About the book: Sergeant Rowdy Slater is the most skilled-and most incorrigible-soldier in Dog Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, an elite group of paratroopers fighting for the world's freedom in World War II.
The town's lawman, suspicious that Rowdy has changed his ways only as a cover up, gives an ultimatum: Rowdy must survive one complete year as Cut Eye's new minister or end up in jail.
At first Rowdy thinks the job will be easy, particularly because he's taking over for a young female missionary who's held the church together while the men were at war. But when a dark-hearted acquaintance from Rowdy's past shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared due to an irrevocable favor, and life turns decidedly difficult.
Rowdy's a man used to solving problems one of two ways: with his rifle or with his fists. Will he be able to thwart his old friend's evil schemes while remaining true to his new higher calling?
This is a wild ride of a book bursting with a bank robbery, kidnapping, desperate prayers, and barroom brawls. Before the smoke clears, all sides just might end up getting exactly what they want.
My thoughts: This was certainly an interesting read. Quite frankly, the making of a preacher of the Gospel out of Rowdy (main character) will certainly elicit laughter and create fodder for the church-hating public that sees Baptist, Southern preachers as ignoramuses and shysters. You see, Rowdy is a discharged army guy who has been to prison and who has helped rob a bank. He happens to get caught by the Sheriff of Cut Eye (the town) who needs a new preacher for the town’s church because his town is quite frankly going to the Devil. Rowdy knows no Bible, is not a Christian, and is a most unlikely candidate for the position. But a bargain has been struck between the Sheriff and Rowdy.
Feast of Thieves is the author’s first novel but he has written many non-fiction titles including We Who Are Alive and Remain about veterans. He draws the character, Rowdy Slater, with skilled language plotting twists with the story taking unbelievable turns wrapped in the colloquial dialogue that is small town South of the mid-forties.
A fairly short book, it “grows” Rowdy from a drifting, troubled war veteran whose past has given him a lot to overcome to have a future of any good and into a man dedicated to God. Yes, the outcome is good and it is sweet. Though the story style is not one I usually enjoy, I ended wondering what in the world was going to happen next to Rowdy. Maybe we won’t have to wait long to find out. I understand there are more “Rowdy Slater” books on the horizon.
This is a story of redemption and it is presented in an unusual way and in a style evocative of a really good literary work.
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