JESUS'S BROTHER JAMES by Timothy  Reinhardt

JESUS'S BROTHER JAMES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this black comedy, fate throws together a suicidal man, a workaholic, a snob, and a tempted priest.

Mike was the type of guy who, as a young man, won “Best Hair”; had girls chasing after him; and easily became “regional manager” at his company. But now, he’s round, balding, soon to be twice-divorced, and has plateaued professionally. Fearful that his wife is cheating on him, Mike has decided to end it all because “life is too hard.” Meanwhile, a man named Paul represents everything that Mike is not: successful, adventurous, saying yes to any opportunity. He has Amber, the perfect girlfriend in that she is “beautiful, smart, and, best of all, she had trouble leaving the office in the evening.” But lately Amber has wanted more from Paul and more from her life than work. Confused and drunk on the night of her birthday, Amber winds up hitting on a muscular, tattooed, whiskey-drinking, cigarette-smoking priest. That priest, Father Coady, swallows his lust and tries to get away from temptation when he finds Mike waving a gun around his minivan. Mike wakes up the next morning in the hospital with a gunshot wound and a mysterious, perhaps even miraculous, figure at his side. Supernatural forces, startling coincidences, and even eBay purchases continue to bring these four people together in Reinhardt’s (Afaq, 2014) offbeat novel. His characters expertly walk a thin line between outlandish caricatures and relatable people dealing with the stress of modern life. Amber in particular easily wins both sympathy and laughs as she careens from her outrageous ambition to sympathetic jealousy within just a few paragraphs while Father Coady’s military backstory gives intriguing levels to his outlook on the others. The author’s rapid dialogue creates some genuinely amusing and unexpected exchanges—including a memorable slapstick fight scene involving Mike—but they won’t be for all tastes. Reinhardt’s jokes are often crude, and the book’s mysterious title character requires quite the leap of faith. Still, an exciting and off-kilter adventure awaits those readers willing to take it.

A fast-paced, funny romp with easy laughs, surprisingly complex characters, and plenty of quirky twists.

Pub Date: March 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-68401-966-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Mascot Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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