Audie Award, Original Work, 2013
Kip Weiler is a self-destructive, washed-up, middle-aged professor. Once a superstar of the literary set, he has bottomed out after years of drinking and not writing anything worth a damn. As the novel begins, he’s teaching classes at a small, rural community college. Kip's talent, money, and chances have just about run out, when he rescues a classroom full of his students from a deranged student gunman who opens fire and takes the class hostage.
As a result of the subsequent media attention, Kip gets an invitation to join a bizarre club-cult with members who have a near-religious fascination with handguns. His involvement with this group - and a simultaneous fling with a "spectacular" and sexually adventurous student of his named Renee - rekindles his passion and his creative-writing energy.
But just when his muse returns, Kip Weiler’s life takes an even more insane and deadly turn. Kip begins to write a new novel called Gun Church, and things begin to happen in the real world that parallel his novel in progress. By mid-book it’s impossible to know where the art stops and the life or, in some cases, death begins. Can the very thing that gave Kip back his life take it so quickly away?
“Reed Farrel Coleman is again operating at a very high level in Gun Church. Narrated by a failed writer who has notions of literary redemption suddenly sparked awake again, it is an audaciously plotted adventure in the unglamorous America. Coleman has a lot to say about the psychology of a writer's life, ethics or their absence, and a great eye for the world around us. It is a confessional but propulsive novel, bizarre at times, touching, expertly paced and fresh.” (Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone and Tomato Red)
“If this is church, I might start going. Sign me up as a parishioner.” (Don Winslow, New York Times best-selling author of Savages)
“Coleman’s Gun Church is wonderful. His protagonist, Kip Weiler, is one of the most fascinating characters in years.” (David Morrell, New York Times best-selling author of The Brotherhood of the Rose)
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Took me a long time to hate it.
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