A local preacher’s simple decision turns an entire small town against him in this novel.
Everyone in Aucoin, Louisiana, thinks that Brad Johnson was born to be the preacher of Lee Community Church. Lately though, Brad’s life at church has become monotonous; he’s been longing to go on a vacation with his wife, Allison, and get away from “the sheer agony of trying to change the order of the worship service.” Behind a lot of that angst is the gruff and very traditional deacon named Earl Bishop. Like the church’s other deacons, Earl has become concerned about the amount of money the Christian congregation is bringing in and he blames Brad’s lackluster sermons. When Brad finds a $100 bill on the floor of his office, he never intends to steal from his own struggling church, but only a few hours later he finds himself needing to spend the money in an emergency at a gas station—a move that will set off Earl and the town’s gossip mill. By the end of a single day, the whole town believes that Brad has been driving through New Orleans with women passed out in the back of his car, doing drugs in his front yard, gambling with church money, and cheating on his wife with gas station clerk Sally Mae Watson—only some of which is true. For his novel, Frady (co-author: Staccato, 2011) sets up an impressive domino effect of mistakes and assumptions; he makes it enjoyable to see so much trouble stem from such a small decision. He also offers plenty of humor, pitting the sweet Brad against infuriating townspeople and putting him completely out of his element. (“I didn’t even know there were different kinds of lottery tickets,” Brad exclaims to a crowd at a gas station while trying his hand at a new vice.) At times, the author goes a bit too far with the frustrating small-town mentality—from the beginning, it’s hard to understand why Brad would put up with his deacons in the first place—but funny, fast-paced dialogue overall makes for rapid jokes and mostly lovable characters.
An entertaining comedy of errors that should especially appeal to Christian readers.