wildly between street slang and adolescent philosophy. Jessop spends pages setting up difficult situations for his characters, only to resolve them in less than a paragraph and with as much credibility as my son has when he assures me his bedroom is tidy. It's just dreadful.
In fairness, the writing is no worse than many, many published books flying off the shelves in airports. Cheap thrillers, cheap romances, cheap horror fiction - "a god named joe" doesn't commit any literary crime that these do not. However, if you intend to target a cult audience, you need recognisable style of some kind. You need originality. Above all, you need to be able to write. I think Peter Jessop would be well-advised to find a genre fiction that suits him and try that instead, because "a god named joe" is a terrible book. Still worse, it doesn't even show promise.
All perhaps is not lost for Quince Books though. "a god named joe" could possibly make a Sky One-style drama series. Jessop's pages of scene-setting and overly brief resolutions would be perfect for the medium. He's even set up a flashback episode or two. I imagine teenagers would love it.
Don't read it.
On the offchance you're tempted, you won't find "a god named joe" at Amazon, other than in the Marketplace. You'll have to go to quince books instead.
This book was sent to us by quince books.
You can read more book reviews or buy A God Named Joe by Peter Jessop at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A God Named Joe by Peter Jessop at Amazon.com.
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