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Book of Nathan by Curt Weeden and Richard Marek
Cover Artist: Design: George Foster
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Oceanview Publishing Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781933515915
Date: 08 August 2010 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Richard "Bullet" Bullock is the dedicated, conscientious director of the Gateway Men's Shelter in New Brunswick, New Jersey. One of his clients, a mentally retarded Romanian giant, Zeus, is falsely imprisoned in Orlando for murdering the most powerful evangelist in the world, Benjamin Kurios. Bullet and his entourage of oddballs from the Gateway travel to Orlando to question Zeus. Bullet becomes ensnared in a war between extremist groups consisting of pro-life and pro-choice advocates. Both groups believe Zeus has revealed to Bullet the secret location of a CD which contains a translated copy of the recently discovered Book of Nathan--a missing book of the Bible which could support or destroy the pro-life movement. Soon Bullet and his friends find themselves constantly stalked and attacked by hired assassins.

Book of Nathan is an extremely intriguing, complex whodunit that is set against a background of the very controversial issue of abortion. A pro-life advocate myself, I thought I would detest this novel. Instead I loved it. Yes, I was offended, feeling that the overall tone of the novel was pro-choice and anti-Christian. However, I didn't read anything that swayed my beliefs. On the contrary, my beliefs were strengthened. Any novel that can make me stand back and re-evaluate my belief system or can rile my passions is a good novel. With its riveting scenes of violence and cast of hilarious characters, Book of Nathan is pure entertainment. I grew to like Bullet and I beg the authors, Curt Weeden and Richard Marek, that he return in a sequel involving more mysteries at the Gateway Men's Shelter.

Yes, Richard "Bullet" Bullock is a man I strongly admire. His young wife, an advocate for the homeless, died with cancer. Bullet quit his successful career as a Manhattan advertising executive at Harris & Gilbarton and continued carrying her torch. He truly cares about the men at Gateway as evidenced by him risking his life to free Miklos Petris Zeusenordorf (a.k.a. Zeus) whom no one seems to care about except Bullet. He's one of the few people who even takes the time to correctly pronounce his name. Bullet is an agnostic. My assumption is that he became one after losing his wife to cancer. Many people lose their faith after tragedy strikes. Have I ever questioned mine? Absolutely. It wouldn't be faith if we never questioned it. Jesus warned us that our lives on a sinful Earth would have heartache, but He also promised to always be there for us. In a way, Bullet is a lot like Jesus. He tries to always be there for his residents.

Book of Nathan has a villain who is extremely evil and insane. He/she will sacrifice anything, and anyone, in order to obtain the encrypted translation of the Book of Nathan that is on a CD. This person doesn't even know exactly what is on the disk. The information may or may not support their stance on abortion. The Book of Nathan supposedly contains information concerning the concept of ensoulment. Basically, an embryo is a physical shell awaiting a soul. The process of ensoulment may begin at conception or it may not occur until three months after conception. Ensoulment is a new concept for me. There are also those who believe that personhood begins at conception, regardless of ensoulment. Therefore, there are many pro-lifers, such as I, who wouldn't be persuaded by ensoulment. Basically, Benjamin Kurios was murdered for naught. However, Kurios was the type of minister who preached according to his own will rather than the will of the Lord. In other words, he preached sermons that would make his contributors happy rather than angry.

The gorgeous, voluptuous Twyla Tharp provided a tremendous amount of comic relief. You may want to read Book of Nathan for her sexual antics alone. Bullet's trip to Orlando is being funded by a powerful mobster, porn king Manny Maglio. Bullet must escort Manny's estranged niece, Twyla, a hooker and a stripper, to Orlando for an interview with Universal Studios. Practically everything she said made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately, most of what she said I can't repeat. The funniest dialogue took place between her and a prisoner of the Orange County Jail, Beuford Krap, who was arrested for bestiality. Zeus's Jewish lawyer, Yigal Rosenblatt, develops a crush on her. Eventually, the two become inseparable, providing the novel's sole romantic relationship.

Book of Nathan is highly recommended for fans of humorous crime noir and old-fashioned whodunit mysteries. Don't let the abortion issue deter you from reading it. There are nutty characters on both sides of the issue. The shocking twists at the end make this novel a must read. Also, you will be cheering for the likable Bullet.

One of the co-authors, Curt Weeden, is a former vice president for Johnson & Johnson. In the novel, a giant polish sausage, a kielbasa, becomes stuck inside the entrance to the underground garage of the Johnson & Johnson headquarters. (You have to read it to believe it.) Weeden has also had much experience working with homeless shelters. The other co-author, Richard Marek, has edited hundreds of novels, working closely with numerous best-selling authors, including Thomas Harris, Robert Ludlum, and James Baldwin. Book of Nathan is their first collaboration and I hope it won’t be their last. As I said earlier, I would love to read more mysteries involving Bullet and his hilarious cohorts at the Gateway Men's Shelter.

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