Book Chat: Snake Oil Salesman of the Week
An artist takes on the Devil in order to win his soul back.
Andy James is an artist, a fighter, and a big time a-hole from the small town of Tuckerton, New Jersey. While in pursuit of artistic greatness, James comes across a shapeshifting (Jersey) Devil during a chance encounter in the isolated Pine Barrens. Confident to a fault, Andy James believes he can get the best of the Devil, but unfortunately loses his soul in the process. Suffering from a carnivorous rage that is a product of the Devil’s sourcery, James goes on a mission to find his evil nemesis. The grueling hunt leaves Andy beaten and taunted by the supernatural and human beings that surround him. With time running out, Andy’s fortune begins to turn when he discovers a loophole in his soulless existence. Armed with sacred knowledge and endless bravado, Andy James returns to the wilderness for a showdown against the most ancient evil known to mankind.
Andy is an artist and floats through life; talented, but not putting in the effort to truly be successful. He is a self-described “a-hole”.
Seeking a place to create a new painting, Andy runs into a strange man, who is in fact the Devil and old Lucifer tricks Andy out of his soul. H gets into a fistfight with the Devil and wins that round. It was unbelievable that Andy could best a supernatural being, but the tongue-in-cheek writing made it so.
The only way Andy can win his soul back is to trick two other people in taking his place. Attempting to take the souls of several men, our “hero” finds each time he can’t do it. Every person he chooses as a potential replacement has some quality that makes Andy pause and reconsider.
The ending was surprising, funny and enjoyable.
This was a strange story. Not saying it was bad, but different. Most of the characters were on the bottom rung of society and “fit” the setting quite well, since Andy was searching for bad people to take his place. But it was fun to see Andy stumbling through the process, realizing he found good qualities in each one he targeted.
Note: There is foul language, many depictions of drunken behavior and drug partying. The author sprinkles philosophical thoughts throughout the story, which were my favorite parts. If you enjoy a story with a wicked sense of humor, where the main character is pitched against the Devil and wins, give this one a try.
NOTE: All my reviews are published in Uncaged Book Reviews emag. This review will be in the August issue.