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This is billed as the sequel to The Abiding Gospel of Claude Dee Moran, Jr. (1987), a mildly enjoyable example of raunchy, down-home, backwoods humor; there is, however, a catch. The earlier novel, set in deepest Arkansas, concerned the progress of Claude from farmer to convict to revivalist preacher to bogus lawman; Claude, a warmhearted, try-anything loser of the spirit-is, willing-but-flesh-is-weak variety, had two sidekicks, Miss Henry (a foulmouthed tomboy) and Harley (dumb but loyal). Approximately the first quarter of this ""sequel"" is a recycling of its predecessor; all the main episodes are here, though in somewhat different language, but whereas before they were properly paced and developed, now they are just dumped on the page. The new material begins with Claude's homecoming, after his second stretch of hard time; his farm has been carefully tended in his absence by Henry and Harley. What follows are two episodes. The first involves Moose Henderson, a menacing ex-con who once did Claude a small favor; he arrives at the farm uninvited, then holds up the local store and kills the sweet old couple who owned it; it requires all Claude's ingenuity to bring Moose to justice, without too obviously breaking the conditions of his parole. The second episode has to do with Claude and company's acquisition of a racehorse; Harley trains it and Henry rides it, but the gelding has an accident in its first race and has to be shot. End of story. Largely old goods. Caveat emptor.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1990
Publisher: St. Lukes Press