Summer, 1995 at a church revival service in North Devon, England. An angry and confused young man attends the service with only one question on his mind: Is God real?
The man walks up to the stage at the preacher’s request. The preacher sees it as his chance to convert the man, to turn him into a believer. The young man sees it as his last chance to find the answers he seeks. In what he hopes will force God to speak to him or a member of the congregation, he straps a bomb to his chest and lets the churchgoers know that if God doesn’t speak, he will kill everyone in the building.
The plot of GodBomb! is ridiculously simple, but works so well thanks to the intensity and emotion that turns it into so much more. I won’t go into a full review since Paul M. Feeney already gave his thoughts on Kit Power’s debut novel, but suffice to say I loved it and it is one of my top three reads of 2015. I am, after all, here to talk about the audiobook, and if you want to read a review far better than any I could write, check out Paul’s review here.
Until recently, I didn’t “get” audiobooks. Sure, they were fine for the visually impaired or those seeking entertainment on a long trip, but for me, why listen when I could read? That changed the day I heard Chris Barnes for the first time. He was reading The Exiled by William Meikle. I was blown away, and after finishing that book, I went in search of the rest of his titles. Books like High Moor, The Cold Beneath and The Final Winter became my favourites thanks to the brilliant performances Barnes brought to each book. Since then, I’ve tried a lot of different narrators and although I enjoy their performances, none have come close to the perfection Barnes demonstrates in everything he reads. I really couldn’t be more thrilled that my favourite audiobook narrator, took the helm of GodBomb! and gave it the love and attention it deserves.
In the audio version of GodBomb!, one could easily come to the conclusion that Barnes reads in the voice of God, which for me at least, is an interesting spin on the book. Fans of the Scottish narrator will quickly find that this is quite unlike his other narrations. He doesn’t use as many voices as I’m used to, but thanks to his ability to tell any story, he doesn’t need to. His pacing is spot on and he knows exactly when to increase and decrease the volume of his voice, effectively capturing the emotion of the scene and its characters. You feel the terror the congregation feels as well as experiencing the heartbreaking emotions of the madman. It’s all there and Barnes pulls it off seamlessly.
Everyone, at one time or another, asks themselves if God really exists. I don’t care if you’re a devout believer or a devout atheist, the thought has crossed your mind at least once in your life. Kit Power, with the help of Chris Barnes brings this question to the forefront of your mind in an emotional, edgy story that will stay with you long after you’ve heard the last word.
Trust me, if you only listen to one audiobook this year, make it GodBomb! You can thank me later.