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This debut collection focuses on religion and doubt, and showcases the potential and inconsistency of its young writer. "The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Party," which opens the collection, is Minor at his best-a powerful story about a man overcome with guilt, worry and resentment as the health of his wife and their unborn child hangs in the balance. It is followed by an unwieldy, 68-page tale of a squeamish minister undressing his senile mother for a bath (which is then followed by a story featuring another minister with many of the same life details). In general, the frequent recurrence of circumstance, setting and, sometimes, character, is more repetitive than progressive. Still, Minor has a knack for capturing melancholy and establishing empathy for his book's many wayward characters, as in "The Navy Man," which tells the story of a Christian school principal's frustrated wife as she considers cheating (again) on her husband. Hopefully, the author's talents will be better displayed in his next book. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.