Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mercury Falls - Rob Kroese (with Author Interview)

Summary: Years of covering the antics of End Times cults for The Banner, a religious news magazine, have left Christine Temetri not only jaded but seriously questioning her career choice.

That is, until she meets Mercury, an anti-establishment angel who's frittering his time away whipping up batches of Rice Krispy Treats and perfecting his ping-pong backhand instead of doing his job: helping to orchestrate Armageddon. With the end near and angels and demons debating the finer political points of the Apocalypse, Christine and Mercury accidentally foil an attempt to assassinate one Karl Grissom, a thirty-seven-year-old film school dropout about to make his big break as the Antichrist. Now, to save the world, she must negotiate the byzantine bureaucracies of Heaven and Hell and convince the apathetic Mercury to take a stand, all the while putting up with the obnoxious mouth-breathing Antichrist. (Summary and Image from Rob Kroese)

My review: Heaven and Hell. Check all your ideas and preconceptions at the door.

I will be the first to admit that I had some misgivings about this book. Being Christian I was not keen on a book that would mock my beliefs or go beyond the gray area in sarcasm relating to religion. But, what I found was the complete opposite.

Mercury is a “fallen angel”. While other Angels are busy orchestrating the Apocalypse, Mercury is busy cooking up Rice Crispy treats and playing ping pong to pass the hours with little interest for the goings on in Heaven and Hell. Mercury’s laid back lifestyle is brought to a screeching halt when a journalist shows up on his door step with a briefcase, which coincidently ends up being one of the Four Attaché Cases of the Apocalypse. What? You thought it was horseman? Yeah….me too.

When thrown into the company of the would be Anti –Christ, Mercury finds himself exactly where he doesn’t want to be, in the middle of a war between Heaven and hell.

Drawing parallels to our own quirky society, Kroese will make you ask yourself the hard questions, not the least of which is whether or not to replace your household linoleum. Could there really be Angels walking around among us, biding their time? Do we really have free will? Have we taken our obsession with Harry Potter too far?

Littered with foot notes that are as interesting as the novel itself, Mercury Fall is truly laugh out loud funny. The characters are fully developed personas that I got rather attached to. Since finishing the book I have missed Mercury and his dry wit. I have even missed hating Karl Grissom, the geeky, middle aged, live at home with your mamma, would be Anti-Christ. Wonderfully detailed and superbly plotted, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good laugh. Kroese’s imagination is running at top speed.

My rating: 4 Stars

Sum it up: If you are looking for an escape from the “Mundane Plane”……

I had the opportunity to interview the author of Mercury Falls, Robert Kroese. Check out our conversation below.
________________________________________________
5 Questions for Robert Kroese

1. Mercury falls is different than most everyday type novels. What gave you the idea? Did it come easily or was it just a flicker that had to be developed?

As strange as this may sound, the book very much arose from my own personal life. I never really thought of myself as a humor writer, but in the fall of 2006 I started a blog as a sort of a joke. I always thought blogs were kind of lame and boring, so rather than write about my mundane life, I started posting these completely ridiculous and fabricated accounts of things that obviously never happened (my very first post was about my encounter with a sea turtle who showed up at my door one morning). The blog grew into Mattress Police (
http://mattresspolice.com), which I subtitled "Antisocial Commentary," because I sort of fell into this misanthropic persona, sort of a combination of Oscar Wilde and Al Bundy. At the same time that Mattress Police was taking off, I became a deacon in my church. People find it hard to believe, but I'm actually a Christian and I'm very serious about my faith. So I felt like I was developing a bit of a split personality, writing these caustic blog posts and then heading off to a meeting at church where we would pray and discuss how to help the downtrodden in our community. That's where I got the idea of an angel who is a total smart***.

2. Mercury's character in the novel is....quirky, to say the least. Without spoiling his wit for other reader, do you see any similarities between the way he thinks and the way you think? He had a very interesting take on things regarding the Apocalypse....

Absolutely. Mercury is an exaggerated version of me. The way he pontificates, his lack of tolerance for bureaucracy and hypocrisy, the way he pretends not to give a crap about anybody else, his love for Rice Krispy treats -- that's totally me. But I also have a lot in common with Christine (the other main character). Even Harry Giddings, the blowhard who thinks its his destiny to proclaim the apocalypse, has a fair amount of me in him. The hardest character to write was actually Karl the antichrist, because he's such a worthless schlub. He's everything I hate.

3. Again, without any spoilers. The novel is written with many words and phrases that are not a part of our common language. The Mundane Plane and all the characters in heaven and hell come to life very easily, and the fictitious aspects flow very well.. Was is hard to find that kind of ........sync for this book?

Well, it was a little difficult to find the right balance between the authoritative expository style (the novel is in the form of a report written by an angel who works for the "Mundane Observation Corps"), and the more conversational style that dominates the rest of the book. But I read Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when I was 14, and I think the template for this sort of novel was more-or-less imprinted on my brain at that time. Adams opened the door for books like Mercury Falls.

4. I obviously enjoyed this novel. The rating on the review should make that evident. I suggested that a friend read it and she read the summary and was put off by the subject matter. What can you tell us to dispel those first impressions? Do you feel that certain religious and/or spiritual beliefs would be offended by some of the concepts in this novel?

First of all, I empathize with your situation. My own wife was hesitant to become a "fan" of Mercury Falls on Facebook because she didn't want to have to deal with difficult question at the Christian school where she teaches. And while I don't blame her, I think it's sad that Christians make this sort of self-censorship unavoidable. A lot of Christians seem to think that books and movies are like food: there's good food and bad food, and if you get too much bad food in you, Terrible Things will happen to you. I'm here to tell you that you could read any horrible book, from Mein Kampf to Eragon, without corrupting your soul. Take what good there is to be had in the book, and discard the bad things. That's why God gave us brains. If you think that Mercury Falls looks like a crappy novel, then by all means avoid it and move on to Huck Finn or Slaughterhouse Five. But don't avoid it because it has jokes about religion in it. That's just silly.

5. What is next for you as an author? Any sequels in the works? Where can we find information on what you are working on?

I'm really not sure. I'd love to do a sequel, but Mercury Falls took me three years (off and on) to write. I'd kind of like to follow this book up with something sooner than 2012. I may do a sort of David Sedaris style compilation of humorous essays, using some of the material from my Mattress Police blog. If you want to know what I'm working on, my best suggestion is to visit
http://mercuryfalls.net/.

You can purchase Mercury Falls by Rob Kroese at Amazon.


3 comments:

Diesel said...

Thanks for the interview and the review, Kim!

- Rob K.

Jeff said...

Nice job Kim! I too was wondering how he came up with all those crazy names for his characters, job titles and alternate dimensions. But then this is Rob we're talking about here. That's what he does.

Kim said...

I know! Some of those names where crazy. Isbazel, wasn't that one? I kept having to say it slowly to keep from calling him Isabel! What a imagination...

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