Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
The King Of Ice Cream
Robert Wayne McCoy
Five Star, 409 pages

The King Of Ice Cream
Robert Wayne McCoy
Robert Wayne McCoy other work includes the story "The Stuff of Life to Knit You" (1995) written with Thomas F. Monteleone. The King Of Ice Cream is his first novel.

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil


'Crucifix in hand, he went back into that log cabin, now as a Priest of Jesus Christ, and he walked down to the room with splattered blood on the cement floor and walls, where fourteen pairs of eyes were displayed in a glass case.'
Scrolling down the monthly list of new books the title of this novel jumped out with the promise of something quirky and unusual. A little investigation produced the publisher's description of a debut novel, the premise of which included rogue forces seeking to unleash the leader of a second angelic fall. This sounded too good to miss, and so with hope in my heart I requested the book. Just occasionally, a debut novel turns out to be a staggeringly fine distillation of raw talent, but more usually, is something which shows the promise of what may come as the author matures. The King Of Ice Cream is closer to the latter, and often reads like a good book trying to get out. There are some highly entertaining ideas here, such as the Codices of Smoke, the object of one character's search. It is the last book of the damned, a dangerous, supernatural tome, which is on the Church of Rome's list of books to be burned without ever being opened. Then there are the Paladins; special individuals trained to combat fallen angels, and by so doing implement the Word of God.

The author also has an interesting line in supporting characters, including the Patchwork Man, who has strawberry ice cream for blood, Nathan Ellis, a taxi driver whose dead mother sits in the back, and Mac MacKindell, a grizzled Paladin on the trail of a fallen angel named Gustav, who like all angels lacks the power to dream. It's the kind of commercial, light horror which it's easy to imagine lighting up the eyes of any commissioning editor worth his salt.

A slightly fuzzy opening, concerned with the origins of the Codices of Smoke and Gustav, leads straight on to a block of chapters which introduce McCoy's main character, his friends, and the town of Mill Run. The main man is 16 year-old Luke Yeager, a newly trained Paladin, on his way back to college. We find that all is not well in the town, and the problem seems to be centered around Ice Cream Dreams, a store run by an unctuous salesman named Truman Goodspeed. 'I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.' The children's chant is repeated over and over. Throughout the first hundred pages, the author lingers on the minutia of characters lives, at the expense of the plot. People meander into various situations, and there's a feeling that he knew where he wanted to end up, but wasn't entirely sure about the route he would take. There's also a jarring tendency to flip back and forth in time, and from third to first person perspective. It took until about halfway through, before the good ideas swam back into focus; Gustav's search for the Codices of Smoke, the second Fall of what biblical legend describes as Mighty Men, the Sons of God who came unto the daughters of men, Truman Goodspeed's dark zeal in selling angelic ice cream, and the fallen angels skewed plan to end evil by taking Hell from Satan and giving it back to God. It's a heady mix, made irritating by contradictions and lack of clarity. Both of which could have -- and should have -- been banished by the editor. For example, the Paladins are supposedly highly trained, well educated people. But not one of them ever questions anything written in the Bible, a book which has passed through at least three languages, and been mercilessly edited to suit the agenda of various branches of Christianity. The kind of questions which occur to most educated Christians are never mentioned by any Paladin. Instead, we're presented with a bunch of people who are nice enough on the outside, but have a collective mind set which is no different to any other Fundamentalist fanatics. A little dissent among the ranks would have produced some welcome tension in what deteriorates into a good guys versus bad guys tale, all black and white with no shades of grey. Most bizarre of all, is the epilogue, which has the feel of a Clint Eastwood movie set, crossed with Stephen King's The Dark Tower. I was left with the impression that Robert Wayne McCoy has imagination and much promise, but his debut novel suffers from rather poor editing. I'd like to see his next work pared down by about 150 pages, polished until it gleamed, and tightened until the nuts squeaked.

Copyright © 2004 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide