Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus
The Last Word Review
The opening line of the book is “Tonight I am having sex with Audrey Hepburn.” I have to admit that I have been struggling for a few weeks trying to write a review for Michael Grothaus’s debut novel Epiphany Jones that will do the book justice not because I did not enjoy reading this but really quite the opposite. It is one of the most incredible books I have read. The difficulty is what the story is about and the content. This book will take you to some of the darkest places in your head than any book I can remember. But it is a book I whole heartily recommend you read.
Some subjects are so difficult to write about let alone incorporate into a novel and I must give credit to Michael Grothaus for the writing a story and making sure that that it is done in a way that is both moving and sensitively written. The statistics on sex trafficking involving children is shocking then there is also the human trafficking and the more you read the worse the it gets so it is important for us all to become educated on what is really going on in our world and in Epiphany Jones the author does just this by telling a story and at the same time educating the reader.
Don’t get me wrong this is not all a dark and depressing read, there is humour in the story there has to be for it to work and that is why it really is so well written. What people do and get away with in our world leaves me cold especially some men. And through the pages of Epiphany Jones it goes to the heart of the very problem.
We get to meet Jerry Dresden, a man with so many problems and when you first meet Jerry you will wonder just what the hell this is on, he is really messed up. Addicted to porn and people that wander in and out of his life, the problem is none of these people actually exist, they are not real life people. These are psychotic hallucinations. Here is a young man with a sack full of problems that he has to carry around with him every day of his life. Some years before we learn that his little sister died and so carries that around with him as he blames himself her death.
Jerry is given a job at the local museum and later is accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh but Jerry is not quite sure if he did steal the painting and the killing of a colleague at the same time and the lies he tells when he is confronted just make his situation more precarious. Jerry decides it is best if he is not around and goes into hiding along with his hallucinations, then into his life comes Epiphany Jones who now frames him for theft and murder and with a message from god. Epiphany Jones is not an hallucination the problem is she is real and drags Jerry to Mexico there the sheer horror of human trafficking pours out of the pages as they both now seek answers to their very past. It is Jerry who is narrating and Epiphany Jones through him.
My honest opinion is that this is not an easy read and the graphic detail contained within the story will shock some people but this should not put you off reading what is without doubt a blockbuster of a novel. It is not a comfortable read but one that can only be written and told from someone who has spent time as a journalist covering the sickening sex trafficking trade in the US.
Going back to my opening line “Tonight I am having sex with Audrey Hepburn” this is a brave opening line in any book I have ever read for some it will simply shock for others they will see through the opening line you must as your eyes and mind start a journey that at the end you will only be pleased you did. It may leave you reeling like it did with me but you will have just read one of the most extraordinary works of fiction you will have ever read. Some will weep for Jerry as a character some will weep for the blind eye that the authorities take on the human trafficking and sex trade that takes place. We all should.
My thanks to Karen from Orenda Books for the review copy.
Epiphany Jones written by Michael Grothaus and published by Orenda Books is available in paperback now through Waterstones and all good bookshops.