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Gun Church Kindle Edition

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Length: 396 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Kip Weiler achieves dizzying success in the writing world of 1980s New York, then squanders it with an equally dizzying display of addictions. Dropped by his publisher, Kip banishes himself to a teaching position at Brixton County Community College. There he safely avoids most of his addictions but seems to have lost his word magic. From nowhere, a gun-wielding student takes the class hostage, and Kip shocks everyone by pouncing on the gun and freeing his students. Among those students is the leader of a secretive group that worships the power of the gun, and his gratitude nets Kip an introduction to a creepily exhilarating religious experience. He soon begins chasing another high, learning to shoot so that he can survive the church’s rituals. With his adrenaline pumping, Kip is writing better than ever, using the church as creative inspiration to reclaim his former life. Unfortunately, he doesn’t understand that, even with his book finished, he won’t just be allowed to leave the gun church. Coleman skillfully places the reader on the narrator’s shoulder as he self-destructs, and we bite our lips against warning screams. Kip’s incessant wallowing doesn’t make for an instantly appealing character, but readers will respond to the atmospheric, shrewdly crafted story. (And, honestly, who doesn’t love a bit of schadenfruede?) An ultradark exploration of the union of narcissism and group psychology, recommended especially to those who loved Erin Kelly’s The Poison Tree (2011). --Christine Tran


"Superior crime thriller from Shamus Award-winner Coleman ... keeps readers guessing to the end." --Publishers Weekly

"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

Product Details

  • File Size: 763 KB
  • Print Length: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books (September 18, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008SD4OLC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,371 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR's Maureen Corrigan and the "noir poet laureate" in the Huffington Post, Reed Farrel Coleman is the author of twenty novels. He has just been signed to continue Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series and to begin a new series of his own for Putnam. He is a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel of the year and a three-time Edgar Award nominee in three different categories. He has also won the Audie, Macavity, Barry, and Anthony awards. He is an adjunct English instructor at Hofstra University as well as a founding member of Mystery Writers of America University. Reed lives with his family on Long Island.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Grey Wolffe VINE VOICE on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've read other books by Coleman (I especially like his Mo Prager series) but this one isn't up to his regular well written story. There's something that feels forced in the story and the violence seems to be there like a book with predictable soft-core porn. Much of the book feels fatuous and the 'book within a book' doesn't add much to the overall story.

Ken 'Kip' Weiler was a wunderkin of the 80's whose talent went down in a spiral of drugs, alcohol and sex. After his first book went speedily to the top of the literary world, his next five spiraled like a WW2 fighter with its' tail on fire. His life crashes and at the start of the book he's been teaching writing at a community college for the last seven years. All his has left from his fame is a red Porche 911. A student brings a gun to class and Kip prevents him from going 'postal', all of a sudden he has his second fifteen minutes of fame.

From thereon the book takes some strange and in places, implausible turns. I wasn't riveted to my seat. In fact I had to fight through the boredom just to finish the book. Weak showing from a usually fine author.

Zeb Kantrowitz
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D_shrink VINE VOICE on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There was pretty much of a male adrenaline rush throughout this story. But there were no feelings of love by the central character for anyone else but himself. Our main character is named Kenneth "KIP" Weiler, and he is a has-been writer teaching creative writing at Brixton County Community College somewhere in the coal mining region of the Garden State. Actually, I wasn't aware of coal mining as being a thriving enterprise in New Jersey, but be that as it may.

Kip becomes the local celebrity and hero when he stops a deranged student in his class from causing an episode similar to Columbine or VA Tech. This causes Kip to revel back into the roll of being worshiped as he was when he actually wrote novels that sold before he used way too much coke and alcohol, thereby shortening his writing career by decades. He is worshiped by one male student in his class named Jim and literally adored by the prettiest girl in his class and we are lead to believe at the entire school or region, whose name is Renee Svoboda [it seems that Slavic names are a major feature of this story for some reason]. However the juvenile, misogynistic, and narcissistic Kip thinks Renee is as pretty as and fairly well resembles the girl on the St. Pauli's Beer label so he persistently refers to her as the or my St Pauli's girl throughout. Obviously Renee wasn't a strongly feminist type or she might have taken an affront to that appellation. At the same time and for reasons only known to himself, Kip is still in love with his ex-wife named Amy, who he does call Amy, although he describes her as having somewhat ordinary physical attractiveness and not much of an athlete in the bedroom at that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Cehovet VINE VOICE on November 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Gun Church", from Reed Farrel Coleman (author of the Max Praeger series) presents us with a character, Kenneth "Kip" Weiler, that has few redeeming qualities. A former literary wunderkind, Kip has self destructed through the use of cocaine and womanizing. Rock bottom for him is teaching creative writing in a third rate community college in the small mining town of Brixton, New Jersey. His students are the kind that see no possible future for themselves. This all changes when one of his students holds the class hostage at the point of a gun. In a very noir moment, Kip remembers that he wrote this scene in one of his books. He grabs the gun around the cylinder, and saves his students. As a result, Kip is a local celebrity. He's on the morning talk shows again, and is offered inclusion into a literary retrospective tour, featuring writing friends from back in the day. Which is nice (and potentially profitable), but he also knows that he is only there because of his recent celebrity. Nothing has really changed for him.

Doesn't this sound like a great story line? It really is, but the first 60 or so pages of the 196 page book are wordy and, for me anyway, a bit disjointed. Were i simply reading this book for pleasure, I would have set it down and not gone back to it. But I was reviewing it, so I had to finish it. I did, however, put it down, then read and review another book that I connected with in a much better fashion. When I came back to "Gun Church", it didn't take long for the story to find its legs, so all was not lost.

Before this happens, Kip spends a lot of time sitting by himself, trying to start a new book, but unable to even put the first word down. After he saves his class from the hostage situation two of his students come to play a very important part in his life.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Curtis G VINE VOICE on May 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Before reading "Gun Church," I had never heard of Reed Farrel Coleman, but evidently he has quite a reputation in the mystery field. It's well-deserved, I'm sure. "Gun Church" struck me as deeper and more introspective than the typical mystery (not that that's what this is). I have been an aspiring author for many years and at several points in the book I thought, "That's brilliant. I would never have thought to include that. How does he do it?" It was both inspiring and frustrating at the same time. Whenever I had to take a break from reading, I found myself wanting to get back to it as soon as I could. However, there is one element of Gun Church that really bugged me, repeatedly.

(I realize that some readers will not have noticed this. Most won't care. And I'm fully aware that I'm inviting unhelpful votes by focusing on this, but it's a risk I'm willing to take.)

I hate to be obsessive about nomenclature, but you would think that this renowned mystery author--particularly one whose book was born of a comment between two friends at a "weapons demonstration" and whose knowledge of firearms appears otherwise solid--would know the difference between a "clip" and a "magazine." In fact, I thought it was going to be addressed in the story. It made sense that a New York writer would ignorantly refer to a magazine as a clip, so when Weiler says "clip" to gun expert Jim, I fully expected Jim to correct Weiler's error. No such luck. And Weiler (that is, Coleman) keeps calling them clips all the way to the end of the book. None of the book's editors or advance readers thought (or knew) to correct this? Irritating.

That aside, this is a very good read, particularly for fans of New York literary fiction of the 1980s. I recommend it.
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