Jeffry R. Halverson

Jeffry R. Halverson is an assistant professor of religious studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Coastal Carolina University (SC). He previously served as an assistant research professor at Arizona State University. As a scholar of Islamic studies and the history of religions, Halverson is the author of Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam (Palgrave Macmillan 2010), Searching for a King: Muslim Nonviolence and the Future of Islam (Potomac, 2012), and lead author of Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism (Palgrave Macmillan 2011). His scholarship has also been  ...See more >

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"Far more than just a paint-by-numbers story of a small town."

Kirkus Reviews


Day job University Professor


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0692225868
Page count: 266pp

In Halverson’s debut novel, a mysterious mural appears overnight on the side of a building in an Arizona town, sparking a range of emotions and examinations of life.

How humans spend their brief time on Earth has been the subject of countless tales. Seemingly endless, time is actually limited and precious. That’s the theme of Halverson’s simple mystery story with shades of something much more profound. Tyler Anderson, a reporter for a news site in Phoenix, yearns to write about something other than the minutiae of municipal affairs. His chance comes when his editor sends him to Ketchum, a sleepy former mining town, to write about a large mural by an unknown artist that appeared overnight on the side of a warehouse. Expecting to simply identify the artist and write the story, Anderson finds more than he bargained for. Due to its unique effects on every person who sees it, the mural attracts attention from all over, and it’s now become the heart of a long-simmering rivalry between Mayor George Correa and the warehouse’s owner, Samuel Welch. As Anderson investigates his story, he realizes it’s about more than just identifying the mystery artist; it’s about people’s expectations, how to stop bemoaning fate and how to use precious time wisely. The well-written story starts as a character study of Anderson, veers into an examination of why Samuel insists on painting over the mural, and finally becomes a look at the human soul and how some people are willing to give up their dreams just to get through life. Filled with intriguing characters—fry cook Abdullah Park, waitress Audrey Betz, struggling artist Grady James—the story takes a few unnecessary back-story detours and requires a suspension of disbelief that might be too much for some readers. But Halverson is after a different audience: those who know life must be lived and felt, not just experienced.

Far more than just a paint-by-numbers story of a small town.


Nonfiction, history, Islamic studies, peace studies, nonviolence, religious studies

At a time when violent images of the Muslim world dominate our headlines, Western audiences are growing increasingly interested in a different picture of Islam, specifically the idea of Muslim nonviolence, and what it could mean for the world. But is nonviolence compatible with the teachings of Islam? Is it practical to suggest that Muslim societies must adopt nonviolence to thrive in today’s world? Where is the Muslim equivalent of a Mohandas K. Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.? Searching for a King offers a comprehensive look into Islamic conceptions of nonviolence, their modern champions, and their readings of Islam’s sacred texts, including the Qur’an and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. Jeffry R. Halverson asserts that the foundation for nonviolence in Islam already exists. He points to the exemplary lives and teachings of modern Muslim champions of nonviolence, including Abdul Ghaffar Khan, an ethnic Pashtun from the tribal regions of Pakistan whose 100,000 Muslim followers peacefully resisted British colonial rule in India. Using rich historical narratives and data from leading NGOs and international governmental organizations, Halverson also makes the case that by eliminating the high costs of warfare, nonviolence opens the door to such important complementary initiatives as microfinancing and women’s education programs. Ultimately, he endorses Muslim conceptions of nonviolence and argues for the formulation of a nonviolent version of jihad as an active mode of social transformation.

ISBN: 978-1612344690
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