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Gun Church [Kindle Edition]

Reed Farrel Coleman
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Once a literary wunderkind, author Kip Weiler now teaches creative writing at Brixton County Community College—a 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.



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

Review

"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: 454 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1440551995
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books (September 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008SD4OLC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,242 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little too Convoluted 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced Action Thoroughout 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Deconstructing 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Gun Church March 6, 2013
Format:Paperback
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I found this book to be interesting. The story is quite unique and I found the characters interesting to follow. Read more
Published 7 months ago by VMG
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
This book drags at times, but is a very good story. The author tries to make the reader think in order to anticipate the characters' next moves.
Published 16 months ago by A. Sitler
4.0 out of 5 stars great summer read
This is the first Reed Coleman book I've read, happened across it in the new release section at the library and it looked interesting. Read more
Published 16 months ago by mark vaz
3.0 out of 5 stars Something Most would not participate in and certainly not in "church".
Very weird although the truth of life can be equally as weird. Not my cup of tea----too much violence. Really didn't identify with the characters at all
Published 16 months ago by drew carlton
4.0 out of 5 stars Gun Church
The title caught my attention and it absolutely lived up to its promise. The pseudo-sacrilegious tone actually makes a statement about faith, about icons, about human nature. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars No smoking gun here!
A quick read but very contrived. It was very hard to wrap yur head around a small town kid thinking up this plot.
Published 17 months ago by Willy Steiner
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read marred by one flaw
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. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Curtis G
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels I have read in a long time
Gun Church by Reed Farrel Coleman is one of the best novels I have read in a long time. Mr. Coleman is a true wordsmith, in the best traditions of American writers. Read more
Published 18 months ago by W. D. Barnum
4.0 out of 5 stars "Fight Club" meets "Swim Fan" with a Gun Cult twist
I was surprised how much I wound up enjoying this book because the first 20% was almost all about how far from grace the main character, Ken or "Kip" had fallen after self... Read more
Published 21 months ago by SouthGenie
2.0 out of 5 stars COULDN'T BITE THE BULLET
Ken "KIP" Weiler is a middle-aged has-been writer; a "victim" of fame, drugs and alcohol, and who is now teaching at a backwater community college in the middle of nowhere. Read more
Published 22 months ago by JoeV
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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.

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