Debut author Neades offers a novella that explores the reincarnation of two famous figures.
At the outset of this strange tale, two gods named Eldor and Showden discuss the background of two souls. One of them, which once inhabited the body of Mohandas Gandhi, portrayed “a shining example of the good side of human nature,” while the other, which was part of Adolf Hitler, managed to become “the epitome of evil.” What would happen, the gods wonder, if both souls were reincarnated into men living in the same city in the present day? So it is that Karl Henry Bear and Joseph Morales Mendoza both come to live in a Midwestern city called Kingston. Although the two men don’t know each other, their lives eventually collide in a way that neither could have predicted. Karl is a large man who was abused as a child. He’s generally gentle, but if he sees a child in peril with a violent parent, he’s not afraid to speak up. Joseph, on the other hand, is virulently homophobic, and after he successfully plants a bomb in a gay bar, his desire for slaughter is only heightened. What will happen when both men take an interest in the sister of one of Joseph’s victims? The main narrative, dealing with the lives of Karl and Joseph, moves quickly, providing only the necessary details. Karl’s upbringing is believably cruel, and Joseph isn’t as calculated as he apparently wishes to be. A sense of anticipation about what will become of the two men helps the story maintain a steady pace. Both Karl and Joseph are well-drawn even if their ultimate fates are tinged with melodrama. Although the final conclusions of Showden and Eldor aren’t incredibly insightful, the story that brings them about is an entertaining one.
A swift, engaging narrative, although the ending lacks the impact of the rest of the story.