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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Plain Heathen Mischief -- equal parts Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, and Hunter S. Thompson -- pits a defrocked Baptist minister (who has just been freed after serving a six-month jail sentence for contributing to the delinquency of a minor) against the numerous temptations of secular life -- and his own wavering faith.
Minutes after being released from a Virginia jail, Joel King finds himself being served with divorce papers as well as a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit brought by the (by no means innocent) teenage girl who was the cause of his imprisonment. Faced with no other options, the good-hearted reverend is forced to move in with his single sister and her son in rural Montana, but with job opportunities for a convicted sex offender nonexistent, he soon finds his situation becoming desperate. When one of King's former parishioners, a slick con man named Edmund Brooks, offers him an opportunity to make some easy money in an insurance fraud scheme involving stolen jewels, he reluctantly agrees and -- like the wayward poet in Dante's Divine Comedy -- finds himself chin deep in a rising sea of sin…
< br> After the release of his breakthrough debut novel, The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living, the zealous fans who eagerly awaited Clark's second novel have been amply rewarded. Plain Heathen Mischief is a sometimes comical, sometimes profound look at faith, forgiveness, and the cold, hard reality of living with the consequences of moral lapses. The delightful dichotomy of realities -- sheltered and hypercritical holy rollers versus sleazy Vegas high rollers -- makes this an unconventional morality tale definitely worth reading. Paul Goat Allen