The Angels of Mineral Wells
Xlibris Corporation (2010)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (7/11)
Frank Tucker, a middle-aged widower, expected Thursday, the twenty-third, to be a day like any other. He would go to work, fight the traffic on the way there, talk to Shirley Shunk, his secretary, eat his favorite Taco Tom’s burritos, drive back home and feel lonely… yes, a day like any other. Instead he found himself on a commuter train to a place called Mineral Wells, where he met two enchanting and very pretty young ladies, Gabriella and Larissa. If that was not weird enough, he soon discovered that the two ladies were actually angels, one his personal guardian angel and one a “gathering” angel. As for Mineral Wells, well, that was just some kind of a stop on the way to Heaven. And since Frank left his earthly body behind quite a bit ahead of the planned schedule, Gabriella and Larissa were trying to facilitate his trip to Heaven and explain to him how Heaven was not quite what he was expecting.
“The Angels of Mineral Wells” by Jeff Moberly is a book that left me quite confused. On one hand, I found the story charming in its almost childlike, wide-eyed enthusiasm; on the other, there were quite a few issues that made it difficult to read and to enjoy properly. Those ranged from the usual bane of most self-published books, namely lack of editing and proofreading, to several peculiar choices for the finished format of a published book. Let me clarify this somewhat. The writing style was very rudimentary and inconsistent. There were several rather unnecessary changes from the third to first person narrative and back, a great inconsistency in the use of tenses, awkward descriptions and stilted dialogue. What further greatly confused me was the “voice” of the narrative, which seemed to be jumping from a fantasy to Bible study to a love story to science fiction and something akin to a satire towards the end. When I say satire, I am referring to the part where God the Father all of a sudden started to speak like somebody who is very unsuccessfully trying to be hip, among other instances saying to the Holy Spirit: “I can dig this blues stuff. How about you, you groovy chick?” I have also never seen an Index in a novel before, and failed to see its relevance for this particular book.
Having said that, I did appreciate the author’s imagination and a very unique image of heaven he created in “The Angels of Mineral Wells”. As he stated himself, the book could be enjoyed by readers of all ages, since it does not include vulgar language or objectionable sexual content.