Posted in Book Reviews

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez – A Review

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez

ABOUT THE BOOK:

We Are All Just Imperfect Believers

New release from songwriter Buck Storm described as literary Americana fiction filled with humor and heart

Grand Rapids, MI — If world events are getting you down and you’re ready for an escape, take a trip to Paradise, Arizona, via Buck Storm’s new literary fiction release, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez (Kregel Publications/July 21, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446375/$15.99). Storm admits his new book isn’t your typical faith-based novel. In fact, in his own words, he describes it as a bit funky, sometimes over the top, and rarely going where you’re expecting it to go.

When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can’t go on—so he doesn’t. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel’s ashes. It’s a form of slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis’s ghost, and a strange kid named Bones. Gomez Gomez has always been a little (or a lot) out there, but the endless flow of alcohol sure doesn’t help.

“Gomez Gomez’s sad state of affairs is the result of grief, pure and simple. At least as pure and simple as grief can be, I guess,” Storm explains. “He’s heartbroken at the loss of Angel. For years he was a black sheep, traveling the rodeo circuit and making trouble. When he met Angel everything changed. Somehow—a miracle in his mind—she saw something good and fine in him. She picked him out of a group of men he felt inferior to. She loved him unconditionally. She showed him what love is, unconditionally. She also introduced him to God. Not in an overhanded way, but by living love out every minute of every day. When she dies, Gomez Gomez simply can no longer get his arms around reality. For him, an Angel-less world is not a world worth existing in.”

The world outside his makeshift shack doesn’t really concern Gomez Gomez until Sonny Harmon, who owns the car dealership next door to the vacant lot, wants the land to expand. Sonny wants Gomez Gomez gone yesterday, and in Paradise, Sonny’s money speaks. Because Angel was special to everyone, when Gomez Gomez won’t leave, the town squares up and takes sides.

Coming to Gomez Gomez’s aid is his once-close friend Father Jake Morales, who always seems to play it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. When Sonny’s shady business dealings threaten both Gomez Gomez and the town, Father Jake, can’t just stand by and watch. But what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?

“In books, the very best characters are the ones who are the most human. As Gomez Gomez and Jake discuss, ‘We’re all just imperfect believers,’” Storm muses. “In this novel, Father Jake has certainly run to the priesthood more as a place to hide than as a true calling. We find that out almost immediately. Not that he doesn’t do his best to honor the commitment, but life presses no matter how high a person builds their spiritual wall.”

Storm didn’t set out with a teaching theme or spiritual message in mind when he started writing; instead he let the story take over. However, that doesn’t mean readers won’t find God throughout the story. “As authors, artists, songwriters, etc., we all have soul- themes that will insist on finding their way into our work. They won’t be quiet. I love God. I love Jesus. I love His love. So, by nature (I hope) these things will find their way into anything and everything I produce, whether it be prose or song or even how I love my family and neighbors. If I’m honest in my work and let things flow out of my personal relationship with God, then His relentless pursuit will resonate in a reader’s heart in an authentic way.”

The first release in the Ballads of Paradise series, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.

The next installment of the series, The Sound the Sun Makes, releases in 2021 and tells the story of Early Pines, the big, loud, funny, long-haired, plainclothes police detective. Readers are sure to be in for another wild ride.
Advance Praise

“The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez solidifies Buck Storm’s place among the unique literary voices of our day. Infused with humor, imagination, and poetic beauty, Buck’s writing is an absolute delight. I’ve read all his books, and his characters have taken up permanent residence in my memory. They come back to me at unexpected moments and invariably leave me smiling. Anyone who travels into the wild, wacky, wonderful world of Gomez Gomez is in for an unforgettable adventure.”

~ Ann Tatlock, novelist, blogger, and children’s book author

“I’ve never read a phrase from Buck Storm that wasn’t time well spent―and worth reading again. A topflight storyteller, Storm pits his protagonist―an eccentric, homeless widower―against a powerful and wealthy small-town businessman. The engaging story has readers quickly joining the cast of funky supporting characters on the streets of Paradise, Arizona, grooving on creative plot twists and wondering if this hero-and-villain drama can ever be resolved.”
~ Randall Murphree, editor of AFA Journal

“From a small Southwest town to the island of Corfu, Storm’s quirky characters take us to a place where love, compassion, and redemption may seem out of reach but are always within our grasp. From a cameo from Elvis to a story within a story, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez becomes more than a metaphor. Is Paradise, Arizona, real? We can only hope.”
~ Bill Higgs, author of Eden Hill

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I have to admit that as I began reading this book, I initially had a hard time staying interested.  While the idea of the story captured my attention, the storyline itself just moved at a pace initially that could not keep me captivated.

I think my favorite character is Father Jake because he struggles with being a priest and being in love with Honey.  I can also empathize with Gomez Gomez over the death of his wife.  However, I have to say at some places I had to force myself to keep reading because I wanted to see how the story would end.

So check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author:

Buck Storm

Buck Storm is a critically acclaimed author and musician whose stories have found friends around the world. His nonfiction work includes Finding Jesus in Israel and Through the Holy Land on the Road Less Traveled. Storm’s novels include The List, The Light, Truck Stop Jesus, and The Miracle Man. The latest, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, launches his new series, Ballads of Paradise.

Storm and his wife, Michelle, make their home in North Idaho and have two married children.

Learn more about Buck Storm, as well as his writing and music, at buckstorm.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@buckstormauthor), Twitter (@buckstormauthor), and Instagram (@buckstorm).

Suggested Interview Questions

  • From the title alone, we can tell that The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is going to be a unique tale. How would you describe your new release?
  • Without giving too much away, tell us a little bit about the story itself. Who is Gomez Gomez?
  • Readers find Gomez Gomez at the beginning of the story in a pretty sad condition. He’s drunk, soon to be evicted from a

    pitiful shack, and talking to snakes. Can you share more about the driving force behind his alcoholism?

  • As much of a lead player in the story as Gomez Gomez himself is Father Jake Morales. He doesn’t quite seem like your

    typical priest. Is he?

  • Did Father Jake join the priesthood for the wrong reasons? Was he struggling with grief in a different way?
  • At the risk of sharing a bit of a spoiler here, why did you put a priest in the middle of a love triangle?
  • The phrase “just an imperfect believer” keeps popping up. Is anyone not an imperfect believer?
  • Friendships play a big role amongst the somewhat large cast of characters in the book. What are some of the lessons in

    friendship readers will see through the story?

  • There is literally a story within a story in your book. Why did you have Father Enzo share outtakes from his own attempt at a

    novel within the main story?

  • Is Angel, or at least her memory, somehow a symbol pointing to a spiritual takeaway for readers?
  • What message do you hope readers will find in The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez?
  • Can you give a tease of what readers can expect from the rest of the series?

To request a review copy of The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomes, to schedule an interview with Buck Storm, or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, ajenningspr@gmail.com.

Author:

I am a wife and homeschooling mother of 4. I am a Christian who firmly believes that Jesus Christ died for my sins. We are a military family who just relocated from Pennsylvania to Texas. I enjoy Bible journaling, reading, crocheting, scrapbooking and quilting. I am beginning to attempt art journaling.

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