First published back in September of 2015, ‘God Bomb!’ formed British author Kit Power’s eagerly-anticipated debut full-length novel.

Power’s short story ‘Genesis’, which appeared within the ‘At Hell’s Gates II: Origins Of Evil’ (2015) anthology a few months prior to the release of ‘God Bomb!’, was designed to work either as a prequel or as an addendum to the novel.  Where ‘God Bomb!’ details a lunatic atheist bomber who holds eighty-odd-Christians hostage, ‘Genesis’ explores in more detail the motivations behind the bomber himself, recounting the forty-eight hours prior to his attack at the born-again church ‘revival’ meeting.

DLS Synopsis:
It’s July of 1995 when during a born-again church ‘revival’ meeting in a North Devon, a young man stands up in front of the eighty-or-so attendees and asks the preacher if he really believes that God is real.  It’s a challenge that the preacher is all too familiar with.  And he sees it as an opportunity to show his flock the power of true belief.

However, when the young man approaches the stage something about his nature seems wrong.  The young man is full of energy and purpose as if he’s on a mission.  Furthermore he seems obsessed with the idea of actually talking to God…communicating directly with him…hearing his voice.

And then, in front of the entire congregation, from underneath his jacket the young lad reveals his true intention.  A tangle of wires and enough explosives to bring the whole community centre down.  This is no normal kid who’s lost his way with faith.  This is a madman with an intention to cause terror.

As you’d expect at a meeting of this nature, the congregation is made up of an eclectic mix of individuals from all walks of life.  Amongst the terrified onlookers there’s Deborah - an angry twenty-year-old who’s confined to a wheelchair.  Chris – a confused nineteen-year-old who’s searching for answers.  Twitch – a struggling alcoholic who barely has a grip on life anymore.  Katie – a sixteen-year-old churchgoer who has her whole life is in front of her.  Alex – a strong-minded eighteen-year-old who’s ready to take the world on.  Peter and his heavily-pregnant wife Emma – who are on the verge of having their first child.  And Mike – a thirty-seven-year-old sax player who plays in the church band.

Along with all the other terrified onlookers in the congregation, these individuals will be forced to endure the crazed demands of this lunatic who’s rigged with a vest of explosives.  Today is the day when he finally wants answers.  One way or the other, he wants to know the truth about the existence of God.  Through his actions he’s created the perfect motivation for God to intervene.

After all, if God doesn’t reach out and talk to him now – then everyone in the building will die…

DLS Review:
And here we are with Kit Power’s hugely anticipated debut full-length novel.  There’s been quite a buzz about the book prior to its publication.  And rightly so.  Power’s offerings thus far, albeit just short stories and novellas, have all been exceptionally good reading.  Quite simply, Kit Power can write damn well.  I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again now – his writing really is like the reincarnation of Richard Laymon.  It’s delivered so effortlessly.  It’s so instantly engaging.  It’s also devoid of any waffle whatsoever.  In fact it’s so utterly unpretentious - and far the better for it.

So, what have we got with ‘God Bomb!’?  Well, for starters Kit’s utilised a plot that’s painfully relevant at the moment.  It’s about a suicide bomber holding members of the public hostage.  However, with his tale Kit has cleverly reversed the usual terrorist motive, and instead of the bomber’s actions being because of his faith, here we have the mirror opposite, the bomber is without faith and wishes to prove once and for all that there is no God.

Okay, so the concept behind the tale is relatively simple, and indeed the storyline itself is rather singular and without much diversion.  However, what Power has done with his novel is really focus in on the human element within the situation.  It’s a story about individuals.  In fact, the story is told from behind the eyes of eight principal characters – all of which have been lovingly fleshed-out by the author.  Faith is also a key element in this tale – and through this handful of characters, Power explores a range of angles and perspectives on the subject – offering up thought-provoking questions without pushing his own opinions through the story.

And that’s one of the strongest aspects of the tale.  Power has (quite purposefully) steered clear of offering up his own thoughts or opinions on the subject of faith throughout the length of the novel.  Yes questions are raised, and different approaches towards faith are explored, but no overriding opinion or conclusion is proffered.

The chapters jump from character to character, telling the story from each of their unique perspectives.   In doing this, Power has made you (as the reader) feel like you too are right there in the congregation, faced with this terrifying situation that’s unfolding before your eyes.  And as the pages fly by, the intensity of the piece just keeps on escalating, until your heart is pretty much in your mouth and it’s now impossible to put the book down.

Okay, so I said that the storyline as a whole is fairly singular.  This is true.  However, it’s the characters themselves that add deep complexities to the tale:- that add the inter-woven layers and bring out all those thought-provoking questions.  Through the intensity of the situation, Power has brought to the surface the very rawest of emotions that hammer home the terrifying madness of the situation.  From rage to despair, from simmering hate to passionate love, from calm acceptance to hardened denial.  The story offers up a complex tapestry of human emotions. It’s all there in absolute abundance.

Within his tale Power exposes the real things that make us human.  There’s a real bonding together of people.  It’s rich with empathy and sympathy.  It inspires hope and understanding without pushing in any one particular direction.

There are scenes that draw you in like you won’t believe.  Heart-warming scenes of tender human passion.  Sudden shifts in temperament that throw you completely off guard and then yank you right back in.  A scene where a character dies, and as the reader, you witness the moment of death from behind their eyes.  Moments that will touch you.  Moments that will enrage you.  Moments that will leave you completely breathless.

I guess what I’m ultimately saying here is that ‘God Bomb!’ is a truly unique novel.  It’s as eloquent as it is brutal.  You’ll be taken on a manic roller-coaster of a ride - through pulse-racing highs and gut-churning lows, and all with your nerves stretched to the very limit.

When reading ‘God Bomb!’ I could have sworn my heart stopped on more than one occasion.  You’ll feel like you‘ve lived through every second of the madness unfolding before you.  It really gets to you, and when you eventually come out the other side, you’ll feel that you too were one of the survivors.

I was there when it all happened.  I saw that shit go down.  And I survived it…

The novel runs for a total of 188 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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