Gun Church

  • by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett, John Keating
  • 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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?


What the Critics Say

“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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Took me a long time to hate it.

A snarky aside to "Fight Club" which surfaces early in this novel tries to separate the story from Chuck Palahniuk's superior one. But the parallel remain, and friends, this is NO Fight Club. There is nothing surreal in this straightforward tale of a has-been hipster writer who is introduced to a ridiculous rural secret society that hosts kevlared gun duels on an old army base. The first person character has a dry tone that paints the scene well, and the narrator of the audiobook has a solid, likable voice, so the whole thing rolls along quite easily before you realize you still have 5 hours to go and NOTHING is happening.

The complaints and self-revelations of Kip, the middle-aged screw-up, are booooring, and his haughty view of his countrified neighbors (and their cartoonish portrayal) is irksome. There is virtually no intrigue in the story, almost everything that happens will make you nod and say, "Now it's time for THAT part".

There is no "there" there. The writing is competent but certainly not rich, evocative or provocative. The characters give you no one to root for. The "book within a book" concept (hence the second narrator, who portrays the Irish-voiced first-person of Kip's new novel) is almost as bad, although the interior novel takes more chances and might have been a better book.

This book COULD have been an insightful analysis of the confusion of love and power, of our nation's bizarre relationship to firearms, of one man's serial obsessions and his inability to conquer them. But - nope.

I'm writing this review with just over 2 hours left in the book. I'm determined to hang in there, but so desperate to listen to something else that I will not be able to write the review when I'm finished. IF I finish...
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- Wild Wise Woman "WildWiseWoman"

Glad I took the chance

I did hesitate about buying a book that hadn't been reviewed by users or print readers yet. I am very glad I took the chance though. The publishers blurb led me to expect something a bit mystical but instead it was more a well paced psychological thriller than anything else. One of the main characters (Jim) was a bit of a caricature but the rest were developed enough to make up for it. The ending was very satisfying and very fitting. I was always sorry when my journey ended and I had to stop listening for the day. Well worth the credit.
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- Karen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-08-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios