Title: No hope for Gomez!
Author: Graham Parke
First published: January 2010
Publisher: Outskirts Press
It’s the age-old tale: Boy meets girl. Boy stalks girl. Girl already has a stalker. Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.
We’ve seen it all before, many times, but this time it’s different. If only slightly. When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. What Gomez isn’t ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, the phone-sex salesman who hounds him day and night, the super sexy research assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science. But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced delusions, he decides it’s time to go underground and work out a devious plan.
I was told by the author that this was a weird book. I love weird books, so my hopes were high when I started reading this one. I was expecting humorous and different, and this book absolutely delivered!
This book is so many things: it’s a love story, it’s a murder mystery, but foremost it’s Gomez’s blog. The story starts out as one would expect: Gomez is blogging about his everyday life. Nothing much happens at work, he doesn’t meet many people and his only routine is work and visiting the doctors office where he’s participating in a drug trial. But then he decides he likes Dr. Hardgrove, the lab assistant, and the story suddenly becomes twisted and absurd (and in this case, that is a good thing).
As a policeman and a participant of the drug trial disapear and show up dead, Gomez is quickly becoming a private detective, trying to solve the mysteries. He becomes paranoid; can he trust that Dr. Hardgrove has nothing to do with the deaths? Why is his neighbour making all these loud noices in the middle of the night? Who is the strange man stalking his love interest? And who is the man showing up in his store wanting to buy his old tax papers?
Because of it’s many absurdities, this book is hilarious. I honestly laughed all the way through it, all the way from the very first page The language was excellent; easy to read, intellectual and a bit quirky. I really felt that the writing style matched Gomez’ personality perfectly.
What makes this story amazing is the amount of exceptionally strange characters. They are what I remember best about this book, and I think they’ll stick with me for years to come. Even though the book is short, the characters sneaked their way into my mind and now I can’t stop thinking about them.
Gomez is obviously the main character. Since this book is written as his blog, I got a pretty “good” insight into his personality and life in general. The problem is; I don’t know if Gomez is telling the truth. He is in a drug trial, he appears to be a bit schizophrenic and paranoid, and he is generally a bit unusual (or should I say; he’s an original). He’s a funny character, but I don’t think he means to be funny.
Hicks is Gomez’s co-worker. He is very particular about keeping to habits and sticking to what he knows. Because he can’t really do anything useful, he spends his day sweeping the floors in the antique store where he and Gomez work. I haven’t given Hicks much more thought, but I’m starting to think he might represent something more in this story.
Warren is an author and Gomez’s neighbour. Gomez is annoyed with Warren, but I’m not 100% sure why… He comes off as nice in the beginning, but as the story envolves he turns more and more annoying. For example: he won’t leave Gomez alone and he is very insistent about getting Gomezs’ opinions on his novels. I’m not sure if this is the real Warren, or if we see him through Gomez’s twisted mind.
I guess I also have to mention the man in costumes. He shows up in Gomez’s store wearing all sorts of weird clothing. He wants to buy Gomez’s old tax papers. Don’t even ask me what I think he represents, ’cause I have no idea! I’m still thinking about him and trying to figure him out.
TO SUM IT ALL UP
If you are searching for a humorous, absurd, weird story, then this book is for you. I read it in two sittings, so it’s a super quick read. The fact that it’s written in blog posts makes this book unusual (in a good way) and interesting. It’s a lovely mix of all things fun!
You can also check out my video review here:
For a limited time you can get the sequel to No hope for Gomez! for free. Check out Grahams blog for directions.