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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 03/2022
  • B09PH1BWSM
  • 266 pages
  • $6.99
Paperback Details
  • 03/2022
  • 978-1-7359502-5-9
  • 266 pages
  • $15.99
Gerald Everett Jones
Author
Preacher Raises the Dead (Evan Wycliff #3)
Third in the multiple-award-winning Evan Wycliff Mystery series Guest preacher and part-time investigator Evan Wycliff reluctantly takes on the role of full-time minister and walks straight into more responsibility and trouble than he can handle. Evan attends to near-death experience, late-stage dementia, long-term coma, and consequences of the pandemic. His old nemesis investment banker Stuart Shackleton is back — and claims to be converted! Shackleton’s money sustains a critical-care medical breakthrough, the building of a new church, and a career boost for Evan as a celebrity evangelist. Are these thrilling transformations part of a divine plan, or has Evan sold his soul?
Reviews
The third entry in Jones' thoughtful Evan Wycliff mystery series follows the itinerant preacher and part-time detective Wycliff as he stumbles into surprising fame and a full-time job as a preacher in a small Midwestern town, thanks to his reputation, won in Preacher Fakes a Miracle, as a faith healer–a rep Wycliff resists, to little avail. Wycliff has his hands full with his new wife, Loretta, and his old nemesis, Stuart Shackleton, a sinister banker who helps Wycliff in his hour of need but has ulterior motives. When Loretta slips into a coma after a car accident, Wycliff gets wrapped up in desperate machinations, though, for all the scheming and secrets, the mystery that most urgently powers Jones' ruminative novel proves to be the nature of human consciousness.

This time, Wycliff proves a somewhat passive protagonist. His scrupulous honesty makes him a perfect mark for Shackleton, who uses Wycliff to aid his congressional campaign, even getting the renowned preacher to baptize him for a secret viral video. Shackleton builds a superchurch for Wycliff, funds Loretta's recovery, and even expands the preacher’s reach into television, all for mysterious reasons. Wycliff, meanwhile, knows that “plagues come in sevens” and faces losing everything he cares about, as he struggles with the ethics of taking money from someone he knows is unworthy, especially when others are depending on that money.

Contemplative, character-rich, and written with insight and power, Preacher Raises the Dead edges toward literary fiction, meditating on belief, consciousness, and guilt, while attentive to the lived-in detail of small-town life. The story’s first half largely deals with the emotional fall-out of the previous book, meaning its nuances and emotional impact will most resonate with readers already familiar with the series, though Wycliff's moral rigor and unflagging humanity made for an unusual and engaging hero, especially as he rebuilds in the climax.

Takeaway: This cerebral, philosophical mystery focuses on hard choices made by complex characters.

Great for fans of: Julia Spencer-Fleming’s In the Bleak Midwinter, Brad Reynolds’s Cruel Sanctuary.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

News
01/05/2022
From the Author

In writing the Evan Wycliff Mystery series, I’ve surprised myself many times over. It will therefore surprise me if readers find anything in the plots predictable. I resolved at the outset to let my subconscious self do most of the work. And after the stage was set and the characters stepped onto it, many times they told me where they wanted to go and said whatever they wanted to say. I haven’t always worked like this. Years ago, when I wrote mainly technical and business nonfiction for publishing houses, I wrote to strict outlines, and I sought approval from in-house editors if ever I chose to depart from the agreed plan.

When I set out to write Preacher Raises the Dead, I had the notion of describing both near-death experience (NDE) and coma. In the beginning, I didn’t know who would be stricken or how those subplots would turn out. Many other plot elements were likewise uncertain right up until the words flowed into the manuscript draft, including Evan’s core religious beliefs and consequences of Luke’s schizophrenia and Melissa’s epilepsy. The reappearance of Stuart Shackleton was a complete surprise until Evan saw him again that fateful day in the courtroom. He and I should have known we weren’t done with him yet!

Evan’s theology is bound to be controversial. The very thought of a practicing minister who is too often an agnostic will raise eyebrows. But do churchpersons have occasional doubts? I don’t doubt it.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 03/2022
  • B09PH1BWSM
  • 266 pages
  • $6.99
Paperback Details
  • 03/2022
  • 978-1-7359502-5-9
  • 266 pages
  • $15.99

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