Willie Lee, once the victim of a gunshot to the head, now returns to earth as an angel working as a detective in the Paradise Police Department’s Lost Souls Division. As a detective for the Lost Souls Division, Willie is able to re-inhabit his human body and explore the earth to save lost souls. When Harry Shore sends up a prayer asking for helping saving the soul of his daughter, Fernanda, Willie is dispatched on a new mission – locate Fernanda and save her lost soul.
Initially, Planet Willie sounded unique and offered an original storyline. In the end, it proved to be just a little bit too different and too unique for my preferences. Planet Willie is written from a first-person POV and Willie lacks any real censor when it comes to, well, everything. There is no discretion which I found unusual for a character that is supposed to be depicting a soul-saving angel. At times the text was snarky and sarcastic, at other times it was slightly offensive and at others it was amusing.
The plot started out a bit slow. There is a lot of internal dialogue and build up to the action which left me feeling disinterested in the development of the story. It was able to recapture my attention after a few chapters but by that time I felt mostly disconnected. The plot alternated between a slow and tedious pace and attention-grabbing action. When I was in to the story I didn’t want to put it down but when it started to slow down again I could go for days before picking it back up. I never felt fully committed to the book.
The cast of characters were just as nonsensical as the rest of the book. Willie’s adventures back on earth searching for Fernanda led him to encounter a wild group of Albanians, a Mexican businessman, a mobster in a wheelchair and one, Billy Sidell. The crazy characters that Shoemake created to fill the world of Planet Willie were elaborate and exotic but I couldn’t enjoy them to the degree I wanted to because I wasn’t able to connect with the story itself.
There is no one fatal flaw in Planet Willie. To the right audience it is a hilarious off-beat detective novel with a side of spirituality and a prevailing politically-incorrect attitude, unfortunately I am not the right audience. If you’re not easily offended, are looking for something a bit absurd and a little outlandish and you love a good mystery then I would recommend you check out Planet Willie. A quick Google search of the book or a glance at its GoodReads page will confirm that there is an audience for this book and that many readers did enjoy it. It’s worth a chance.
Review by Ashley LaMarClosed the Cover