Book Review: Gracie and The Preacher by T. L. Peters

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“Brent Everett and his feisty dog, Gracie, hook up with a good-natured street preacher who, when he isn’t dodging the law, makes his living by holding fire and brimstone revivals across the country. Soon, however, Brent discovers that there are limits to what even the preacher can get away with.”

Published March 11, 2011

Available from Amazon Kindle and many other sites

186 pages

Five Stars *****

            One of the things I love about Tom Peters’ writing is his ability to grab your interest right off the bat and make you smile.

            Gracie and The Preacher opens with:

“Star and I got back just as Mom and her new boyfriend Pete were starting to roll around on the living room floor grappling and laughing. She’d met Pete at the gym where she went looking for all her boyfriends lately. Mom could bench press over 280 pounds on a good day. Of course, her arms were short and that helped her some.”

           Peters is so comfortable when he writes his stories in this voice. We have seen it before in  The Boy Who Delivered The Wind http://tinyurl.com/d27qg8r and An Imperfect Miracle http://tinyurl.com/ck2extq : a young boy from the back hills, telling the tale through innocent eyes, his quirky world colouring the scene, his naïveté describing adult situations with humorous perplexity.

           There are a lot of outright belly laughs and tongue-in-cheek smiles tucked into this little gem for the reader.

           Brent is a rough and tumble, somewhat street savvy kid, protective of his dog, Star—a ninety-five pound Rottweiler, who is on probation for aggressive behaviour. Their home situation is iffy at best and so one day Brent runs away and ends up hooking up with a revival preacher.

           Their journey together with Star—who becomes Gracie to hide his identity—is a story about running away from poverty and lack, and a seemingly uncaring mother, and seeking a new life, family and sense of belonging. Along the way, Brent and Co. travel all across North America, into South America, are involved in illegal smuggling activities, constantly change their identities, preach healing and finding God, and grow to love one another until they are more family than blood could ever make them.

           The Preacher is a combination of Robin Hood, Kenneth Copeland and a petty crook. He has a heart of gold and seems to know every back alley and hiding place in the U.S., Mexico and further south. His experience with the unsavory world and his occasional run-ins with the law, keep this tale fast-paced, fun and really hard to put down.

           I highly recommend the story. It’s Five Star ***** all the way.

A Short Bio of the Author, T. L. Peters:

After graduating with honors from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan Law, Thomas Linden Peters made partner at a large law firm where he retired a few years earlier than most. Tom’s favorite activity is giving his dog long walks in the woods.  His second favorite is playing the violin, much like the character in the Dickens’ story who loved to play scales alone on his cello.  Tom’s musical repertoire is a bit more extensive than simply scales and leans toward the Baroque, but he nevertheless views his music, along with his writing, as mostly a solo pastime.  His favorite part of writing is when the book is finally done. 

Here is a brief Excerpt from Gracie and The Preacher:

“When we got to the edge of the field, we laid down in the tall prickly weeds and looked around again. We were close enough now to make out the tent sign printed in big black letters, “Preacher Zechariah’s Traveling Revival and Fiddle Show.” Most of the folks were bobbing their heads to the wailing sound coming from under the tent, and some little girls in bright white swirling dresses with pink bows in their hair were holding hands and dancing with each other on the grass.

The cars and pickup trucks and vans were all parked over near the tree line on some gravel that had been dumped out over the weeds and raked in a little. Most had Pennsylvania plates since the dinky little town where we lived was just an hour or so north of Pittsburgh. But there were a few cars from over in West   Virginia and Ohio, and even some from as far away as Maryland and Virginia.

“This must be a quite a show,” I whispered to Star.

Star must have thought so too because he barked a little. I still couldn’t see all the way inside the tent, so Star and me circled around to where we were about halfway back. Then I spotted a tall lanky guy way up front playing a beat up old fiddle. He had a nice pair of denim jeans on and a navy blue shirt and a red bandana wrapped around his forehead too, I guess because he was sweating pretty good. Besides fiddling he was stomping his foot and singing so loud that the veins were popping out all over his neck. Now and then he’d even blow on a shiny silver harmonica that he had strapped onto his shoulders somehow.

I couldn’t understand many of the words to the song on account of how fast and garbled they were shooting out of his mouth. But he sure could whip that fiddle bow around, and his fingers dazzled up and down the strings like lightning. After listening real quiet for a few minutes, Star got restless and started yanking me in closer. There didn’t seem to be anybody selling tickets, so I followed along until we were almost under the tent. Then I dug my heels in and wouldn’t let Star drag me one step farther. I figured that those folks went to a lot of trouble getting choice seats and wouldn’t appreciate some big dog running around growling and sniffing at them.

I could hear better now at least, and every few seconds the guy would sing out in a real strong voice “Hallelujah,” and the people would all holler “Hallelujah” back to him. And then he’d wait a few seconds and yell out “Praise the Lord,” and they’d all holler back “Amen.”

This went on for a good while and I was worried that Star might get bored, but he kept on staring at the fiddler and licking his chops like he wanted to go up and say hello to him. Then all of a sudden Star whipped his head around to the back, his teeth bared and shiny wet  and his black fur standing up in a sharp ridge along his neck. I turned to see what had set him off and spotted some skinny guy with a beat up old baseball cap on sideways standing up shaking his fist and hollering at the fiddle player.

“You’re just trying to rip us all off. Shysters like you ought to be tossed in jail.”

 

Tom’s work can be found on MuseItUp Publishing at http://tinyurl.com/d27qg8r

Amazon.com at http://tinyurl.com/d6dhteb

And his website at   http://tlpeters.blogspot.com

Look for Gracie and The Preacher at the following links:

Amazon.com  http://tinyurl.com/cksowlu   

Barnes and Noble   http://tinyurl.com/clxxdh8  

Amazon UK   http://tinyurl.com/bu6nktg

Kobo   http://tinyurl.com/bvd5nd7

See a full interview on Natter and Review with Tom at   https://natterandreview.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/interview-with-author-thomas-l-peters/  

And other interviews and reviews at the following links: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11950120-an-imperfect-miracle http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/tlpeters

http://www.amazon.com/T.L.-Peters/e/B004S7L05A

http://www.slideshare.net/thome12/book-list-8882241

http://ashtonthebookblogger.blogspot.ca/2011_04_01_archive.html

http://freebookreviews.blogspot.ca/2013/01/book-review-pittsburgh-affair-by-tl.html

http://www.acozyreaderscorner.com/2011_05_01_archive.html

http://www.cybils.com/2012-nominations-young-adult-fiction.html

            I heartily recommend this read and anything else Tom has written. You can buy it from Amazon.com for download on your computer or kindle right now for a whole 97 cents.

           So go for it, take a leap of faith. That’s what Brent did and it changed his whole life.

 

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11 thoughts on “Book Review: Gracie and The Preacher by T. L. Peters

  1. Very interesting characters. I love books that have animals as an important part of the story and this one looks like it will deliver with style. Loved the excerpt, it sure picked at my curiosity and I will check the book out. I just bought a new Kindle and I’m having a lot of fun finding great stories to read while I work out. Donna http://donnajeanmcdunn.wordpress.com/

  2. Tom’s personal history sounds as interesting as his characters. His work looks like a delightful reprive from the dark stuff I usually read and a pleasant change of pace. Can’t wait to sample and keep up the good work, Tom. J. T. Seate – supernaturalsnackbar.wordpress.com

  3. Hi exceptional blog! Does running a blog similar to this require a massive amount work?

    I’ve absolutely no knowledge of computer programming however I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyhow, if you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic but I just had to ask. Kudos!

  4. Thank you and yes, blogging requires a tremendous amount of work. WordPress almost runs itself so I would suggest using it to start one.

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