Heavy cumulonimbus thunderheads gather over the Little League Sunday game. Suddenly the center fielder starts glowing, bathed in a mysterious pink light--and then a deafening, dazzling lightning bolt beards him with a thousand degrees of racing horror, and a torrential rain beats down. This is but the first of a bundle of bolts apparently aimed at this small Western town by God the Wrathful. The next bolt blows a farmer's face onto the side of his shed like a super-enlarged photograph or Marl Pouch Tobacco ad--eyes agape, nostrils flaring, ""witnessing his own horrible fate."" The Reverend McBride sends shivers of repentance through the town. Don Coulter, the reporter-hero, is deserted by his fanatically Christian wife. Physical explanations for these continuing horrors become worthless. Ah, but is there a secret army base nearby testing a new element called gargantium? Will there be a huge nuclear implosion that swallows the base and its villains? Is author Portnoy's complaint mainly against Lt. McGuiness' masturbation mania (the ""hot rain"" of the title)? Does this novel's great opening fall into stinking decay like a sunburnt muck pile? Mod-goth, and a curse on it!