Gun Churchby Reed Farrel Coleman
Once a literary wunderkind, author Kip Weiler now teaches creative writing at Brixton County Community Collegea third-rate school in a rural mining town. But when he saves his class from a potential bloodbath, he is initiated by two of his students into a cult-like group that worships the essential nature of handguns, and rekindles his long-absent creative
Once a literary wunderkind, author Kip Weiler now teaches creative writing at Brixton County Community Collegea third-rate school in a rural mining town. But when he saves his class from a potential bloodbath, he is initiated by two of his students into a cult-like group that worships the essential nature of handguns, and rekindles his long-absent creative spark.
But as Weiler's involvement with the cult deepens and the end of his novel is in sight, the lines between art and life blur until they become unrecognizable. In this church, there's no need for red wine or wafers. In Gun Church, the blood and bodies are for real.
"Coleman skillfully places the reader on the narrator’s shoulder as he self-destructs, and we bite our lips against warning screams. Readers will respond to the atmospheric, shrewdly crafted story." Booklist starred review
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Meet the Author
Reed Farrel Coleman is a New York Times bestselling author that has been called a "hard-boiled poet" by NPR's Maureen Corrigan and the "noir poet laureate" in The Huffington Post. He has published more than twenty-five previous novels, including novels in Robert Parker’s Jesse Stone series, the critically acclaimed Moe Prager series, and the Gus Murphy series. A three-time winner of the Shamus Award, he has also won the Anthony, Macavity, Barry, and Audie Awards. He lives with his family on Long Island.
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Reed Farrel Coleman is the author of fourteen novels, including three series books, among those the seven terrific Moe Prager books, This is his third standalone, and it is a beaut. As good a description of “Gun Church” as any would be contemporary noir, with the large quantities of violence and sex that the term implies. But the surreal world created in these pages is less easily classified. “Kip” Weller, once a boy wonder who produced three hugely successful novels with the attendant fame, has fallen far in thirty years. His fame, his career, his money and his marriage are all now in the past, and after more than one interim stint as a visiting teacher at Columbia, for the last twenty years he has been teaching English at Brixton County Community College in a little mining town. Then his life totally changes again as he stands up to a deranged student with a gun, saving the lives of the students who had been taken hostage. And then changes again soon after, when Kip is introduced, one might even say, inducted by Jim, one of his students and an ardent and devoted fan, into a group of “gun junkies” who meet regularly in a venue that they call their “chapel,” a fitting place for the virtual worship of guns implied by the book’s title. Soon Kip gains a certain proficiency not only from his ‘meetings’ at the chapel, but also from his and Jim’s daily sessions of shooting practice in the wood outside of town. One could almost say Kip becomes transformed by the ensuing rush that becomes almost a new addiction, after the dependence on drugs, alcohol and sex that typified his prior life in New York. Having once described himself as “a bitter, talentless, middle-aged boor,” he becomes so thoroughly divorced from the man and the writer that he had been that he refers to his former self in the third person. One outcome of his new obsession is that, for the first time in years, he is able to really begin writing again, a novel that had been limited to seven incomplete sentences, and he instinctively knows that the work is the best he has ever done. His protagonist is based on a man he actually met, a killer for hire at the time of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, who had given Kip a notebook fully describing his life as such, in essence the biography of a murderer. Using his new-found “hobby” and fellow church members in the book, at a certain point Kip is not sure where his creation ends and he begins [or vice versa]. To say that the results are successful is as true as to say that they are also disastrous. I would advise readers to make sure they have nothing urgent awaiting their attention when sitting down with “Gun Church;” for this reader, dinner was a couple of hours late after I started the last third of the book - - I simply couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended.
I had to read this book for school , and admittingly I was a little hesitant. I figured it would be another boring, seemingly deep literature piece that none of us would like. Turns out it was not only great, but we met the author who is brilliant. The book blends elements of drama, suspense,action,and leaves you choked up at some points. Overall I couldn't be happier with it, and would recommend it to anyone searching for a good read. -Zac
This is an incredible novel. Entertaining as hell with a huge suspense pull, and also makes you think. You'll be thinking about it long after you read the final shocking conclusion. My favorite kind of book.