Gomez Porter is just a typical guy, but when he becomes a participant in an experimental drug trial things take a turn for the bizarre. First of all, there's the aspiring novelist next door, who demands that Gomez read his manuscript -- or he'll drill tiny holes in his floor and boil salamanders on the balcony in the middle of the night. Then there's the strange man in the sombrero who has an unhealthy interest in the old tax forms of his struggling antiques store, and his agoraphobic assistant who will only agree to sweep the already pristine floor. As if that isn't bad enough, when one of the trial participants turns up dead, Gomez begins to suspect a conspiracy. Can he solve the mystery before he winds up dead himself -- or is it all just part of his drug-induced hallucinations?
No Hope for Gomez is a truly one-of-a-kind novel. The story moves along at a brisk pace, with the blog entry format lending itself nicely to short and snappy sentences. Graham Parke's narrative voice is dryly witty, and perfectly suited to the tongue-in-cheek narrative. The novel bizarrely blends absurd scenarios with intriguing philosophical questions, sucking readers into Gomez's unusual mind until the illogical seems plausible. Parke cleverly constructs his story so that readers are drawn deeper into the conspiracy, until even they are uncertain where reality ends and madness begins.
Despite the seemingly random stream-of-consciousness in Gomez's mind, he makes some resonant points that will pique readers' curiosity and make them think about the world in imaginative new ways. There is also a surprising mystery element -- about the true nature of the drug trials and the identity of his girlfriend's stalker -- that will keep readers in suspense until the final page. It's impossible to know what's coming next in this topsy-turvy world. No Hope for Gomez is populated by quirky characters and laugh-out-loud scenarios that will keep readers entertained from beginning to end.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy from the author for an honest review. This did not affect my review in any way.