Management Style of the Supreme Beings, by Tom Holt
Probably the only thing worse than a book that tries to be funny and fails is a book you expect to be funny and fails. From the concept and title this seemed like a book with a lot of potential, but it’s basically wasted on its one-note idea and execution.
Dad and Jay (the trinity is completed with uncle Ghost) leave for a fishing trip, leaving the earth in charge of the second and lesser-loved son Kevin. On the trip Dad informs Jay that he’s decided to sell the divine rule of the earth to the Venturi Brothers. The Venturi Brothers are up-from-nothing divine rulers who have acquired several other properties. They believe that older management styles of good and evil are old-fashioned. Instead, they institute a new income stream. Steal something and a collector suddenly appears to collect the equivalent value in a fine. Commit adultery, same thing.
Dad and Jay go on permanent retirement. Problem is, they weren’t completely upright in their contract, which affirmed that there were no other supreme beings on earth … because only children believe in Santa so he doesn’t count.
The humans of earth grumble under this new management concept until some individuals work to recruit Santa into intervening.
It’s a concept that wears out quickly, mostly because of pretty banal dialogue and minimal action. As a result it doesn’t work well as either a satire on corporations or religion. This isn’t a sacrilege or blasphemy issue. I couldn’t care less on that account. This is a weak idea stretched into novel length issue.