Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Atheist's Prayer

Dark Comedy / Contemporary
Date Published: February 28, 2014

    After a solar eclipse, nineteen people were found dead in a remote area of the California National Forest. They were lying in a circle, holding hands and wearing plastic fairy wings. 
Years later, on the other side of the country, no one in the southern city of Jefferson is concerned about fairies or fairy-worshiping suicide cults. Except for Candy. She might not have proof, but she’s damn sure it’s going to happen again. 
The problem is, Candy is a coke-dealing stripper and the only person who will listen to her is an alcoholic mall Santa named Hank, who’s only listening because, well…she’s hot. 
There are seven days until the next eclipse.

My Review:

I really enjoyed the mix of humor and seriousness. There was a lot of quirky fun, but also some really strong tugs at your brain. You start to laugh then realize there's some deep thoughts going on..very clever. 

The characters are all pretty nicely done. They aren't cardboard cut outs to fill in space, they all matter and tie together. Usually it gets pretty dicey when writer's try to switch perspectives and viewpoints, but Ms. Biddle does this very well! 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Stories like this can get either really dark or really preachy, and this one found a very nice balance. The sense of humor and the thought provoking qualities never got heavy handed, and for that I recommend this.

AN EXCERPT FROM HANK: the alcoholic mall Santa
Hank spent the drive convincing himself that being a bouncer would be an awesome job. Girls, drinks, drunks, late nights. Really, he was being paid to do exactly what he would be doing if he wasn’t working. Maybe they would give him a gun. No, they wouldn’t. But maybe they would give him a bat to keep behind the entrance, just out of sight. Or a Taser. There was a lot of fun to be had with a Taser.
Hank frowned at his five-o-clock shadow in the rearview mirror, trying to look tough. His gap tooth added to the effect. Actually, he looked like a damn good bouncer. As he drove, he imagined using the self-defense moves and choke holds that he’d seen in movies. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that this new job was a perfect fit. He decided that he should try to get a full-time position bouncing and quit his shenanigans at the mall.
By the time Hank arrived at the strip club, the sky had lost its reds and purples and was assuming a murky shade of city gray. The front of the club was just as drab in the twilight as it had been in the dark and rain on Sunday. Its plain cinderblock walls stood silently, with a single metal door in the middle. Hank had always found the dichotomy between the inside and the outside of strip clubs amusing. Hidden in back alleys and tucked away behind supermarkets, strip clubs were the Narnia of a grown man’s world.

Amy Biddle

Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Amy now spends half of her life at sea and the other half wherever the hell she pleases. An avid traveler and dangerous daydreamer, she is most at home when surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains or the great blue sea. In her spare time, Amy co-runs Underground Book Reviews, a website dedicated to finding and reviewing quality, independent novels. Her short fiction and poetry has been published by a smattering of online publications including Every Day Fiction and Revolt Daily. 

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