“IN A LIFE FULL OF LIES, HE FINALLY SETTLED FOR THE TRUTH.”
No one in Mattingly ever believed Bobby Barnes would live to see old age. Drink would either rot Bobby from the inside out or dull his senses just enough to send his truck off the mountain on one of his nightly rides. Although Bobby believes such an end possible—and even likely—it doesn’t stop him from taking his twin sons Matthew and Mark into the mountains one Saturday night. A sharp curve, blinding headlights, metal on metal, his sons’ screams. Bobby’s final thought as he sinks into blackness is a curious one—There will be stars.
Yet it is not death that greets him beyond the veil. Instead, he returns to the day he has just lived and finds he is not alone in this strange new world. Six others are trapped with him.
Bobby soon discovers that this supposed place of peace is actually a place of secrets and hidden dangers. Along with three others, he seeks to escape, even as the world around him begins to crumble. The escape will lead some to greater life, others to endless death . . . and Bobby Barnes to understand the deepest nature of love.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Billy Coffey's critically acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit him at www.billycoffey.com. Facebook: billycoffeywriter Twitter: @billycoffey
Read an Excerpt
There Will Be Stars
By Billy Coffey
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2016 Billy Coffey
All rights reserved.
Sometimes, if he was not so drunk or the twins so loud, Bobby Barnes would consider how those rides to the mountain had become an echo of his life. Night would fill the gaps between the trees with a black so thick and hard the world itself seemed to end beyond the headlights' reach. No future. No past. Only the illusion of this single moment, stretched taut and endless. He loved the lonely feeling, the nothingness, even if the road upon which he sought escape from town was the very road that would return him to it. All living was a circle. Something of Bobby had come to understand that, though its truth remained a mystery too deep for his heart to plumb. Life was a circle and the road a loop, and both flowed but seldom forward. They instead wound back upon themselves, the past leaching into the present and the present shrouding the future, reminding him that all could flee from their troubles, but only toward and never away.
One of the boys said something. Matthew or Mark, Bobby couldn't tell. The pale orange light off the radio made the twins appear even more identical, just as the music made them sound even more the same. Carbon copies, those boys. When they'd been born — back when Carla still wore her wedding ring and the only future she and Bobby envisioned was one they would face together — Bobby had joked they would have to write the boys' names on the bottoms of their feet to tell them apart. Now Matthew and Mark were eight. Still the same, but only on the outside.
The other boy joined in, something about a movie or a cartoon, Bobby couldn't hear. The deejay had put on "Highway to Hell" and Mark asked Bobby to turn that up, he liked it, though not enough to keep from fighting with his brother. He felt the seat move as one twin shouldered the other, heard the sharp battle cry of "Stupid!" Bobby pursed his lips and said nothing. Being a good father involved knowing when to step in and when to let things ride. He relaxed his grip on the wheel and gulped the beer in his hand.
Night whisked by as the truck climbed the high road above town, the engine purring. No vehicle in Mattingly ran so fine as Bobby Barnes's old Dodge. Let the town speak what lies they wished, no one could deny that truth. He eased his foot down on the gas, felt the growl beneath him and the smile creeping over his face. His ears popped, followed by the come-and-gone sound of a lone cricket. The headlights caught flashes of reds and yellows on the October trees and the glowing eyes of deer along the road, standing like silent monsters in the dark.
"Tell'm, Daddy," Matthew said beside him. "He's so stupid."
"Am not," Mark yelled. "You're stupid. You're double stupid."
Another shove, maybe a slap, Bobby couldn't know. He did know if things got out of hand and one of those boys spilled his beer, he'd have to get the belt out when they got home.
"Ain't nobody stupid," he said. "Matthew, you got what you think, Mark's got what he does. Don't mean either one's right or wrong. That's called an opinion. Y'all know what opinions are like?"
"Butts," Mark said.
"'Cause everybody's got one," said Matthew.
Both snickered. Bobby toasted his parental wisdom with another swallow. He finished the can and tossed it through the open slot in the window behind them, where it rattled against the other empties in the bed. The sound echoed back and mixed with the boys' laughter and the guitar solo over the radio, Angus Young hammering on the ax as Bobby's eyes widened against a heaviness that fell over him, a chill that formed a straight line from the middle of his forehead to his nonexistent gut, settling in the bottoms of his feet. It was as if he had been struck by some pale lightning, pulled apart and pieced back together in the same breath.
"Whatsa matter, Daddy?" Matthew asked.
Bobby reached for the last of the six-pack on the dash. "Dunno," he said. "Think a rabbit run over my grave. Like you get a funny feeling? Like you done before what you're doing now."
"That's 'cause we take a ride every night," Matthew said.
"Ain't that. Know that. 'Member this morning when we was going out to Timmy's and we seen Laura Beth sashaying like she always does down the walk? 'Member I whistled to her and said I knew she'd be there?"
Mark said, "You always whistle at Laura Beth."
"I'll have you know I ain't never whistled to Laura Beth Gowdy before in my life, boy. Why'd I ever wanna do such a thing? Little Miss Priss. Been that way since high school." He took a sip. "Didn't whistle 'cause she's comely, I whistled because I knew. Felt that rabbit and I knew. Like Jake? I knew he'd be at Timmy's, too, wanting one a his words. And that woman preacher."
"You said you bet she'd be outside the church," Mark said, "but she weren't."
"No, but I said Andy would be pushing a broom when we went to get gas."
"Mr. Sommerville always pushing a broom," Matthew said.
"But Junior ain't always been there. And I knew he would be. Remember? And your mom called this afternoon."
Mark rolled down the window and let his hand play with the cool mountain air. "Momma's way finer than Laura Beth Gowdy. Daddy? Laura Beth paints her hair. Momma's looks like that on purpose."
That sense (Bobby couldn't name it, something besides a rabbit, French or what he sometimes called Hi-talian) had left the soles of his feet. The worse feeling of his son's stare took its place. He kept his eyes to the road. He'd never say so out loud and risk hurting Mark's feelings, but sometimes the boy got to him. Mark could nudge his daddy in directions best not traveled.
"Your momma found somebody else to love on her, for what grief that cost us all and what good that does her now. Pondering Carla's fineness does me no good service."
For a while there were only the sounds of the big tires and the songs crackling over the radio, the classic rock station out of Stanley. Bobby felt the truck drift past the center line and corrected. Matthew leaned his head against his daddy's shoulder, drifting to sleep. Mark hummed along with Axl Rose about patience. Bobby fell into old thoughts of things lost that could never be gained again.
"Maybe we should get up here and go Camden way," he said. "All these rabbits could mean Lady Luck's on my side. Could go up to that 7-and-Eleven, get us a scratcher. What y'all say?"
Mark looked Bobby's way. "You won't."
* * *
Ahead loomed a T in the road, a marker that read 237 and an arrow pointing right and left just ahead of the stop sign. Bobby intended to roll right through — few traveled those mountaintops in the night, which was why he chose that road to ride with his sons — but then he felt his foot pressing harder on the brake. A chill rushed through him again. The truck stopped along a line of newer pavement and the cracked asphalt of what everyone in Mattingly called the Ridge Road.
He looked down and saw the left blinker winking. Left, on through the mountains and then down again, back to the valley and the shop.
His hands, though, gripped the wheel as if to turn right for Camden.
Matthew's head was still pressed against Bobby's shoulder. "'Nother rabbit get you, Daddy?"
Bobby reached for a beer not there. "Guess it did."
Mark stuck a skinny arm through his window and pointed. "Let's go this-a-way," he said. "Daddy? Let's get us a scratcher."
Bobby opened his mouth to say sure and heard himself say, "Guess we won't. Can't be wasting money on fanciful wishes. Ain't like old Laura Beth Gowdy's husband is calling up saying he's gotta build onto the bank 'cause of all the money I got there. We'll just take our ride."
Mark's finger still pointed. "You said that last time."
Bobby chuckled — he always did when he didn't understand a word Mark said — and turned left. Farther into the mountains, higher, higher, because up here it was the three of them and no one else, no one to call Bobby "pervert" and "drunk" and "rooned." Because up here in the dark of road and forest, Bobby Barnes possessed all the world he needed.
He turned left as Mark's pallid face kept toward the empty stretch of road to Camden and brake lights flashed far ahead. Bobby leaned forward, wondering if those were from a car or from the six-pack he'd drunk since leaving the shop.
"Ain't nobody should be up here."
Matthew yawned. "We up here, Daddy."
The radio popped and hissed and then went clear as the truck crested the ridge. Barren trees let in a view of the valleys below — Mattingly's few lights on one side, Stanley's crowded ones on the other.
"I love this song," Matthew said. "Crank it, Daddy."
Bobby didn't. A war had broken out inside him, one part sloshing from the beer and the other bearing up under that heavy feeling once more. Two parts becoming a whole. He fixed his eyes ahead, where that flicker of lights had been, and wondered who that could be and why he felt like him and the boys were no longer on a ride. He let off the gas and fumbled with the radio dial.
Matthew began to sing, a pale imitation of John Fogerty's voice, a bad moon a-rising and trouble on the way.
The car ahead. Brake lights disappearing around the sharp S in the road. Matthew singing, his voice high, almost warning that they shouldn't go around tonight because it's bound to take their lives, that bad moon on the rise. Mark saying something Bobby couldn't hear.
The truck thundered forward as though pulled by an unseen force toward the curve in the road, and now that feeling again, that French word Bobby couldn't remember, seizing him. He took the middle part of the S and found empty road on the other side. Matthew strummed at a guitar that existed only in his mind. The moon shone down over the broken outline of the trees. Shadows danced through dying leaves. Bobby looked at Mark and smiled. He winked even if he thought Mark couldn't see, because Mark Barnes might be too smart for his own good but he was Bobby's boy and so was Matthew, and Bobby would be nothing without them.
The truck took the bottom part of the curve. Bobby opened his mouth. "It's —" was all that came out. The rest became swallowed by the terror on Mark's face.
Bobby turned to headlights in front of them. He stood up on the brake, mashing it to the floor, but time was all that slowed. The truck continued on. He heard the sharp screech of tires locking and felt the waving motion of the back end loosing. One arm shot out for Matthew's chest, but Bobby had nothing to hold Mark in place. His youngest (youngest by thirty seconds) doubled in on himself. Mark flew in a soundless gasp: one leg pinwheeling out of the open window, a bit of thick brown hair standing on end, the fingers of a tiny hand. And those headlights, blinding him and blinding Matthew, glimmering off the unbuckled seat belt none of them ever used.
Metal scraped metal, a crunching that folded the truck's hood like a wave. Matthew floated toward the windshield. Bobby felt himself thrown forward. He lamented that of all the things he needed to say, his last word had been so meaningless. And in his last moment, Bobby understood that he had been in this place times beyond counting and would be here again uncountable times still. He heard glass shatter and felt the steering wheel press into his chest. He heard himself scream and scream again. There was pain and loss and a fear beyond all he had ever known, and as blackness deep and unending took him, a single thought slipped through his life's final breath:
There will be stars.
Even as a child, Bobby greeted the day in pieces. One sense would rouse enough to nudge the next and that one another, brittle links forming a chain of sound and smell and touch and taste and sight, pulling him back to a life he no longer wanted. Yet that morning arrived unlike all those before. The plink of water dripping from the gutter above; the sour smell of garbage; his throat, sore from screaming; gravel needling the back of his bare head; the sticky, bitter taste on his tongue. These came to Bobby not separate but as one, a chain thick and heavy that lashed him with a power more suited to raise from deep death than drunken sleep.
Something scurried over his palm. Bobby jerked the hand away and forced a deep breath that caught midway in his chest, where it bloomed into a stab of pain. He barked a cough and opened his eyes. Shadows rose in narrowing lines. And there — there were the stars, winking in a jagged sky of black night and blue morning. Dozens of them, hundreds, and how had he known there would be stars?
He rose to his elbows, looking for Matthew and Mark. All Bobby saw was his cap and a pink tail that disappeared into the mound of white trash bags against the far wall. His boots scattered the beer cans lying close; red, white, and blue pinwheels tumbling on into the alley. On either side, bricked back walls of the shops lining this part of downtown lay bare but for a thin layer of brown grime. The line ended at the turn-in off Second Street, where a puddle of muddy water flashed yellow against the blinker.
It was not the first time Bobby had woken in a strange place with no memory of how or when he'd gotten there. This time, at least, he woke close to home. He eased to his feet, fighting against the pain in his chest and the swaying alley, plucking his cap from the ground. The wood door into the shop stood four feet away; eight steps reached it. As Bobby turned the handle, that same deep sense struck him once more. A sense of heaviness buckled his legs. For one wheezing breath, Bobby's mind quickened to a single impenetrable truth — he had done this before. Been here before.
A rabbit running over your grave is how he'd learned it as a boy. That felt right. Bobby had the gooseflesh on his arms and the back of his neck to prove it, yet the feeling passed through and was gone as the door shut behind him. The air carried thick smells of oil and grease, and Bobby knew he was safe. He was home.
"Matthew? Mark?" he called. His throat seized from dryness, making him wince. "Where y'all at?"
A single yellow bulb buzzed over the workbench against the far wall, its surface clean but for black dust packed into the scratches. Much of the light ended near the front of the second bay door, where sat Bea Campbell's little rust bucket of a car. Outside, day lightened with soft bars that slanted through three Plexiglas windows. The glow settled onto the giant rolling toolbox against the wall, stickers that read Pennzoil and Quaker State and Mary should have aborted Jesus. Bobby yawned and staggered. His right boot skirted the edge of the service pit dug out of the concrete. He lifted his cap and bent over, peering inside.
No one there.
He pushed on a bathroom door with Employee Only written in black Sharpie across a peeling strip of duct tape. The loud click of the switch on the inside wall brought a light that made Bobby wince. He moaned and felt his way to the toilet, mumbling those two words again — "Déjà vu." By the time he emptied himself, Bobby decided that hadn't been what he'd felt at all. He remembered a story, Stephen King or maybe Neil Gaiman, about a man who got hold of a tainted batch of beer that turned him into a monster. Maybe that was what happened. Carla had warned him it would, before she'd left and after. Maybe Timmy had sold him some bad beer and it had gotten into Bobby's brain. He rubbed the spot in his chest and decided he'd look that story up. It was a good one.
Beyond the door, the clock tower in town tolled six.
Cold water from the tap. He washed his neck and face, rubbing the soap in hard. One brush went through a mop of hair, which was then hidden by the cap, another brush went over yellowing teeth. Only then did Bobby ponder his reflection in the filthy mirror above the sink.
Excerpted from There Will Be Stars by Billy Coffey. Copyright © 2016 Billy Coffey. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Probably the most unusual book I've ever read. It was very confusing for me at the beginning. Six people are killed and seem to land in some sort of time warp called "Turn" ...Heaven? Hell? They live as a family and, eventually, based on changes made by them, they go back to their previous life or die.
** spoiler alert ** This was a hard book to rate. I gave it four stars because there are many lessons within. However, I still can't decide whether I loved this book or it is so confusing I have no idea what I read. I would love to sit down and talk with the author. I have so many questions!!! Good and evil are at war in “There Will Be Stars”. Who wins the war is dependent on each persons soul. As the book begins, Bobby and his two sons, Matthew and Mark, riding in the mountains above Mattingly. Bobby is drinking as he usually is and of course tragedy strikes; as you are led to believe. The next morning all is ok; Bobby is back in the shop with his boys and you think everything is normal. Then the premonitions start and Bobby knows what is going to happen before it does. The phone is going to ring and he knows who it is. Laura Beth is walking down the street and he knows he will see her. When he encounters Junior, he knows something is odd. Junior decides it best to take him to Mama's where she tries to explain what is happening to him. It is the “turn” she tells him. The turn is who knows what! We are also introduced to the rest of the "family" at mamas; George, Laura Beth, Juliet and Tommy. “Many in the former life possessed talent enough to lead a symphony of instruments. Only the Lord and Dorothea Cash (Mama) could conduct a symphony of the world.” Come to find out, Bobby is dead along with the rest of the “family”. “Welcome to heaven, Bobby” Junior proclaimed. At night Mama types a letter to the Lord and leaves it in the mailbox, with the flag up. In the morning a different letter arrives from the Lord. Mama reads these letters every day to the family. They help them to cope in the turn. Bobby and George suspect mama as the writer of these letters, but she isn’t. The letter writer is the one we lease expect and want’s nothing in the turn to change. The “turn” is different for each person. It ends the same every night and begins the same every morning. For Bobby, it is the accident on the mountain road he sees each night and he wakes each morning in the alley by his shop with a rat crawling over his leg. Every day this is re-lived. As he rightfully questions where he is; Is this Heaven or hell? During the hours in between, he can do as he pleases. He is not a ghost for he can interact with the living. Day by day things change very subtly. Bobby’s bruise grows larger, there are less stars in the sky and the world starts to have cracks. George understands what is happening. The turn is ending. But before George can explain all this, he has an “accident” and dies. His notebook is left in his pocket and Bobby finds it. All his thoughts are there and Bobby understands what must be done. “The beginning makes the end.” The “only way out is to change our direction. Go Back. Choose different. Change the beginning.” So this is what some of them do, change the days events and the future changes too. Some, however want to remain as they are and refuse to alter the course of destiny. Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and comment on this book.
A big, warm, fuzzy THANK YOU to Thomas Nelson Publishing and the author, Billy Coffey, for allowing me the absolute pleasure of reading this book in galley format. Small town life goes on in a small town way for small town folks, forever and ever, amen. One evening, alcoholic Bobby Barnes and his twin sons get in a car accident, and that still doesn’t really change. When Bobby wakes up the next morning, he finds himself stuck…in “heaven”. At least that’s where the other 5 people he meets there tell him he is…but Bobby becomes less and less sure as he relives the last day of his life over and over again. Each day is a “Turn,” and anything you change goes right back to the way it was before when you wake up for your next Turn. Break a coffee mug? It’s back on the shelf unbroken in the next Turn. Drink that bottle of bourbon, Bobby? Sweet Blessed Baby Jesus, it’s full again Turn after Turn! Except…maybe not everything stays the same…and maybe not forever… Much like the Turns in the book, I wanted to wake up each morning and see that I still had hundreds of pages left to read in this book. I really and truly never wanted it to end, I loved it that much. The characters are alive and vibrant despite being very ordinary people – people you might have met yourself in your own life. And although the characters are constantly reliving the same day each and every day, there’s never a tedious moment in the story where I got the feeling the author was repeating actions because he was bound to do so, which is pretty remarkable. This is a story about love, hate, murder, redemption, and faith. I seriously could not ask for anything more from a novel. This is a great one, start to finish – a finish that came way too soon, in my opinion.
This book is an interaction among people who have died and are in heaven...on earth, in the real world. Yet, the same day is repeated over and over. It is divided into three sections. To be honest, I struggled through the first section, started the second and gave up and read the last section. This is definitely not my style of book and question that it is considered Christian fiction (seeing the MARC records for classification). I was very disappointed in the book and will think twice before reading another book by this author. This book was sent to me to read and give an honest review.
I received this book for an honest review from the Fiction Guild. It was a very interesting read. It was about how Bobby makes decision that could not always turn out ok. People thought he would grow old by the choices that he made. It was a very intense read.
The plot here reminded me a bit of the movies of M. Night Shyamalan, even down to the surprises that aren't really surprises! I don't know what it was about this plot but most of it felt SO SLOW for such a potentially creepy premise. Felt like it took me forever to make progress, but finish it I eventually did. I stuck with it mostly for the characterizations. I thought those were done pretty well. It was pleasantly surprising to see what a dedicated dad Bobby was, given his struggle with alcoholism. I also liked the character of Juliet, her patience and kind demeanor made a nice balance in such an eerie, unstable environment and I found myself rooting for her and Bobby's friendship, because it seemed like she would be the perfect calming influence against his inner demons. I also liked that right from the very start she seemed like one of the few characters who was absolutely, without much hesitation, willing to risk the wrath of Dorothea to always tell Bobby the truth. I was also touched by the tender, bittersweet closing conversation Bobby has with his twin boys! The plot is not the most fast-moving, but there are bursts of intensity in the action that give it a nice jolt from time to time. Mostly what I took away from There Will Be Stars was the allegorical bit, the way this story has a way of illustrating what can happen to a person when they make themselves their own worst enemy, not allowing themselves forgiveness for a past mistake (or mistakes!), even if everyone else has, essentially trapping themselves within their own mental prisons. I found a good message for the power and importance of self-forgiveness.
This book is just so weird! At times it is good, but at other times it is not so good. Overall, it is really weird (and I do normally like some weirdness/speculative fiction, but this is almost too much for me)!! However, I have to say that, for the most part, this book really keeps your attention. Billy Coffey is a good writer, but if you don't like to read a "different"/speculative way of viewing the world, you won't like this. (I have read one other book by Billy Coffey and it was weird too, maybe weirder than this one...) At first, I really did not want to read this book, and couldn't get into it, but that is mainly because it takes a long time for you to begin to understand what is going on at all, really. You sort of learn to like the characters as it goes. :) I do have to say that I like how it ends! Maybe the ending sort of redeems this book. ;)
What an amazing book! What an amazing author! When I read his books, I can't put them down until I reach the end. I've read all of the books in the Mattingly series and none of them have disappointed me. In fact, I'm about ready to go back and reread them all over again. Well done!
Ever had one of those days where you feel like you've done this before? Seems like life is like that. Most days are just doing the same thing over and over, never getting different results. But what happens when one day you have the courage to do something out of routine? Billy Coffey has done it again. This novel pulled me in from the first page. In Mattingly VA, a group of people are reliving their last day in an endless cycle. What happens when you go through life not making changes, not striving to be better? You end up like Bobby Barnes, Dorothea, Tommy, George, Laura Beth, Junior, and Juliet. Take a journey with seven people who form a family of sorts where time isn't what it seems. What if you had a second chance to make things right? Would you take it? This book caused me to stop and think about how my life affects someone else. Each person is interconnected, part of a community. Coffey's books can be read in any order. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley and Billy Coffey in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing your hard work with me! And this is a very unique tale, simply put and compelling, of life after life, of what is grace and what is blessed. It is a book I will keep, and read again, a book I will gift to those I love. Thank you Billy Coffey. My view of the stars is forever changed.....
Imagine waking to the same day each and every morning, knowing when the phone would ring, already knowing the words that would be spoken. The same day, day after day after day. Would you want such a life? How would you describe it? Heaven? Or hell? Or somewhere in-between? In Billy Coffey’s newest novel There Will Be Stars, we step into the days and nights of a family of sorts that have to ask these questions. Maddingly, a town that fans of Billy’s books know well doesn't feel the same as usual. Many of the people we've come to know and love are still there, but we meet others along the way. In his unmistakable style, Billy grips our attention from page to page, making us more than a little uneasy with life as we know it. We, as readers, are forced to stop and look at ourselves, much the same way the characters must. "The Turn is a mirror, Bobby. It strips away everything but who we are deep down, and it leaves us naked and makes us look upon ourselves. That's the only way we can change." This is a book about faith, fear and family. A book that twists and turns and challenges, but ultimately leaves me certain that only God can be God, no matter how hard others may try to fill His role. This is another must read, but be warned, you will lose sleep, not wanting to put it down! I was blessed to receive an advanced reader’s copy of There Will Be Stars. The opinions I have shared are mine and mine alone.
In this 7th installment of a series that isn't a series, Billy Coffey introduces us to some new folks while reacquainting us with some regulars who dwell in the quaint little town of Mattingly, snug in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This time around we're reacqainted with Bobby Barnes, affectionately known as the town drunk. Bobby doesn't have many of what you would call friends--his life revolves around his 2 twin boys, Matthew and Mark, and the case of beer chilling in the fridge of his shop along with the spoiling milk. We meet Bobby as he and his boys are taking a little ride up the mountain, and just as we begin there, we end there, as headlights are seen just ahead in the murky darkness, the screeching of tires are heard...and then there are stars. Bobby awakens in an alley outside of his shop with a rat crawling on him, so he must have made it...or did he? Billy lyrically weaves a tale that is at times as frustrating as it is fascinating. It is futuristic, compelling, and soul touching all at the same time. Some characters you come to love while others you wish would disappear into the crack in the barn. Each of them are handed the same 24 hours, much as we are, and what they choose to do with those hours determines their very growth and existence in the little town of Mattingly. If you only had 24 hours to live, what would you choose to do with your time? Would you go back and try to make things right with others or would you spend it immersing yourself in the sins of your past? And if that same 24 hours kept repeating itself, would you think you were in heaven...or hell?
"In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair...the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes will nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die. ~ Dorothy Sayers" I sat here for quite some time, wondering how I can put into words what Billy Coffey's newest novel, There Will Be Stars is, without giving it away. I'm probably sure of one thing, after I write this review and publish it, think on it some more, will probably wish I had written something else. I always do when it comes to Billy's novels and that my friend, is what makes his novels so unique! I guess, I'm still wondering what genre it might fit into, because for some it will be one thing, and for others something else. I think people will all take something very different away from this novel, and that is what makes Billy Coffey's writing style so unique and almost ethereal in a sense. It takes you someplace, you're not sure you want to go, kinda of like hearing that strange noise at night, and you don't really want to know what it is, but you have to see for yourself if it is something or simply nothing at all. There Will Be Stars is a novel from the Mattingly Series which Billy began writing about and as he places a disclosure at the beginning, these can be read in any order, but this one takes place a few years after In the Heart of the Dark Wood. I, personally, love to read them in the order he has written them, and then I make in fact go back and read them in a different order. This is the story not only of Bobby Barnes, the main character in this novel, but those who he is interconnected with. Not only those who play a role in this novel, but those who he speaks with in getting from the beginning to the end of this story. Bobby Barnes is the town's drunk. He runs a automotive repair shop in the small town of Mattingly, Virginia, one in which everyone knows your business, often without your permission, because it is that small and everyone is connected in some unique way that can only be explained by the mind of the writer of the novel. People have been saying for some time, that Bobby will one day drink himself to death, either by consuming so much or by getting behind the wheel. Bobby might have a different opinion on that one. He works better when he has had a few even though he rarely gets much done. Perhaps he drinks to forget, perhaps he drinks simply because that is all he has known, and to do something different, might just throw him for a spin he isn't willing to take. Whatever the issue, this is the story of how Bobby defines those very moments in something I have a hard time describing. All I know is that you have to experience it to understand it and that my friend, is why you need to read this novel. I received There Will Be Stars by Billy Coffey compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers for my honest review and I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest and personal opinion. How to describe what this novel is about is like mixing Groundhog Day with the Twilight Zone. There are six people who are about to find out what heaven or hell is like based on their own perceptions of where they are in life and how they see the events that are coming to them all. In fact, all I know is that Billy Coffey can spin a tale that will have