Stephan Jaramillo's second novel, published in 1998, thereby predating the Waits tune by about a year (although I'm sure the song didn't hurt sales any), ISBN # 0-425-16309-1. While it may not exactly be literature, Chocolate Jesus sure was a fun read.

Sydney Corbet is a letter writer. He has so many ideas on how to improve the world, if only people would just read his extensive missives to newspapers concerning the unlikelihood of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen having a relationship (the nerve!) or the truth behind the Kennedy assassination. His best idea of all, however, involves Bea's Candies, makers of the world famous Wad Gomper, and Corbet's ultimate Easter candy: the Chocolate Jesus.

Opposing him, however, is not only the president of Bea's Candies, who would love to sell the company and live a life of obese hedonism if it weren't for his seemingly immortal mother (who happens to be the matriarch, mascot, and owner of the company), but also the Reverend Willie Domingo, head of the Church of the Returning Vegetarian Christ and a man who thinks of heaven as an all-nite gym and juice bar.

Throw into the mix a hyperactive German master of "chemo-chocolate galvanism", Chaim Poplotnick (Hebrew scholar and bookie), a ne'er-do-well brother, and Jesús (caretaker of the Reverend's Miracle Mountain), and you end up with kind of a Willy Wonka's Hudsucker Proxy with a little bit of good natured end times and fear of God-type stuff. It weighs in at about 250 pages in paperback, and I recommend this novel for a lazy Sunday or two.

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