It is 2037. Radicals in the Middle East have done the unthinkable. Low-yield nuclear weapons have been unleashed and the subsequent escalation of exchanges is enough to blacken the skies.
In time, the world goes dark. Crops fail and economies begin the inevitable collapse. Countries close their borders, cease trading with one another and declare martial law to control their populations. As oil and power dwindle, the descent into chaos follows and the global meltdown unfolds.
An entity arrives and this malevolent force begins its strategy to claim this broken territory as a piece in a long-waged celestial conflict. Moving half a century ahead, the story centres on a colony entrenched in the desert of the Four Corners region of the United States. It is a place of sanctuary, established in the post-war years and grown to be a stronghold in the badlands. In the wake of the entity’s global strategy, it stands as the sole remaining seat of the human race. Its citizens are ruled by a brotherhood of elders who cling to the shattered remnants of the Christian faith.
A priest, favoured of the sect, begins to suffer nightmarish visions as evil turns its intent on the last bastion of mankind still to fall by its hand. Overcome, and subsequently possessed, the holy man becomes the vessel through which dark forces infiltrate the colony and lay low the last of men with a crushing malediction which will claim their souls, their homeworld and ultimately their Godhead for all time.
Rich in descriptive content and paced throughout with a growing sense of doom, The Jesus Man delivers an unsurpassed vision of Hell on Earth.
The Jesus Man by Keith Anthony Baird is a tough book for me to rate, if I’m being honest. It’s part of why, despite completing it last week, I’ve taken so long to write up my review. The book isn’t an easy read by any means, especially with its vast amounts of purple prose. It does, however, have a uniquely intriguing plot.
One of the major deciding factors for me when I read a book is its ability to make me feel emotion. I want a connection with the characters, even if it’s a seething hatred that I feel in the depths of my heart. With The Jesus Man, I felt loathing and disdain, but nothing beyond that. I felt disconnected, for the most part. The characters seemed to me as if they were in limbo between fully and halfway developed.
In regards to plot, Baird does an excellent job. As a horror fan, I end up reading a lot of apocalyptic books. Most of the time, the cause is a viral outbreak of zombies. It’s a cliché we deal with far too often and it’s been beaten to death time and time again. Baird goes an entirely new route, with the dredges of Hell returning to claim what should be theirs. Described as the Fallen, we know these creatures as the angels cast from Heaven in the wake of God’s love for mankind stoking rebellion among them. It’s an interesting take on the world’s post-nuclear was end and I feel that Baird did a wonderful job in this area of his book.
I do have to take a moment to appreciate one beautiful perk to Baird’s ornate writing style: his depiction of gory acts is absolutely stunning. I’m a sucker for splatterpunk, so this served as a nice treat for me. While his characters felt lacking to me (which I discovered was the author’s intent post-read), his vivid descriptions (even if heavy-handed) are breathtaking and nightmare invoking.
I’ve danced between a two and four for this book several times, so ultimately I’m going to go with a three. While I loved the concept, the difficulty of reading this book made it hard for me to enjoy.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.