I’m a bit late to the party in reviewing John Howell’s latest novel (as a fan I tend to read and review his novels very quickly). But also as a fan, this time when I got my copy I held off on reading it until I had enough time to truly savor it. And it certainly did not disappoint!
John’s books have a number of things that always delight: wonderful, warm characters; snappy and witty dialogue; emotionally resonant character arcs and imagination in spades. Of all his novels this may be his most ingenious and inventive yet. Weaving historical stories, the supernatural and spiritual, the potential apocalypse by AI and retribution for very inhuman ‘human’ acts – he presents a wonderfully enjoyable, rollicking ride through the afterlife and the world as we know – and possibly some day may know – it (when our time comes to go to our eternal home).
I love his characterisation of Lucifer too – spot on with the manipulation and somehow childish pique all rolled into one!
At the centre of everything John’s warm heart shines through. You really connect with the characters and care about their story. And he manages to weave an intricate plot around their feelings and choices in a manner that both entertains and satisfies.
I’m not going to say too much about the plot so I’m not spoilery – this novel is so clever it deserves to be approached with an open mind and an open heart and you’ll be amazed at the adventure it takes you on.
I always see John’s novels as movies. They have incredible visuals, fabulous dialogue and a real sense of pace and emotional investment. I hope his vision of the after-life is the right one. It’s an existence I would be happy to inhabit one day and find my own eternal home with God/the Divine.
Top marks and five stars again for John Howell and this wonderful novel!