"Without God, there's no wall between us and the dark."I didn't think that the second novel that I read by Jake Hinkson could be better than his first slam-dunk, Hell On Church Street. I mean, I hoped that might be the case but I definitely had doubts. But then I got about a quarter of the way through this one and realized that, yep, somehow it's even better. Here, Hinkson crafts yet another politically-incorrect pot-boiler that you can't help but watch like a massive car wreck on the side of the road.
Elliot Stilling is a former Baptist preacher that kills himself only to be revived and brought back to life in the hospital by a pretty young nurse named Felicia. Now back in the land of the living and feeling a connection to Felicia, he gets roped into a heist she's involved in to steal a bunch of Oxy and make over $2 million.
For the first time since the robbery had begun I felt a real, gut-level fear. Committing a crime, I'd discovered, wasn't that scary. Trying to get away with it, however, was terrifying.I loved the idea of this man who is reluctantly given a second chance at life, feeling like he got brought back for a reason, and now feels compelled to live this new life he's been given, which just happens to be a criminal one. To me that concept was pretty fascinating. At it's core, the story is this existential portrait of a man reborn and ready to atone. But then on top of that, the story is impeccably paced, well-constructed, and wonderfully-written. This might be weird to say, but Hinkson's talent reminds me a lot of Quentin Tarantino. I'm not a Tarantino fanboy, but like him, Hinkson has this real knack of crafting these extended sequences that build so much inherent tension that they get difficult to bear but at the same time it's literally impossible to put the book down until the end of the chapter. There are scenes in this book that are just pitch perfect in their construction and filled with great dialogue. Anything involving Stan the Man, naked dead-body-disposal, or porn-addicted junkyard hillbillies! I swear, if I didn't have to deal with everyday life stuff, I could've finished this in one sitting. Now I'm even more excited to read Hinkson's other work and to see what he does next, because this book was awesome.
The only thing worse than being a monster is being a daily reminder that horrible things happen for no reason at all.