The God File

The God File

4.0 1
by Frank Turner Hollon

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Gabriel Black is sentenced to prison for a murder he did not commit. In a twisted expression of honor, he takes responsibility for the action of a woman he loves and pays with his freedom. One day in the prison library Gabriel reads about a man with a wonderful family and a successful career who finds that he has been cured of cancer — thus proving, the man says


Gabriel Black is sentenced to prison for a murder he did not commit. In a twisted expression of honor, he takes responsibility for the action of a woman he loves and pays with his freedom. One day in the prison library Gabriel reads about a man with a wonderful family and a successful career who finds that he has been cured of cancer — thus proving, the man says, the existence of God. Gabriel believes a truer test of God’s existence would be to find proof of Him in a disgusting, violent, hopeless corner of the world like prison. Gabriel creates a file where he stores any evidence of the divine he comes across no matter how unseemly. In brutal, honest language, 'The God File' recounts the dark comedy of one man’s search for meaning.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Gabriel Black faces a life sentence after being convicted of the murder of his girlfriend's husband. He's not sure why he took the blame when she shot her husband in cold blood, and the answer to that question is just one of many he searches for as the years roll by. Gabriel's experience with religion is shallow, existing mainly in his memories of a Catholic childhood. With time on his hands, he decides to start a "God file" in which he keeps record of events occurring in prison that prove or disprove God's existence. After all, he figures, Jesus came to the poor, the downtrodden, and the forgotten, and no one fits that description better than an inmate. In brutal, explicit language, Gabriel shares the contents of his files and leaves it up to the reader to decide if he has found the God he was searching for or if God was guiding him all along. Not for the faint of heart, this is an outstanding example of the continuing exploration of gritty reality in spiritual fiction. For progressive collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-While riveting, this is a tough book to read. Those who choose to dive in, however, are in for a thought-provoking trip that will probably linger in their minds for some time. The first thing readers learn is that Gabriel Black is in prison, and has been for 22 years. Having read a book about a man miraculously cured of cancer, he questions the man's certainty that God's existence is thereby proven. He decides to try to find proof of God in jail, a place with "no real freedoms, surrounded everyday by fear, hopelessness, and people who live like rats." He writes and collects notes in his "God file," which is presented almost like an undated diary. Next, readers are told why he is imprisoned. He watched his girlfriend, Janie, shoot her husband, then took the blame. He never spoke with her again, she never acknowledged his sacrifice, and he never attempted to rectify the injustice. Just 25 when they met, he is not much older when sentenced to life without parole. Since the more one learns about Janie, the more despicable she becomes, one must wonder why he did it. As he reexamines his life through his notes and letters, as readers begin to piece together his life, it begins to make more sense. This novel explores one man's search for God and redemption.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Alabama attorney Hollon (The Pains of April, 1999, not reviewed) does the jailhouse blues raw and quirky in this tale of a sensitive loser who took the murder-one rap for love, then spent the next 22 years methodically looking for God. Gabriel Black wasn't exactly on the fast track for success when his lover pulled out a gun and shot her husband dead with him looking on, but even so he didn't need to take the gun away from her and claim he did it. His act of sacrifice got him life without parole, and he never saw or heard from the woman again, even though he continues to imagine their lives together and writes her poignant letters. Having established on his cellblock that he is not a man to be buggered (by slicing open the scrotum of a would-be attacker), Gabriel is left alone, with plenty of time to create his "God file." Intended to serve as accumulated evidence of God's existence, it contains his letters, dreams, conversations with fellow inmates and accounts of prison experience, and above all reflections on his Catholic childhood, his fractured family, and who he has become. But the years of contemplation pale next to a single act of desperation, which leaves a man knifed to death in Gabriel's cell and him with a new perspective on living. A strong portrait of a man of nobility at odds with circumstance, but, ultimately, a world not much larger than the filebox Gabriel assembles so obsessively.

Product Details

MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
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Barnes & Noble
File size:
199 KB

Meet the Author

About the Author: Frank Turner Hollon lives in Alabama with his wife and children. He is the author of 'The God File', 'A Thin Difference', 'The Point of Fracture', 'The Wait', 'Austin and Emily', and 'Life Is A Strange Place' which was developed into the movie 'Barry Munday'. The film 'Blood and Circumstance', based on Frank's novel by the same title, is currently in production.

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God File 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alabama Attorney Frank Hollon has obviously seen the hopelessness of prison life. His main character, Gabriel Black, searches for hope in a hopeless situation. A hopeless situation that he put himself into. I found myself unable to put the book down. I wanted to lightly read this book, but found the reading sometimes so intense I couldn't focus on anything but the book. I must admit I thought the book would have a more spiritual side than it did based on the title. While my expectations were high for a spirit filled book, I must admit I was not disappointed. Frank manages to help Gabriel and others find hope in hopeless situations. When you finish reading this book you'll find yourself questioning your faith, however weak or strong that faith may be!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The God File' is a an excellent book that keeps the reader captivated from beginning to end. The Author has a gift for injecting the reader into the main character. The story takes the reader on a fascinating thought provoking journey to determine if God actually exists. It is a story told with brutal honesty. As with Frank Turner Hollen's first book 'The Pains of April', I was left with a lesson in humility. Today after reading 'The God File' I came up with my own conclusion about the existence of God. In the process, my own life had a new perspective. I rediscovered my own priorities.