Title: Preacher Sam
(Same Geisler, Murder Whisperer – Book 1)
Author: Cassondra Windwalker
Genre: Mystery / Christian Fiction
Pages: 284
Rating: 2 of 5
Future Release Date: 9/17/19 (Thank you to the author and publisher for a free eARC via NetGalley. This in no way affects the content of the review)

Preacher Sam is not your typical Christian/Religious fiction. It includes profanity (including “the F bomb”), it discusses sexual addiction and lustful thoughts frankly (and occasionally explicitly), there is no strategically placed “get saved” speech, and it falls into the mystery genre rather than historical romance.

Our protagonist is a disgraced, porn-addicted ex-pastor who is living with his atheist single-mom sister while trying to get his life and marriage back together. In the past he was instrumental in getting a murderer to confess. References to this abound, but the details remain so sketchy that it feels like we’ve missed out on book 1 of the series. When one of his former parishioners is jailed for murder and refuses to defend herself or speak to anyone but him or the victim’s husband, Sam must figure out what really happened.

Unfortunately, the story focuses far more on Sam whining and sulking about his life and family relationships than it does on the murder mystery. His pursuit of “what really happened?” proceeds in a desultory, mopey fashion, and the amazingly convenient item that finally helps him solve it is ill-explained and/or doesn’t quite make sense. Add a shoehorned-in romantic subplot for his sister, some preachy bits, and a final line that undercuts any apparent character growth, and this really didn’t work for me.

2 thoughts on “Sulky Sam

  1. It’s “christian” fiction, of course it didn’t work. Most of the writers I’ve come across think they’re on a personal mission from God Himself to write their book. Even if they don’t have a grasp of basic grammar skills.

    I read Peretti back in the day and devoured Ted Dekker for about 5 years, but Dekker devolved into ecumenical feel good talk and I’m not really sure what happened with Peretti. Personally, I just avoid that genre label all together now. It’s not worth my blood pressure getting raised.

    On a funny note.. I read your line “he moves in with his atheist single-mother sister” and at first I thought his mother was also his sister and I thought to myself “What kind of filth is JoElendil reading!?!?”. Then I parsed it correctly and had a good laugh at myself 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realize it was “Christian fiction” when I got it from NetGalley since it wasn’t from a Christian publisher. I was curious to see how a disgraced pastor character would be handled by a not-explicitly-Christian author, but turns out it was just the same old “Christian fiction” schlock.

      I feel like the author was trying really hard to distinguish herself from typical “Christian fiction” fare with some of her subject matter and vocabulary. However in the end it revolves around the same repetitive morbid introspection and shoddy plotting that tends to characterize the genre.

      And, no, there is no sister-mother in the story…LOL

      Liked by 1 person

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