In which we consider the implications of author inserts...
Welcome to the detailed (and, unfortunately, spoiler-rich) review of Night of the Living Dead Christian. For a briefer review that doesn't give anything away, read the main review. If you're curious, here's a discussion of why I'm doing this.
This is a rather long bit of reaction, so I'm breaking it up into sections. Hopefully that will allow for more bite-sized discussions. So, now that you've all been fairly warned, we'll pick up the deconstruction after the jump:
So we return to the perspective of Narrator-Matt, who is tied to a chair the werewolf's home, along with Culbetron the Mad Scientist and the Hibbs 3000. Luther reveals a little more about himself, starting with the fact that he doesn't roam the neighborhood looking for people to eat. And, after a bit of repartee, Luther elaborates on why he took Narrator-Matt prisoner: "I had hoped you might have some insight about the transformative power of being a follower of Jesus." Not only does Luther recognize Narrator-Matt, he also has a copy of Matt's earlier book, Imaginary Jesus, sitting on the table.
Now, Imaginary Jesus really exists, and it was (surprise, surprise) written by Matt Mikalatos. So at this point it's pretty clear that Narrator-Matt doesn't just share Author-Matt's name, Narrator-Matt is meant to be the author.
There's a storytelling technique which involves building real-life people, places or events into a fantastical narrative in order to give the reader the impression that all this strangeness could be happening in real life! (I believe the technical term is "metafiction." Stephen King's Dark Tower series is an obvious example, since there too the author appears as a character in the story - though that isn't the only way to get this sort of effect.) Unfortunately, in this story it just doesn't work. Author-Matt has spent five chapters presenting us with Narrator-Matt, who is characterized as a well-meaning buffoon; with the result that I can't take seriously the idea that he and Author-Matt are actually meant to be the same person. In addition, the story itself is so farcical up to this point that I simply can't credit the idea that This Might Really Have Happened. It's not, in other words, a technique that fits into this sort of story.
I realize that I've been fairly critical up to this point (and I'm not done yet). Several of these elements - Luther taking over the narration, Matt Mikalatos being the primary narrator as well as the author - did become less distracting once I got used to them. (Well, and once I had some idea of what the story was doing with them.) So where Geds apparently enjoyed the first section, but hated the rest, I had some trouble with elements in the setup, and enjoyed it more once it got going. That's not to say that I didn't have issues with later sections; as you'll see, I did. But there's no clear cutoff for me where the book quit working as a story; some sections were quite enjoyable, and other sections were problematic.