Reviewed by Molly Martin
Jonathan Goodfellow, accountant nearing retirement lives a humdrum life, and works at a humdrum job. Landlady O’Reilly tells him what to do. Overweight Miss Bloomingdale, company receptionist is a real pain in the neck. His fellow workers, Jones P senior THE boss, and Jones P junior the head of the accounting department all are vexatious and perhaps even more. Jones P. – the P stands for Percival – is a devilish member of an occult Black Circle Club whose members practice trances, and all become lawyers. The world’s attorneys, led by the obese Jones P. senior, have formed a strange alliance with Satan. In exchange for particular compensations he will give them the world. Hell has been transformed into a golf course where the Devil wants to be left alone to play golf and hopefully break 100. The dwarf, Earnest Jamieson, Marijuana, an odd assortment of roomers, Cowley, Sampson, The Crone, a handgun and a five iron all figure in Goodfellow’s strange move toward death and return to earth to act as a Messiah. Jonathan wakes up in heaven facing a hippie god, who is moved to give humankind one more chance. God charges Johnathan, who has to be the mildest man on earth, to serve as his Messiah to bring back the directive that we mortals are to revise our behaviour. If we falter, God vows that he will disregard his plan to end the world when it becomes due. Jonathan and the astonishing bedlam he creates while on his mission from God is a most extraordinary jaunt and a most startling aftermath. Talking bunnies, a star over his boarding house – life is getting strange.
Writer Lyne has composed a whimsical, jocose work heavy in perceptive understanding about the human animal. A Handicap for the Devil? is an animated exploit filled with an extravagance of energy that strings together smoothly and grasps the fascination of the reader from the opening lines. Professional playwright Lyne’s inaugural novel, draws on his many years of stage experience to produce a premium and exceedingly engaging work.
Lyne’s plentiful list of intriguing characters, including even Jonathan’s talking bunnies are vivid and creditable. The band of often obsessed disciples, are as richly drawn as the at times preoccupied, psychedelic hippie god, both Jones’ P. Senior and Junior, the toughs, the dwarf and the balance of the often motley but always entertaining coterie gracing A Handicap for the Devil?
On the pages of A Handicap for the Devil? writer Lyne presents his tenets with respect to many of today’s social ills including the growing disparity between haves and have-nots, inhumanity, war, and famine. His notions are sure to agree with those held by with many readers.
Not for everyone: some graphic language included, and for the super religious some notions presented are sure to cause consternation.
A good tongue in cheek type work for reading on a rainy afternoon. Happy to recommend for those who enjoy the genre.
A Handicap for the Devil? , by Allen Lyne
Books Unbound E-Publishing Co.