No Hope for Gomez defies description, sort of like a new food that you think you might like and just are not sure. Sort of like the literary equivalent of tamarind candy for me. Some people will love it and parts of it are exquisite but I am left pulling a face and trying to figure out what is going on.
It’s the age-old tale:
Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.
We’ve seen it all before, many times, but this time it’s different. If only slightly.
When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. What Gomez isn’t ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, his neighbor boiling salamanders on his balcony at midnight, the super sexy lab assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science. But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced illusions, he decides it’s time to go underground and work out a devious plan.
Part murder mystery and part the ravings of a delusional sociopath No Hope for Gomez tells us the story of Gomez Parker, who just narrowly escaped the moniker Albatross. He is creating blog entries as part of his participation in a clinical trial. Gomez’s perspective on the world is not unlike what I imagine a bad acid trip would be like or at least any drug that gives you paranoid delusions. He is an antiques dealer by an accident of circumstance. However, he knows nothing about them and doesn’t care to learn, understandably his shop is barely surviving. Opting to participate in a drug trial for what we are never told, is Gomez’s solution to his financial difficulties.
Gomez is but the center of a cast of oddball characters from his obsessive compulsive assistant Hicks, who seemed only able to sweep the store, any other duties caused him to develop a host of symptoms ranging from hives to bleeding gums, to the object of his affection Dr. Hargrove the researcher who monitors Gomez.
Every once in a while you come across a novel that reminds you why you think you enjoy reading in the first place. A novel so fresh and new that it reacquaints you with feelings of childhood wonder. The novel my neighbor Warren wrote was, quite possibly, the very first example I’d come across of the exact opposite of this.
No Hope for Gomez was vastly amusing even if the whole did leave me cocking my head to the side and wondering what happened.
AUTHOR: Graham Parke
RATING: 3 1/2 Stars
GENRE: Literary Fiction