Thursday, May 8, 2014

Miracles, Inc. (book review)

My reading eyes have been out of commission for a long time now, so after two eye surgeries, I am now back in the saddle and catching up on all the books that have accumulated on the night stand. A very substantial pile it is too! TJ Forrester's "Miracles, Inc." has been waiting a very long time for my attention, and I am happy to say I finally was able to read it.

I didn't know what to expect. The whole Jesus-Hallalujia milieu is a turnoff for me personally, so I was hoping it was not going to be too religion-packed, and what a lucky surprise! This irreverent little novel packs a punch, wry and sly and verbally clever, exposing the faith healers and the underbelly of spiritual con artists in most entertaining and quirky ways, revolving around a love story of epic proportions, murder, prison, and Harley Davidsons. I was delighted to find the unexpected! (Having just read "Proof of Heaven" you can imagine my delight to find "reality" instead of heavenly fantasies).

My only criticism of this tale would be that there is an odd superficiality, a sort of "skimming" the surface of the experiences -- a reluctance, almost, to get under the skins of the characters. One is reminded of the comic book movies (like Dick Tracy and Batman) where the characters are wonderful and entertaining, but the inner lives remain untapped. Forrester taps his narrator's innards, but the macho nature of Vernon Oliver, stud & star of the Jesus circuit, manages to suppress the depth of feeling readers always love in their heroes. That's just the way Vernon is. As a result, it makes the novel a bit tongue in cheek, intentional or not. I found myself wondering how one might pull Vernon into deeper waters with the rest of the loony cast of wonderful characters. But this is nitpicking. I enjoyed it and look forward to Forrester's new novel, coming soon.


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