Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Joe is a twenty-something slacker who suddenly discovers that his simple life isn’t as simple as it might appear. The continuation of the world rests in his hands. Called to action by the Prophet and aided by his drug dealer roommate, Danny, Joe must find the missing Prophet — a man the world knows as Troy McCluresque star Jack Connelly.
The author, Kirk St. Moritz, gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
The Day Jesus Rode Into Croydon is a fabulously complex story in which a neglected boy with emotional problems and a slacker called into the action of the modern day run side by side. The character list is incestuous and a bit of a shell game. Adding to the fun is a detective inspector with deep suspicions about the young roommates.
St. Moritz showed mastery in the way he eases the reader into the cast of characters. Joe, Danny and Katie (Joe’s best friend and secret love) are central characters. In great insight, St. Moritz builds a connection between the three before bringing in Mia, a dividing force that is perhaps somewhat too perfect. Perhaps this is a regional term of affection but I found the overuse of the endearment “honey” a bit off-putting. In a story that mostly reeked of perfection, personal dislike for one small element was hardly a deal-breaker. Polston and Walker, the cops, shared an interesting dynamic. Polston hates Walker who is incompetent, stupid and has the single claim to fame of a very brief career in a rougher station. In a Vonnegut-esque turn of brilliance, St. Moritz breaks into the narrative to include Walker in a version of an “Up”-type of documentary—the famous series that follows British children updating the public every seven years on their progress. There is a minor subplot involving murder victims in the basement of a bar, and as much as I would have liked more on that, The Day Jesus Rode Into Croydon is not a short story and the added weight may have thrown the story off-balance instead of adding that extra flavor of intrigue.
St. Moritz plays a shell game with the plot. The child from the past who is referred to as Morgan develops a deeply complex emotional life revolving around a need for revenge against schoolmates. He is clearly in a very bad situation. Young Morgan’s tale is vital to the progression of the story but his purpose is not immediately clear and therein lies the brilliance of this tale. When the full purpose hit, this reader was blown away by the clever and creative talent of this author. The Day Jesus Rode Into Croydon is listed as the author’s first novel but this is clearly an author who gave great care and consideration to his creation. This is not the novel that falls off of the end of a first-time author’s pen.
I finished this book in Florida, and on our return to Tennessee, I gave the novel to my dad to read in order to include his take in this review. He did not like the book. I watch a lot of British programs, so I was not at all thrown by the pattern of the work. My dad found the language a bit too foreign to follow. David hated Joe and Danny. They are slackers on the surface and smoke quite a lot of weed. Like Polston and Walker, he knew they were up to something from the start and wasn’t so sure he wanted to make the time to connect the characters with the story.
The bottom line is that if you’re thinking of buying this book for your 66-year-old father, you might take a pass. If you like really clever books that are deeply complex and wonderfully quirky, The Day Jesus Rode Into Croydon is definitely the work for you.
Kirk St. Moritz is a Guernsey-based author. The Day Jesus Rode Into Croydon is his first novel.
Read an excerpt and by The Day Jesus Rode Into Croydon by Kirk St. Moritz on