9 September 2013

Review: Planet Willie by Josh Shoemake

Willie Lee is a member of “an elite unit of highly bored individuals”, better known as angels. He’s been an angel since he got topped by the guy in the pink paisley shirt four years ago, but sometimes gets sent back to Texas to answer someone’s prayers (which is funny in itself: it seems Willie’s ‘friends’ don’t know he’s supposed to be dead). He’s a detective with the Lost Souls department.

His case this time is Harry Shore, who is concerned about his daughter, Fernanda—mostly because he thinks she’s stolen his million-dollar Botticelli painting of the Madonna. Willie travels to New York to find Fernanda, and runs into a group of Albanians calling themselves the Art Liberation Front, and their current project: to devalue Shore’s Botticelli. This sets Willie (and the ALF) off on a cross-country chase to track down the original painting (which is reminiscent of the 1980’s British comedy, 'Allo 'Allo, and their perpetual search for the painting of the Fallen Madonna with the Big you-know-whats).

Willie’s a great first-person narrator. He has a very healthy self-image, particularly when it comes to his opinion of how he is seen by the ladies (he has a collection of smiles he gives the ladies, and has names for them all. What does that tell you?). His narration is rather stream-of-consciousness which is usually a criticism, but Willie’s voice is strong and engaging enough that it works. He also has great collection of one line jokes.

But hidden in the comedy are some thought-provoking lines:

“If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you won’t do it, and it won’t happen.”

That’s good advice—thinking too much is a recipe for procrastination. We need to do things, not think about them.

Planet Willie is an irreverent comedy that’s a lot of fun. It can be hard to read on the Kindle—the paragraphs are too long—and the plot sometimes disappears in the comedy, but I enjoyed it. There is the occasional use of bad language and the plotline isn’t exactly the standard Christian fiction I normally review, but I enjoyed it. A good read for those who don’t take life (or death) too seriously.

Thanks to Opium Books for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Josh Shoemake at his website.

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