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Call Me Joe

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Publish)

The world is on the brink of disaster. The environment, society and mankind itself are facing extreme challenges in a world that is both more connected, and yet more divided than ever before. Fear and confusion seep into all parts of everyday life... now, more than ever, the world needs one voice, one guide... One day the Earth is plunged into darkness and when light appears again so does a man – call him Joe – claiming to be the son of God. Can Joe bring the world's most creative thinkers and leaders together to tackle the ills of mankind? Can he convince us all to follow him before it’s too late? In this compelling and prescient novel, Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts highlight the key concerns of our time and imagines a future where we, at last, all work together to ensure the future of our world and all the life that calls it home.
In this stirring novel, debut author van Es, aided by ghostwriter Crofts, imagines the world’s reaction when the son of God returns to Earth. After a 12-minute period of global darkness, New Zealand teacher Sophie sees a man outside of her classroom—a man with dark skin and hair who’s wearing only a white robe and has kind, “astonishing” eyes—and believes he’s lost. Surprising herself, she offers to let him stay at her apartment. Though Sophie is wary of believing the man her students call Joe is the son of God, her skepticism wavers when she witnesses his miracles. Joe attracts the attention of political leaders who are threatened by his power and religious leaders wondering whether he really is the messiah. When Joe unveils 12 new guidelines for global peace and environmental preservation, including “Be honest” and “Try to forgive and say sorry,” he becomes the target of a hired assassin, but he remains intent on fulfilling his earthly mission before leaving once again.

The responses of world leaders to Joe’s appearance are unsurprisingly similar to the narrative of the Gospels, but they still feel realistic, and the authors update many other biblical concepts for the modern era. Joe’s human nature is shown through his behavior and the revisions of commandments with a more modern appeal. His view of sex, exemplified by his eventual sexual relationship with Sophie, focuses on personal decisions rather than procreation. While this adaptation makes Joe a more realistic 21st-century messiah, those who have a literal view of the Bible may find it flawed.

This creative narrative combines spiritual elements with the critical global problems of economic inequality and climate change. Van Es and Crofts intend this novel as a gateway to the Joe Project, which encourages readers to undertake their own efforts to “save humanity” and prevent ecological collapse. Those who appreciate the hopeful message of this immersive, magnetic story will be eager to see where the Joe Project goes next.

Takeaway: This gentle, optimistic story of Christ’s second coming will resonate with readers looking for a message of hope and empowerment.

Great for fans of John Niven’s The Second Coming, Richard Bach’s Illusions.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A