Informed that his renegade-scientist son is in jail for murder and domestic-terrorist activity, cattle rancher Tyson Hadley gets caught in a convoluted investigation of spiritual revelation dampered by quite radical murder.
On a rainy morning in 1969 a brilliant San Francisco Seminary student ceremoniously ingests a psychedelic – and becomes either psychotic or enlightened. When he begins speaking publically as if channeling the new Jesus, somebody shoots him dead. The angel is put down – and his best friend Bob Hadley (who in later years will be the famed Stanford psych-tech scientist of the Google Beta 3 plot) gets arrested for that crime, and also accused of stealing four quarts of pure LSD from a federal research center.
Struggling to deal with a devious MK-Ultra mind-manipulation conspiracy, a wild-cop love affair and a perverted CIA agent – plus Alan Watts and two more murders – deputy-sheriff Tyson and his son Bob battle to maintain their father-son relationship while chasing to ground a bizarre home-grown terrorist.
I was studying at one of the other seven Seminaries in UC Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union in 1969 so I can verify SHOOTING ANGELS' basic atmosphere, and also support the novel's attempt to bring that tumultuous period of history alive - we were definitely radical back then. My only choice was to go into the ministry or get shipped off to kill people in Viet Nam. But sometimes it felt like there was a war raging on Seminary campuses back then as well. So many of us were in fact dodging the draft and trying to stuff ourselves into our parents' religious beliefs. Mostly that didn't work - but we tried. I absolutely love this new novel's wild ride through those times, but I wonder what the Seminary thinks of the author's portrayal. Doesn't matter now- the wildcat is out of the holy bag. And I love how this story uses Alan Watts, whom I met several times back then, as a real live historic character - good going! Kim Lawrey.