God's Gift by John Flannery
|God's Gift by John E Flannery|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A TV talk show presenter turns to Satan to alleviate boredom in this decline and fall story. You'll need a strong stomach for much of it and it's difficult to pity the protagonist, but this is certainly a salutary tale on the dangers of wealth and fame.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: September 2012|
|Publisher: John Flannery Press|
An ex-soap actor, Tommy Armstrong now hosts a successful Saturday night chat show. It covers entertainment and current affairs. Recently divorced, single Tommy enjoys bedding his researchers and then firing them. It's something to do, after all, no? And particularly enjoyable if they're willing to take it up the bum. Tommy likes bums. Irritatingly, the Dirty Bitch, aka Susan, Tommy's ex-wife, has forgotten all about bums and become a born-again Christian. Her new partner is a 21st century Mary Whitehouse, leading a campaign to clean up the media.
When Tommy organises a show pitting Susan's new squeeze against a renowned Satanist, he makes a decision that will change the direction of his life forever. Cue occult rituals, frenzied orgies, blood and sacrifice and a lot more bum sex. God's Gift has it all - and if this sort of thing puts you off, it probably isn't the book for you. If it doesn't, read on, MacDuff.
Subject matter aside - I think it's either your thing or not - God's Gift could be greatly improved by a proofread to remove stray spelling mistakes and some punctuation and formatting errors. I think it would also benefit from a thorough edit. Some passages are just too long for their purpose - emails rarely go on for a dozen pages, a precis of a TV show that a character has watched doesn't need to fill half a chapter, an internal monologue loses its punch after the first thousand words. Shedding some of this excess would result in a more focused book that's a bit easier to read.
But what God's Gift manages very well is its main narrative of the decline and fall of a successful but bored and spoiled celebrity. Tommy Armstrong has everything he ever wanted - fame, influence, wealth and the trappings of wealth, and a willing queue of young women happy to sleep with him. And yet he is bored and unsatisfied and feels an emptiness that leads him to despise his own life and most of the people he comes into contact with. A busy and energetic man, given to enthusiasms, his interest is caught by the age-old dichotomy of good and evil. Naturally, he researches an episode of his chat show on this topic. And, Tommy being Tommy, his curiosity is piqued by Satanism.
At first, Tommy integrates this new interest into his celebrity lifestyle. But, as time goes on, he gradually rejects everything else but the pursuit of evil. Where does it get him? And will he repent? You'll have to read the book to find out. But, evil or not, repentant or not, in the end, we all die alone. And it will help Tommy to remember that.
If you want a more straightforward look at Satanism, try The Devil's Cave: A Bruno Courreges Investigation by Martin Walker.
You can read more book reviews or buy God's Gift by John Flannery at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy God's Gift by John Flannery at Amazon.com.
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