A fascinating tale of a young man’s downward spiral into depression.
Richardson (The Corruption of Zachary R., 2009) follows his debut novel with this fast-paced, harrowing sequel that begins with H. James “Jimmy” Branhoover’s suicide, then backtracks through his unique childhood. Jimmy, born to the “well-to-do and good-for-nothing” banker H. Charles Branhoover and Chloe, a former prostitute, is the heir apparent of his father’s fortunes. His childhood is simple enough: He has a best friend, the beautiful Kay Sunday—whose parents are “spiritual consultants and amateur astronomers, selling God and telescopes”—and he soon befriends Clayton Mulder, who winds up with the nickname Innocent #2. The three form a bond of sorts, until Jimmy begins to feel threatened by Innocent #2, whom he suspects is capturing all of Kay’s attention. As Jimmy struggles with his shifting dynamic with Kay, his life takes a tragic turn when his father suddenly passes, leaving Jimmy an inheritance of millions of dollars. He turns to religion to help sort through his emotions and soon finds himself embroiled in a bitter battle between the corrupt Rev. Vander Stevenson (aka Patchouli Goldwatch) and Kay’s family. Goldwatch goes so far as to paint swastikas on the side of the church, then blames the Sundays. Eager to correct the wrongs, and hopeful that he can win back Kay, Jimmy endeavors to buy the church from Goldwatch and hand it over to the Sundays. Just as it seems that Jimmy’s life is falling into place, a late-night phone call includes a surprising proposition that threatens to send Jimmy to new depths of unhappiness. Equal parts comedic and tragic, this coming-of-age tale explores compelling themes such as faith, wealth, deception and betrayal. The story’s opening, detailing Jimmy’s tragic end, leads to a series of compelling scenes as the reader pieces together the events that triggered his suicide. Filled with memorable characters and thoughtful moments, this well-paced story provides lessons as well as entertainment.
An impressive story of corruption, religion and friendship, and the lengths people go to for love.