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Spotlight on: Temple of Cod by Adrienne Jones

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Temple of Cod by Adrienne Jones Adrienne Jones, Temple of Cod

Some people have a rougher time ending a relationship than others. When his girlfriend, Olivia, walks out on him, Elliot Newton runs off to his grandfather's cottage, gets drunk, and paints up a frenzy, filling up canvas after canvas with creatures the like of which he has never seen. Certainly nothing like the typical lighthouse paintings he is famous for (though Olivia says they're nothing more than penises).

Soon after, he finds that these painted creatures, these Friends of Hieronymous Bosch, have moved in to the neighborhood and are taunting him mercilessly. Elliot would like to leave, but his new neighbors -- a bulky man with tentacles for legs, a pink horse-like creature named Jed, and three harmonious fish-headed ladies -- aren't about to let him go just yet. They have plans for him....

Temple of Cod is a wonderful example of Adrienne Jones's style of writing, what I like to call "An Adrienne Jones Joint" (after Spike Lee's chosen directorial credit). No one else writes like she does. Behind the seemingly innocuous facade as seen in her author photographs lies a woman without fear. As long as it fits in with her narrative, she includes it, whether it seems to make sense at the time or not. It will, eventually. Similar to authors F. Paul Wilson and Tom Piccirilli (two other favorites of mine), you never know exactly what awaits you between the covers of an Adrienne Jones book, but you know it's going to be an experience only she could bring you.

She'll sneak up on you, too. I wasn't too sure that Temple of Cod was really going to grab me. In fact, it took me a while to finish the first few pages, to get used to her style. But by the time I got to the serenade (and you'll definitely know what I'm taking about when you read it), I knew this was the book for me. I was absolutely hooked. Jones combines surreality and psychology in a way I haven't seen done this well since Spellbound. That she makes sure to add plenty of action and suspense is just a bonus, especially when this chapbook novella is available for so cheap a price -- cheaper if you read e-books.

Temple of Cod is the initial offering in the new print line of chapbooks to be released by the previously all-electronic Creative Guy Publishing, and it's a bang-up start. The page edges are difficult to manipulate, but that can be fixed with a simple trim. Otherwise, this speaks well for the future, which will also include audiobooks. I can't wait. I was truly stunned by this symbolic story of memory and friendship and had to read it over again immediately just to make sure I got everything straight. Jones's skill with pacing and character will take her a long way, but it's her sensitivity of emotion that will make her work last.

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