“When We Join Jesus In Hell” ~ Lee Thompson

  • Title: “When We Join Jesus In Hell”
  • Author: Lee Thompson
  • Genre: Dark Fiction
  • Format: Kindle
  • Source: Own copy
  • Reviewed by: Mark Matthews
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description: “WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL is as crazy as its tormented protagonist. Hard as nails.”

— Jack Ketchum

Home, he thinks, Where the heart bleeds freely.

A hell of a boxer, he earned the nickname ‘Fist’ back in the day. But during the past eight years, he’s transformed into somebody he no longer knows—a weak, pitiful, and passionless office drone.

Barely hanging onto the last thread of his self-respect, he returns home one night to discover Hell has truly crossed its threshold.

And Hell has lessons to teach him through what fragments remain.

Slivers of dark light.

Knowledge in blood.

Forgiveness, clarity and redemption in commitment

Review:  The title is enough to draw your attention, but be assured this isn’t about Christ and there’s no direct blasphemy here. Unless the title has already done such for you.  The publisher of this work, Darkfuse, has an incredible line of dark fiction, mostly novellas or shorter, easily digestible novels. Easy as in length, but they are deep and rich in content, and you will find some of the greatest dark fiction writers  in the Darkfuse line.  I can also vouch for “Nightsiders,” “Children of No One” and “The Mourning House.”  And if you join the very popular Darkfuse BookClub, they start you out with many free books and then keep sending them monthly.

It’s a great deal. And full disclosure: I have NO affilitaion with Darkfuse, besides that I am going to be published by a competitor. Well, at least I was, I may be in trouble now for writing this.

When We Join Jesus in Hell was my first Darkfuse title, and it is a novella that drips with richness, much like its cover.  An intense, very memorable and explosive read, that all takes place in real time, with real emotions, and paints a vivid picture. You take the trip through the brain of the main character, ‘Fist’ is his name, which is a great place to visit, and you’re there at the moment he comes home to find tragedy strike his family. His brain then explodes with deeper emotions, and you’re dragged along willingly as he seeks his revenge.

 Such an amazing feat to pull off the tone throughout this novel, which I am guessing was very hard to write without sounding campy or half-tongue in cheek (like the movie Sin-City, for example, which I still loved but was different). Reality in the novel was dripping and fluid. The content is horrific, sure, but the mystical and surreality of the writing is what got me hooked. (“Sur-reality’-‘ I  just made that word up.)

This story will stick with you, and I loved the end and the last lines. I’m gonna ‘extrapolate away’ and see it as a statement on masculinity and coping with the primal urges, and the battle to balance this with vulnerable emotions of hurt and sadness. The test for many men is not to just turn all these soft feelings into anger and then violence as a last resort (sorry Fist, you failed that one, but you have my sympathy.)   The story ends with an apology, and as many confused, maybe slightly emotionally handicapped husbands, there’s this need to apologize ~ but not really sure what for.

This book is a brave exploration of emotions, near experimental at times, and the experiments work. 5 of 5 stars.

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