by Robert Kroese
When you write a humorous story about scheming angels and the Apocalypse, you're just asking to be compared to "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. And going against the combined talents of two great humorists like that, it's not going to go very well for you. Still, "Mercury Falls" at least manages to be a fun read.
When the story begins, Christine is a reporter for The Banner, a Christian magazine, despite that she's not much of a Christian. She lucked into the job after writing a news story about a doomsday cult and since then she's had to traipse around the country, profiling other doomsday cults who are inevitably wrong about the date of the world ending.
But after getting some new linoleum installed in her breakfast nook--which is a crucial plot point--she takes an assignment to Israel, where tensions are heating up in the middle east near a little place known as Armageddon. After nearly being killed in a rocket attack, Christine finds a strange attache case and eventually finds her way to another cult leader who calls himself Mercury.
Mercury is an angel, but he's closer to the Joker than any of the angels you might remember from the Bible. Really all Mercury wants is to sit on the sidelines and wait for the world to end, but when Christine shows up, he gets dragged into all the plotting and scheming between Heaven and Hell.
The rest of the story follows Christine and Mercury as they try to stop the Apocalypse, or at least make it less destructive. There are the annoying "Dogma"-like moments of characters having to explain Biblical things, though not to the extent that pretty much destroyed that Kevin Smith movie. Also unlike that movie it doesn't focus solely on Catholic dogma, so that a reader from any Western faith (or lack thereof) can follow along. Since there's really not much talk about Jesus or the Messiah, Jews or Muslims as well as Christians should be able to read it. Whether you're offended or not depends on how seriously you take your beliefs.
This is clearly not a book for the true believers, as it makes light of both Heaven and Hell. The writing is nothing special, but the author does manage to make it entertaining enough that it doesn't drag along. You probably aren't going to get any spiritual enlightenment from reading it, but it's not a bad time either.
Though of course if you haven't read it, "Good Omens" is a much better use of your money.
That is all.