Set in New York's undergound world, Second Coming follows the tribulations of Jesus Hollywood, Cowbow Rodeo, Carolina Skye and Lola Plum. The bigger than life characters tackle fundamental problems that have the power to change their life and who they are, forever.
Shannon Noelle Long's first full-lenght is a fast paced-staccato of events that the reader can't help see as a movie in their heads. The stories in themselves are mundane, but their treatement by the author is far from ordinary. Through the unsual setting and the delighfully cliché characters, she bring the tale to life in full technicolor.
Long has crafted perfect names for her characters, each plainly defining the archetypes they represent. From the start, the reader knows who he's dealing with and this allows the author to skip lenghty descriptions. She always uses their full names and, although it could be annoying in another context, in Second Coming, it feels right, even necessary. It reinforces the idea that these people are the epitomes of the clichés they are meant to embody.
Then, as soon as the reader feels comfortable, Long works to completely destroy the clichés by throwing her characters in situations at the antipodes of what you would expect them to deal with. The player Jesus Hollywood discovers his homosexuality, Cowboy Rodeo, the epitome of masculinity acts shy, Carolina Skye the genious photographer who could get anyone she wants, shows insecurity and Lola Plum, escort extraordinaire, debunks the myth of the junkie prostitute and reveals a woman of great lucidity.
Of all the protagonists, Lola Plum is the one whose developement is the most subtle. The story ends with an opening that leaves us with the feeling that she'll be alright. She was my favourite character. Her glamour, her complete honesty about her reality and the illusion that what you see is what you get hide a heavy past. She's the most scarred of them all and her character was the most developped.
Althought we follow all the characters throughout the book, Second Coming is divided in three parts, the first one talking mainly of Jesus Hollywood and Lazarus, the second being about Cowboy Rodeo and Carolina Skye and the last delving into Lola Plum's secrets.
Second coming is a thoroughly enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more of Shannon Noelle Long.
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