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In Bed with God and the Devil
by Charles Sabillon
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Reviewed by: Heather Froeschl

Just who is to blame for the world being the way it is? A lawyer might argue that humans were created and evolved in a way that demanded selfishness - the very essence of what makes the world the way it is, and so humans are not at fault but whoever created them is. An interesting argument that is closely examined in Charles Sabillon's novel, In Bed with God and the Devil.

Roy Johansen is a very successful, sought after, cut throat lawyer who also happens to be a womanizing, selfish, self centered male. When he dies suddenly, at a young age, he finds himself in hell. There he endures greater and greater punishments, tortures, and lessons. In some forms he is simply torn to pieces, devoured, burned, or sliced apart, but in others he is reborn into beings that suffer great loss. He experiences love of a child only to have her die of Leukemia, he is born to a Sudanese woman who perishes due to poor living conditions, war and famine, he begins to understand what it is to be used for sex, as a tool for greed, as a victim to the very cases he won as a lawyer. Roy is not through being an attorney though, and argues with his torturers at every instance. The Devil himself has creatures to carry out the punishments but Roy's challenges that the system isn't working gains the attention of Satan. Roy's demands that the punishments fit the crimes are enough to make the Devil cringe.

A parade of who's who in hell presents itself to Roy. In Sabillon's hell, readers might be as surprised as Roy to find Joan of Arc, Marilyn Monroe, and even his Sudanese "mother," along with Popes, Genghis Khan, and Torquemada. Each encounter is a brief history lesson, but more a lesson in the ways in which heaven and hell seem to function. Though I am not sure that Marie Antoinette would know the term "erectile-dysfunction" the stories were quite interesting as Roy learned many lessons he obviously missed class for back on Earth. After many painful, tortuous events, and after the Devil is fed up with him, Roy finds his way from hell and enters heaven to challenge God, a being he always argued did not exist when alive. Roy wants to know how 99% of humans end up in hell due to a selfishness that is in the genetic makeup and has been for 100,000 years. This dispute with God fills the remainder of the book and it is through this argument that Roy faces his biggest challenge ever as a lawyer and human being.

Sabillon offers a very different novel tale. I applaud his audacity to approach such topics! This book is sure to be controversial but what a delicious story it is! The vast array of characters is highly engaging and witnessing Roy grow through it all is amazing. The plot is well planned and one feels the monotony of hell. In Bed with God and the Devil is sure to raise some eyebrows but will have readers turning pages and thinking deep thoughts well into the night.

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