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Jake's Wake

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Pastor Jake promised his followers everlasting life. . . he just didn't say what kind. So when the small-town televangelist and con man climbs out of his coffin at his own wake, it becomes Judgement Day for everyone gathered to mourn - or celebrate - his death. Jake is back, in the rotting flesh, filled with anger and vengeance. And accompanied by demons even more fightening than himself. What follows is a long night of endless terror, a blood-drenched rampage by the man not even death could stop.

317 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published December 30, 2008

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About the author

John Skipp

97 books248 followers
John Skipp is a splatterpunk horror and fantasy author and anthology editor, as well as a songwriter, screenwriter, film director, and film producer. He collaborated with Craig Spector on multiple novels, and has also collaborated with Marc Levinthal and Cody Goodfellow.

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5 stars
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80 (27%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 41 reviews
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews302 followers
February 14, 2022
Pastor Jake, a small-town televangelist, is suppose to be dead. Someone forgot to tell him that when he climbed out of his coffin at his wake. He has returned to make the people who showed up to mourn (celebrate) him suffer. Jake's flesh is rotting, his decay fills the room, and he has brought things back with him that you never want to see. Jake has come to get his revenge and will not be denied. I know this book is suppose to be scary, but I found myself laughing at Jake towards the end. The part where Jake wants to broadcast to his fans had me laughing my face off. Decent read.

Profile Image for Chris.
373 reviews68 followers
August 14, 2012
For those uninitiated (and shame on you!), John Skipp, along with Craig Specter, wrote some of the most original, gut-wrenching and viscerally refreshing horror in the late 80's to mid 90's, arguably the reigning Kings of Splatterpunk Horror. Despite the fact that the duo parted ways a while ago, Skipp joined the now-defunct Leisure Horror stable of horror writers with THE LONG LAST CALL, and it seemed like old times. Now, with co-writer, Cody Goodfellow, it seems like those "old times" are here to stay (hopefully).

Meet Pastor Jake Connaway, rock-and-roll badass televangelist preacher, not a very nice guy AT ALL as the novel opens with an unforgettable scene, leaving Jake knifed to death whilst administering to one of his more buxom flocksters. Flash forward to a group of Jake's inner circle of friends, hangers-on, semi-mourning wife, and other assorted characters, including Jake's righthand man, major-domo, assistant/fixer, Gray, who happens to be one of the most sadistically hilarious villians in the book. All gathered at Jake's wife's childhood home/ranch/former hippie commune school...and boy oh boy aren't they in for a surprise. Jake's back...from the dead, as it were, while bizarre black superstorm clouds gather and ghostlike demons caper and gibber in dimly lit corners. And Jake's ready to party and show why his friends and lovers truly adore him!

Hilarious, horrific, with that trademark in-your-face style that makes Skipp a legend in the genre (and kudos for Goodfellow, who seemlessly plays his part) and a must-read for all horror fans. The novel does cleverly speak about deeper themes, consequences of one's unforgivable actions, and doesn't bash organized religion as it might seem. Hell, no one is safe in a Skipp (and Goodfellow) novel. And we prefer it that way.
Profile Image for Phil.
1,546 reviews89 followers
September 5, 2020
A truly wild and macabre ride by one of the founders of splatterpunk! Jake was a true amoral asshole-- a con man, pimp, rock musician, and finally, a cable televangelist for his Church of the Resurrection. Anything to make a quick buck and keep his willy wet could have been Jake's motto. Jake, however, in one philandering fling encountered an enraged boyfriend with a knife and that was it for Jake, or so everyone thought. Jake's widowed wife Esther was having something of wake for Jake, and in the process, met Emmy the young jeziod who worked in Jake's church (and gave him blow jobs on the sly) and Evangeline, a former lover of Jake who became one of his prostitutes. Jake's three E-girls as he called them, but they had never met before this.

Just as they were discussing the 'real' Jake, much to the chagrin of Emmy and confirming Esther's fears, a phone call informs Esther that Jake's body is missing from the funeral home and the people there were all butchered. Meanwhile, Jake's right hand man Gray, after hunting down and killing the people who killed Jake, returns to a house of Jake and surprisingly, finds Jake himself, looking a little worse for the wear, but somehow alive, at least sort of. Maybe the Church of Resurrection gig worked after all! Jake and Gray decide to visit Esther's house and they come looking to party...

Jake's Wake is a rip roaring hoot of a read, loaded with black humor and grizzly action scenes that bring back Skipp's splatterpunk heyday when he was writing with Spector. Highly recommended for extreme horror fans, but if that is not your bag, definitely steer clear. 4 gory stars!
Profile Image for Ravenskya .
234 reviews37 followers
January 3, 2009
So I started and finished my first book of 2009, and it looks like this is going to be a good year. Jake's Wake is a fun filled horror fest of zombie-riffic magnitude.

Short Synopsis - Jake is a Jerk... see how close the words are? Jake is scum of the most terrible sort, womanizing, abusing, just plain evil nasty guy. But he's got charisma... and he decides to throw his rock band plans to the wayside and use this charisma to run a church, being a psychotic television evangelist and massing quite a few fervent followers. Then Jake's penchant for womanizing gets the best of him and he ends up dead... but not for long! Those who were closest to him, and thrilled to be finally out of his evil clutches will have an evening to remember when Jake comes home from his own wake... even nastier than before.

This book is hard to put down, it's so out there and yet so engrossing all at the same time. There is plenty of sex and gore in this book to keep those who worship the red stuff happy. As I said... Jake was not a nice guy before he died. We follow three of the women in his life and their new men as they find themselves trapped in Jake's old house with his living and not quite breathing corpse. And Jake has plans for them.

At first the characters are so aloof and filled with hatred that I wasn't sure there was going to be anyone for us to root for, but as the evening plays on several of them begin to shine and give us hope. There are even one or two that the reader will become attached to. We don't get much background on anyone other than Jake, Gray, and the three women, but it's the ones that we don't get the background on that we end up caring the most for.

There are very strong religious themes in this book that might irritate those who hate reading anything along those lines. The book never approaches "preachy" but it's hard not to get into religion when the main baddie was a fake evangelist. There is a lot of subtext here on people who are searching for hope being easily lead, and charismatic leaders who preach the right words being able to control them. The book never degenerates into Christian bashing, nor does it wave the Christian recruiter flag, it is more a commentary of the Jim and Tammy Fay Bakers in the world. But never fear... this book really doesn't rise much beyond a fun filled horror novel, no real thought required.

I have to admit that the ending was unexpected, not all of it, but a chunk of it was out there... strangely if you had told me that the book would end like that, I probably would have said "No, that's a terrible ending!" but as I said, I didn't expect it... and it worked for me. On the whole this is a very strong book with a lot of enjoyable parts and a satisfying ending.
Profile Image for David Agranoff.
Author 22 books134 followers
March 27, 2009
Jake’s Wake by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow.
The novel is about a whack job TV preacher who returns from the dead at his own funeral and it is fast paced wild ride. Tons of cringe worthy moments of gross-outs and equal amounts of hilarious prose.

This book is a warning shot across the bow. It’s a warning that massive destruction and absolute terror is on the way. It’s not to say that Jake’s wake is not a powerful book, it’s fantastic horror read. I just feel Skipp and Goodfellow are warming up for a big show.

I admit I am coming from position of privilege, a few years back I sat next to Cody while Skipp read the opening chapters of a book (Freak) he was working on at the World Sci-Fi con. It was a very powerful reading, without a doubt the strongest piece I can think of related to Skipp. That is no small feat since The Bridge, the Clean-Up and the Long Last Call are all amazing works of dark fiction. I gotta say I knew Skipp was a smart man but he confirmed to me that he was a genius when he picked his partner for this project.

Cody for his part is the horror fiction world’s most underrated talent. An amazing word smith he can make you laugh out loud and disgust you more times per page than just about anyone. So imagine my delight when I hear that Cody has jumped in on Freak. That is the rumor I hear.

Lets also not forget that the two have rumored to have completed or started or a post nuclear novel which is one of my favorite genre of novels. Oh yeah I hope that rumor is true as well.

So what do we get first? Jake’s wake. Skipp has been developing this project as a low budget grindhouse style gore film for a while. He even shot a short film to sell his project, it includes the debut acting performance of one Cody Goodfellow in the role of the villain Grey.

This provides a funny moment when Grey is described in the book as looking like a young Lee Marvin. Look at Cody’s photo - he does.

Jake’s wake is a great gore fest horror movie set to print. There are few authors who have made a career of writing ultra misogynist gore fest horror novels that I usually am not a fan of. In the Long Last Call Skipp was able to bringing a deeper feeling to this type of story by exploring the deep fears and motivations of the women and men at the strip club where it took place.

In Jake’s Wake the novel is able to quietly explore religion and the hypocritical wing nuts it attracts. It would be a mistake to think of Jake’s wake as a blood path pure and simple. If you feel that a lot of the gore novels put by leisure are hollow exercises than Jake’s Wake is a great alternative. This is the kinda brains the gore novel has been lacking.

Check out Skipp and Goodfellow on Pod of Horror it’s a great interview.
Profile Image for Melissa Helwig.
65 reviews21 followers
February 6, 2010
John Skipp is one of the masters of splatterpunk, and anything written by him is usually gory fun. And Jake's Wake is no exception.

Jake's Wake is about Jake's wake. Jake is a television evangelist who doesn't practice what he preaches. He exploits people's beliefs to make money and to gain minor fame. He lives for sex, drugs and violence. When he dies, most people close to him count it as a blessing. But at his wake, there's an unexpected guest: Jake himself, resurrected from the dead, ready to wreak some more havoc. But was he resurrected by God or the Devil?

The action doesn't really start until about 50 pages in, but once it begins it doesn't stop. The body count is high and those bodies endure a lot of torture. Characters are brought into the book just so they can be brutally slaughtered. There's a lot of gore, but what else would you expect from John Skipp?

But there's more to the plot than just gore. Skipp's novels often tackle some sort of issue. The Bridge was about the effect of pollution on the environment. The Scream tackled censorship, Christianity and abortion. Jake's Wake is also about Christianity and what people believe in.

The characters are flawed, almost to the point where you dislike them. Jake's ladies, the three main characters, are weak, weaker, weakest. But it makes them more realistic. But thankfully they grow as the story goes on and become stronger.

I give Jake's Wake a 4/5. Even though I enjoyed it, the book started off too slow for me. But it's worth getting through the back story to get to the action. And the ending is definitely worth your time.

Read more of my reviews at http://littlemisszombie.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Michele.
Author 6 books21 followers
November 9, 2015
Clive Barker's pull quote from the back of the book states that Jake's Wake is "amongst the forerunners of modern horror." I would agree. The pairing of John Skipp, who is new to me, and Cody Goodfellow, who I have been reading, write a gruesome tale of Pastor Jake. At his wake are assembled an interesting group of individuals and as the evening unfolds, Jake not only climbs out of his coffin, but his black secrets unfolds, snaring each character into his web.

The strength of this book is definitely in the descriptions, particularly of Jake. The details of Jake's embalming were unnerving and kept me white-knuckling the book several times. The characters were flawed, interesting and not entirely likable. And the story was creepy and a new take on the concept of good/evil, the second coming, everlasting life, sex, and severely dysfunctional relationships. The pacing clips along, but the one weakness that kept this from making five stars: there were scenes in which matching up the action to the appropriate character got muddled and lost me. I found myself having to re-read a handful of paragraphs, trying to make sense of the action taking place. As a result, it did impair my enjoyment.

This book is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended. If you are up to the task, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a bumpy ride - have that barf bag ready! You may need it!
Profile Image for Axolotl.
103 reviews58 followers
October 16, 2014
Way too long. Good, if you want something that makes violence very boring--however, the same effect can be had with more style and substance from Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Best read if understood as a comic novel, in which department it doesn't entirely disappoint. Patches of okay writing---
What were the commentators who said that the last 17 pages tied up or redeemed this novel, as not essentially a waste of time, taking about?
Profile Image for Crystal.
698 reviews87 followers
July 23, 2019
Not Skipp's best work, but still a decent enough addition to the splatterpunk genre.
This novel delivers social commentary on issues of religion, misogyny, social development, media influence and how all these things shape humanity (some for better, most for worse). Despite these heavy handed issues at play, there is still gore aplenty and enough black humor to keep it from going too dark.
The biggest issue for me: There were too many characters. More and more kept getting introduced and it really bogged down the middle, making it hard to get through. That being said, it was an interesting take on religious influence and the zombie apocalypse.
Profile Image for Charles.
Author 37 books250 followers
April 18, 2020
Started off quickly but then sagged badly for about 70 pages. I was just about ready to give it up when it finally picked up. It kept me reading after that and the end was good. Extremely gory, which I expected. Overall, I enjoyed it, although as I've aged I've become somewhat less sanguine about brutality. Lots of brutality in this one, but I can't say I wasn't expecting it because I've read Skipp's work before.
Profile Image for Craig DiLouie.
Author 61 books719 followers
May 31, 2012
In JAKE’S WAKE by John Skipp, now officially one of my favorite authors, and Cody Goodfellow, Pastor Jake is a psychopath who also happens to be a televangelist with a strong following of devout Christians. When his excesses lead to his murder, a small group of people gather at his remote mansion to mourn and fight over exactly who Jake was: a man of God or a man with a gluttonous appetite for evil. Jake has one more surprise in store for them–he rises from the dead and returns home to deliver pain and death upon those who had been closest to him in life in a night of pure terror.

It’s classic Skipp–a small group of people terrorized by a seemingly indestructible monster with an insatiable appetite for human suffering. The premise goes beyond that, however, as Jake intends to use his resurrection as the chance to build a religion around himself, and Skipp and Goodfellow widen the story to include news of Jake’s return drawing a wide cast of heroes and weirdos to the mansion. The ending is surprisingly satisfying. Far more than just “our plucky hero/heroine makes it,” it packs a punch and, with the delivery of the last line, even a little poignancy.
Profile Image for DJMikeG.
433 reviews31 followers
March 25, 2009
I would have given this 3 and a half stars if you could do that on goodreads. This is an INSANE horror novel that manages to fit social satire and interesting commentaries on religion, abuse, humanity, the media and modern society comfortably next to intensely gory shocks. I was definitely very impressed. This one didn't sweep me off my feet quite as easily as Skipp's previous novel, "The Long Last Call", but it is also twice the length of that one, so the action isn't as condensed. Once this one takes, off, however, its easy to burn through a hundred pages without realizing it. The story concerns an evil televangelist who is murdered. He jumps out of his coffin at his wake and begins wreaking havoc. The book is very dark, but has a definite streak of jet black humor running through it. I am very, very impressed with John Skipp and plan on reading everything he has written. I also look forward to more collaborations with Goodfellow, as they refer to this as the "first of their books together" in the bio blurb on the inside back cover. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Maicie.
530 reviews20 followers
February 1, 2010
Eh. 300 pages of a torturous escape scene followed by 17 pages of a surprisingly good ending.

Jacob, evil evangalist, rises from the dead and goes to his private studio back home to record his amazing power. He captures some of his followers who have gathered at the house to talk about his death. He decides to torture them. They decide to escape. A group of townies find out Jacob has resurrected and want to cash in on the reward money being offered for his body. A car chase ensues betweem them and a couple of people who are on the way to save some of the hostages. Etc, etc, etc.

Skim the first 300 pages as fast as you can, relish the last 17 pages and hope the author(s) write another book expanding those last pages.

Recommended for: purgers who want more than their finger to kickstart their gag reflex
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for John.
Author 1 book7 followers
January 17, 2009
Read this the week it came out, and I really enjoyed the writing. It picked me up and carried me along swiftly. None of the characters are particularly likable, but they all have failings that was easy to identify with. It had a very cinematic feel, which is naturally considering this was a screenplay first.

As the novel progressed, I felt like there were a lot of extras pulled into the story that was unnecessary. They help show the effects of Jake's resurrection on the wider world, but this might have been done in other ways.

The twist at the end is rather startling and changes the entire nature of the story. I'm not saying that the twist was inappropriate. In a way, the twist makes the novel.

I'd recommend picking up and giving it a read so you can judge for yourself.
Profile Image for William.
560 reviews66 followers
August 6, 2009
This started off with a bang and was a really fast read....at first. It sort of bogged down in the middle though but finished up ok. The ending was a twist that i didn't really see coming. Lots of horror, sexual innuendo, violence, etc. The characters are a strange mix and are strange in themselves. Some you want to survive and some you would like to kill yourself.
Profile Image for Craig.
4,889 reviews111 followers
May 26, 2011
This is a crazy fast-paced horror novel that starts out in a rather traditional way, has a really funny and unique chase scene in the middle, mixes in some not-too-serious sex and violence, and goes out with an apocalyptic bang. Never trust those televangelists... they're always causing trouble for their friends and associates. A great read for a lazy hot afternoon in a hammock.
Profile Image for Kevin Lucia.
Author 85 books295 followers
January 8, 2009
So far - wow. The opening chapter is a hard, left right to the jaw. We're given a little space to recoup...and then back from the dead comes Jake, thirsting for more.
Profile Image for Brian.
Author 25 books205 followers
July 12, 2021
If you've read Skipp or Goodfellow before, you know there's a manic (maniacal?) energy rippling through every single sentence, and that sort of zeal for storytelling is on full display here. Action-packed, but never skimps on character development, with a few scenes that'll tear your heart out. Great stuff!
Profile Image for Alexander C.  Bailey.
Author 2 books6 followers
August 2, 2018
This is my first book by Skipp and Goodfellow. I will most certainly be coming back for more. I will say this book isn’t for the faint of heart. I can definitely see why Skipp is part of the splatterpunk genre.
Profile Image for Ryan Sasek.
175 reviews2 followers
November 13, 2021
Fun filled horror ride. I loved everything by Skipp & Spector. This is my first time reading the combo of Skipp & Cody Goodfellow. Really looking forward to reading the other novels they’ve done together. One thing I know if it has John Skipp’s name on it it won’t disappoint.
Profile Image for Jerry.
34 reviews3 followers
December 13, 2018
this was a great book and plot its about a fake prechaer named jake whos a bad person he dose bad things its worth the read its a 10 out of 10
Profile Image for Cassandra  Glissadevil.
571 reviews15 followers
January 1, 2020
4.5 stars!
Stomach churning, visceral terror. Best car wreck description I ever read.
Welcome addition to any splatterpunk horror collection.
August 6, 2022
What would have been a few hundred pages of disjointed torture porn is suddenly saved by a kicking ending that wraps it all up nicely.
Profile Image for Paul.
Author 52 books52 followers
August 11, 2022
A great ending raises it above the torture porn you thought you were reading
Profile Image for Carl Alves.
Author 20 books165 followers
December 24, 2015
Jake Connaway is a rocker turned cable televangelist preaching that he will one day be resurrected. His chance to prove this theory happens when he is murdered by the husband of one of his followers as he’s having sex with the man’s wife. Jake’s outrageous claims comes to pass when he comes back to life during his wake. Convinced that he is the second coming of Christ, he sees himself as a godlike figure and goes on a violent killing rampage. Among the victims are the people at his house, which includes his wife, his assistant, and a woman he once abused, as well as the men that are with them. Jake and his friend, Gray, a cold-blooded killer, come up with creative and inventive ways to massacre these folks. His end goal is to telecast his rebirth to the world.

The characterization of the two main villains in this story, Jake and Gray, are both well done. They are loathsome and vial characters, but all the same have some level of humanity to them and feel more real than most antagonists that I come across in fiction. The gore in this novel wasn’t overdone and fit the story pretty well. The pace of the novel was quick and there was a high level of tension. On the downside, there was an interlude of Jake’s followers trying to get to his house that seemed pretty useless and should have been scrapped. One thing that was annoying me during the course of the novel was that there was no explanation of Jake’s resurrection. However, there’s a twist at the end of the novel that fully explains the reincarnation and makes the entire novel make sense. For me, the best part of the novel was the twist at the end, which produced a very satisfying conclusion. This was an enjoyable novel that I recommend.

Carl Alves - author of Conjesero
Profile Image for Brandi Jones.
309 reviews2 followers
June 20, 2021
I struggled with this book a lot. It had just enough in it to make me want to see how it all ended, but I wasn't a fan. The plot twist at the end might've been interesting, but by the end I just didn't care.
Profile Image for John Bruni.
Author 53 books62 followers
March 20, 2022
I can't even describe to you how crazy and violent this book is. A rock-n-roll preacher who gets stabbed in the back mid-coitus comes back to life as a rotting corpse but still in possession of his mind. Somehow he decides everyone in his life must suffer just for being there (except his right hand man Gray, who is a piece of work, himself). Murder, mutilation, crucifixion and a whole bunch of other lunacy ensues. And in case you were worried that there weren't enough characters to injure and kill, about 3/4s through the book we get a bunch more characters to torment. It's a marvel that there are moments to relax while reading this. And I kind of suspected the twist we get near the end, but it was still joyous to behold. If you love hardcore horror and haven't read this? Well, I'm sure it's on your list as it is a Skipp and Goodfellow joint, but maybe skip it to the top of your reading list.
Profile Image for Eric.
Author 2 books14 followers
January 29, 2010
Oh man, did I hate this book. Couldn't even get halfway through it. I found it pointless, dull, plotless, stupid torture porn with weak characters and an uneven confusing narrative. I stomached it as long as I could, hoping it would improve, but finally tossed it aside (and yes, I literally tossed it) when Jake referred to some demon as Mom and then started to go into a flashback. A few things in life must be avoided at all costs, and an undead fake preacher with unresolved Mommy issues is one of them.

I've read my share of lousy novels, but what set this one apart was the Christian-bashing. I'm rarely offended by a novel, but I found this one deeply offensive. I was a bit surprised by that visceral reaction, but it is what it is.

Good riddance.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,167 reviews25 followers
December 31, 2016
Televangelist Jake was a shyster who abused the women in his life and had a huge libido. he is stabbed by a woman's jealous boyfriend. for reasons that are never fully explained, he comes back from the dead and travels back to his house where three main women in his life and others are gathered. Teaming up with a psychotic friend and nearly indestructible, he sets out on a mission of slaughtering everyone he once knew. Why? we don't know. Nothing anyone does in the book really makes a whole lot of sense, but it was full of action and kept me turning pages, though it was very over-the-top and ridiculous at times.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 41 reviews

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