The Nicest Guy in Hell

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The Nicest Guy In Hell

Last Free Dates: 7th Nov 15 to 9th Nov 15
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...For anyone expecting a humourous book, particularly given the cover and blurb, you will be very disappointed. I certainly was. Riddled with spelling, grammar, and formatting errors....

For anyone expecting a humourous book, particularly given the cover and blurb, you will be very disappointed. I certainly was.

This follows the Branch family, Paul, his wife, and their two children. Paul is a former rock star and philanthropist, but when he dies he finds out that good works are not enough to save his soul.

This book is screaming for an editor. Tense and point of view change throughout, even in the same paragraph. The early paragraphs are written in present tense, which threw me slightly, and then it begins to switch past and present. Then Chapter 11 switches to first person, Paul, and from then on it switches first and third point of view and point of view characters throughout. Chapter 16 starts with a paragraph where the first sentence is Paul third-person and then switches to Paul first-person.

The speech punctuation is not good. Speech does not always start on a new line, first words are not capitalised and commas at the end of speech are erratic. Also numbers are in numerals, not written. There are basic grammar errors e.g. your and you’re. These are all minor things, but they add up, and anything that makes a book less readable isn’t good.

Characterisation is flimsy at best, and the atheist and pastor debates are painful reading with strawmen on both sides. The atheists keep referring to the Bible as a work of fiction, which I don’t know any atheists who believe (there is historical fact behind the events – the attribution of actions to God is what they question, given the superstitious nature of the populace at the time) and the Pastor refers to the earth spinning perfectly upright in mid-air, which it doesn’t – most Christians know how seasons work i.e. axial tilt and that space is a vacuum since the Bible refers to earth at first existing “without form and void” (KJV Genesis 1). There are substantial plot holes, and the ending? Well, no surprise, the philanthropist goes to hell and the murderess who damned her children goes to heaven…

It could potentially offend both Christians and other religions, including atheists and agnostics, but it is so badly written that it is unlikely people will read it that far. There are so many issues that taking pot shots is unfair, and I’d be here all night e.g. I could take issue with the book’s portrayal of Islam and terrorism, but it is as two dimensional as everything else. I suspect it is less deliberately offensive than just plainly not well-written or thought through because it gets very close to being a checklist of stereotypes. I could mention that the author limits the Christian god’s mercy, or quotes Leviticus instead of the new testament, but these are issues for religious scholars not book reviewers. Likewise the hard questions, such as the issue of evil and the morality of a god that allows people to be tortured when he could prevent it, are never asked.

From the point of view of this reviewer, ignoring religious issues and focusing purely on presentation, writing, and plot, it is my firm opinion that this is not a good book. It has spelling, grammar, and formatting errors, the characterisation is poor and the supporting cast two-dimensional. The plot has issues, and the ending is predictable.

(I don’t like giving bad reviews, so I did ask a second reader to check my rating. He got through two chapters before validating my rating and adding his own DNF.)

Rating: 1
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atry (5 December 2015)
How did you finish this? I had a look at the Look Inside and it is - um, oh dear. It's definitely Oh dear.

Reader (7 December 2015)
Misplaced optimism: I kept hoping it would improve. By halfway I wanted to know what would happen next and that was not a good thing. Believe me, my review was the kindest one it would have got, as the others wanted to give it DNF.

rz3300 (10 October 2016)
This one sounds really interesting. It sounds like one of those transcendent like stories, or the nice guy finishes last like classic stories that always seems to capture my attention. I am intrigued by this one.

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