Preaching or prison. An impossible choice for a man who usually solves his problems with a rifle or his fists.
Sergeant Rowdy Slater was the most incorrigible paratrooper in Dog Company during World War II. But after the war, when Rowdy robs a bank with the black-hearted Crazy Ake, he vows to turn his life around. The lawman, suspicious that Rowdy’s confession is a sham, gives him an ultimatum: Rowdy must serve for one year as the town minister, or go straight to jail. Rowdy’s choice? Preaching at the community church in Cut Eye, Texas, at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness.
At first the job seemed easy, particularly since Rowdy took over for the willowy female missionary who held the church together while the men were at war. But when Crazy Ake shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared and is forced to make a deadly choice.
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Feast for Thieves
A Rowdy Slater Novel
By Marcus Brotherton, Pam Pugh
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2014 Marcus Brotherton
All rights reserved.
When it came to robbing the bank, we wasn't polished or nothing. We just set the old truck's hand brake and jigged out the side while the motor was still running, shrugged off the rain while throwing sacks over our heads to hide our faces, and bustled straight up the middle with our rifles aimed forward. Shoot, I never would have hurt nobody innocent. I just needed money real bad, like anyone does if he's spent time in the clink and nobody will give him a job once he gets out.
Right through the front door, Crazy Ake walloped the guard over the back of the head and he went down like a sack of peas thrown on a stock house pallet, which I felt sorry about, but not much blood was coming out, so I ran to the counter and stuck my rifle up in the clerk's skinny face so the man could see I wasn't fooling. We was only carrying one sack to fill—mine—so as one partner could be more of the muscle if folks decided to fight back. Besides, it was a big sack, and the clerk stuffed it full while Crazy Ake strode back and forth up there on the countertop yelling about how he was the fires of hell and was pouring down wrath on the town.
All that yelling may not have been simple scare tactics with Crazy Ake. He was foaming around the edges of his mouth where the sack was cut for an airhole, and cursing a blue streak, and he looked genuinely like his finger might twitch tight against the trigger and blow some man's head away if aggravated enough. Yes sir, that worried me a mite. It did. But I didn't offer much time to my worrying because once my sack was good and full we ordered the folks to lay down on the tile and count backward from five hundred to one while we skedaddled out the door and back to the truck for our getaway.
Dang that rain. Our old truck's motor coughed its last revolution just as Crazy Ake slid behind the wheel and I slid in the other side. He stomped on the starter but the wetness must have already slunk into the wiring because the motor sputtered and growled, but no life came. It never rains in West Texas, least never when I was growing up near here, and I don't know why we picked this day of all days to commit a crime. Sure enough, the rooftop gutters on the adobe bank were full and overflowing, and muddy rivers were flashing up and rolling down the streets already. Crazy Ake slugged me hard in the shoulder as if the truck's dead motor was my fault. I moved to paste him back when I thought smarter and hollered instead, "Run!"
The bank sits square on Main Street, right across the way from the sheriff's office and jail. We sprinted east a block, hooked south onto Highway 2, and kept running. Far in the distance we could see our goal. There ain't but one stretch of two-lane in and out of the town of Cut Eye, Texas, and if we'd had more time we would have done smart to hide somewhere. But since we could already hear a siren starting up from back of the sheriff's house, we kept running, hoping to get lost in the wide section of bunch grass and mesquite trees out of town.
We passed by the café and mercantile, the tavern and pool hall with its shady rooms on top, and pushed ourselves hard past the Cut Eye grade school, a red-and-white brick building that squats direct across the street from the tavern. I reckoned city planners wanted their children to grow up seeing the evils of strong drink up close, which made me laugh, though by the time we reached the far edge of the school's baseball field the thought of the school's ill location flitted out of my head. Except for a few scattered houses, the town of Cut Eye was finished. Crazy Ake and I were running free.
That's when a bullet zinged behind my ear. I jagged to the right and Crazy Ake jagged to the left. Another bullet rang out and thudded into the mud on the highway's gravel shoulder five yards in front of us. That sheriff behind us was never a military man, I reckoned, to shoot so far away from his target such as he was doing. Or maybe he was simply a man of mercy and wanted to catch his criminals before frying them in the chair.
I glanced back and saw the long snout of the car's hood gaining on us. No way we could outrun it no how, and I could already see the narrowed eyes of the two men inside. By the cut of the man's uniform in the driver's seat, I knew it wasn't the sheriff but only a deputy. He shot out of the window of the squad car with one hand on the wheel and another on his gun. That meant he was shooting left-handed and squirrely, though a bullet is a bullet any way you look at it. Another man in regular clothes sat beside him, just some hayseed in overalls who probably had money in the bank, so I knew he weren't the sheriff neither, which further relieved me a mite.
Even so, I sprinted harder and jagged off-kilter again so the next bullet would be just as hard-pressed to find the back of my head. Sure enough two more shots thudded into the blacktop near my feet, and then a fifth and a sixth. I noticed the deputy shot with a Smith & Wesson square-butt military and police revolver, a real gem of a weapon that's warmed the hearts of thousands of men in authority across the country. So with six shots fired, that meant he needed to pause and reload. That gave me a moment to hatch a plan.
A hundred yards ahead lay the bridge across the river. Crazy Ake and I jagged closer together and kept sprinting forward. The squad car pulled in close and breathed on our heels; it's a wonder the deputy didn't accelerate and run us over. Wasn't much of a plan, I knew even in the moment, but I dropped my rifle to the pavement, lashed my gunnysack to my belt while still on the run, and hollered, "Jump in the river! Swim with the current!"
Our boots clattered on the edge of the bridge's grating just as two more bullets whizzed over our heads. Crazy Ake didn't answer at first. Then he yelled, "That's my money! You remember that, Rowdy Slater!" And he leaped over the guardrail and dived into the water faster than you could yell jackrabbit.
I jumped after him and counted on the long way down. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four—and sucked in a quick lungful of air right before I hit. The shock of cold water smacking my body flattened me out. It was all mountain runoff, and I burbled underneath the black river that raced along now in flood proportions from today's heavy rainstorm. Immediately something hard struck me from behind and scraped its way along the top of my head. I fought against the current and scrambled to reach the surface, but no surface could be found. I pushed and shoved with my hands and arms, kicking with my legs so as not to go deeper under. Whatever was blocking me rolled and turned this way and that. I was stuck.
From its feel, the blockage seemed to be the stump of a tree trunk caught over my head. The deadwood washed its way down river same speed as me, except now I was tangled in the bare branches on the stump's other end. I kept counting, all the while struggling to break free. Thirty Mississippi. Thirty-one Mississippi. Thirty-two—I clawed and pushed against the branches. Nothing would budge. I couldn't bounce upright and I couldn't clear myself away. Hundred-and-one Mississippi. Hundred-and-two Mississippi—my lungs pounded in my chest. The tree became my lawman, judge, and jury, and was trying me for my crimes, finding me guilty, holding me under. Two-hundred-and-fifty Mississippi. Two-hundred-and-fifty-one Mississippi—my hands flailed against the branches above. Air trickled out of my nose. My lungs emptied and I fought a strong urge to gasp.
Strange how a man is racing along under the surface of a rain-swollen river, he's but a moment away from death, and he takes a split second to take stock of his life. Maybe the thought rushes at him because he can't help himself. I knew I was about to die and I wasn't afraid. No, it honestly wasn't fear. Last December 1944 I'd survived the artillery blasts of the Battle of the Bulge. For two months I'd slept in a foxhole during Belgium's coldest winter in thirty years. We were outgunned and outmanned with no proper winter clothing or supplies. We ate thin brown bean soup with maggots in it and peed on our hands to warm them before pulling the trigger against our enemies. No, it wasn't fear.
'Twas regret. That was the thought that rushed at me. All that scrapping around I done. All that getting loaded. All that visiting the shady rooms above taverns. My C.O. once called me "the most incorrigible man in Dog Company," and considering we were a combat-hardened group of paratroopers who brawled, drank, and visited brothels every chance we got, that was paying me no compliment indeed. Shoot—I was the worst of the lot. From a hundred yards away I could fire my M1 and hit the wings off a fly, and that's the only thing that saved me. My skill as a sharpshooter won their respect. My ability saved their lives. My knack with a rifle saved me from going to the clink before I did, even though I undoubtedly deserved it way ahead of time.
The thought raced away from me as quick as it came, and I continued to fight. Raging water surrounded me. I began to black out. Still I fought, but still the branches wouldn't come loose. My chest sunk flat and a pressure caved the insides of me. I inhaled a lungful of muddy water, and then another. The river swirled into me like a bullet from a Nazi's rifle, choking my insides, filling tight my lungs.
That's when I heard him. I swear I did. The man spoke loud, although I couldn't tell from what direction his voice came. Some man I didn't recognize, maybe a lawman who sprinted alongside the riverbank. He shouted at me the same clear way I'd shouted at Crazy Ake exactly eight minutes and thirty-eight seconds earlier by my count of Mississippis.
"Hey fella!" came the voice. "You want to live?"
How that man's voice was reaching me so far under the water, I couldn't rightly fathom, but there under the river, caught as I was and speeding along in the current of destruction, I nodded my head and hoped a saving rope would soon follow.
"Then find the good meal and eat your fill," it said. "Swear you'll do that?"
I nodded again. What a crazy thing for the man to say, I thought. Maybe I was going unconscious, but just then the tree broke loose like a strong hand moved it, the tangle of branches passed over my head, and I shot to the surface. A moment later my knees scraped gravel on a shallow section of riverbed. I stumbled forward out of the river, walked three steps onto dry ground, and vomited a bellyful of muddy water.
No one was around. I flopped down on my side and stayed flat against the cold river stones for some time, panting. I could see the river bent right where I washed up. The river's force must have propelled me to safe ground, and the lawman, whoever had yelled at me, was lost in the dusk. Maybe passed by on the bank.
Little by little, the rain let up. Somewhere a coyote howled. Crazy Ake was nowhere to be seen, same as the deputy and the fella in the overalls chasing me in their car. The sack of money was still tied to my belt. After a time, I stood and walked to the river's edge. I washed away the vomit's slime from my mouth, then scrambled a mile or two more downstream on my feet, all the while taking stock of what to do next. I found a thicket to hide myself and waded into the midst of the trees. Again I listened carefully. No sirens. No dogs in the distance. If the shouting lawman had been near he would have caught me by now. I didn't know exactly how far I'd traveled, but I might be ten miles away from Cut Eye now at the rate that river raced.
A piece of flint lay in my jacket pocket, same as I always carried it, so I gathered some brushwood, lit a tiny flame so as not to be seen, and set about drying the chill out of my wet clothes. The thicket covered me well enough, so in stealth I counted out the cash, ventilating stacks of bills in the heat of the flame so they wouldn't stay wet and grow moldy, and saw we'd bounced out of the bank with exactly $18,549. That amount of money would solve any man's aggravations, I knew, including mine. But when I stared at the loot it looked oddly tarnished, as decaying as an enemy corpse found in the woods. As impossible as it seemed for someone like me, I actually whispered out loud, "I don't want it."
'Course, I didn't know what to do with the money neither. A man can't be roaming around the Texas countryside with fifteen years' wages stuffed in a gunnysack. I clambered halfway up the bank, far enough so high water would never touch the mark, and eyed out a location at the base of a tree. I scraped out a hole, lined it with rocks to prevent rot, and buried the money still in the sack.
My stomach rumbled. The adrenaline buzz of nearly dying gave me the shakes, and I reckoned some food might do me good. After making it up the rest of the bank, I stopped, momentarily mesmerized by the clearing of the clouds. The wind blew stormlike, except the storm was leaving, not coming, and high in the night sky as far as I could see was a breathtaking blue and black. Below that were the ends of a sunset, the purples and reds, and low against the horizon were the last oranges and yellows, all fire and brilliant, an absolute pure light.
I didn't want to leave this sight of wonderment but I knew a criminal needs to make haste. In front of me lay thin growths of tussock and salt grass. One lone juniper tree stood tall in the dark. I wondered what distant land I might run to now, far away from Cut Eye, Texas, and the law. There came another rumble deep in my gut, one I couldn't shake no matter how hard I tried, and I recognized it as the kind of ache that brings about death if a man ignores it long enough. I wondered how I might find that good meal, the one the voice was talking about, and eat my fill.CHAPTER 2
They say the town of Cut Eye sits halfway between nowhere and emptiness. It's been around for some one hundred and thirty years, ever since the days of the Wild West. The only highway for two hundred miles in any direction is Highway 2, which passes right through Cut Eye, and I knew if I didn't find that highway, I'd be wandering around in the sagebrush until the buzzards ate me.
So I left the riverbank, pointed myself southeast, and started walking. What I hoped to do was flag down a long-haul trucker, a man passing through who had no knowledge of the events that transpired the late afternoon before. What I didn't want was any locals to come along and get suspicious of a man standing beside the side of the road with his thumb sticking out, someone they didn't recognize straightaway.
It took me most of the night to find my way back to the blacktop. I hid in the ditch while a car or two passed. When a tanker truck loomed in the distance I took a risk and stepped up. Morning sun was just beginning to show, and on the truck's side was painted "Kansas City Southern Lines: For the Duration," so I knew he was hauling for the railroad, most likely out of Shreveport or Lake Charles. Sure enough, he pulled to the shoulder and I ran to the cab.
"Where headed?" He was a colored man, which didn't bother me none, and although he was leaned over so as he could speak to me, I could still see a shotgun resting across his legs pointing my direction.
"Next town ahead."
"You drifting?" He wasn't smiling.
I paused before answering truthfully. "Yeah."
He looked me up and down as if weighing his options. "Lots of fellas drifting these days. A man of your height and build surely saw some action. What branch?"
"I was Red Ball Express. We hauled your sorry butts up to Bastogne. You fellas had it tough up there, fighting surrounded like you were. Good thing Patton broke through the lines to save y'all."
I coughed and muttered, "Patton might have broken through, but he sure didn't save us."
The trucker launched into a big grin, then laughed and set the shotgun back on the rack behind him. "Hop in. I can always use someone's ear to bend on these long empty roads."
I climbed aboard and the trucker took off at a slow crawl, working through the gears, gradually gaining speed.
"I've always wondered what kind of courage it takes for a man to jump out of a perfectly good airplane," he said. "How many campaigns was that for you, anyway—Normandy, Market Garden, Belgium? You make it into Germany too?"
I shook my head. "Belgium but not Germany."
"So what now? Headed for the oil fields? That's some hard labor, but a man can make a buck at it if he puts his back into it."
Excerpted from Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton, Pam Pugh. Copyright © 2014 Marcus Brotherton. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have to begin by telling you that no matter how hard I tried to keep this novel in its current time period of 1946, for some reason during parts of it I kept envisioning later 1800's during the Wild West period. I think that was in part to the reference of taverns and dance hall girls which is reminiscent of the Old West. However, this is such an exceptional story and one you won't want to miss due to the powerful nature of second chances and forgiveness for anyone. In Feast for Thieves by author Marcus Brotherton, Zearl "Rowdy" Slater is returning home from World War II, seeking to find his place in the world. But for a man with no money, no job, a record, and a personality that tends to be, well, a little on the eccentric side, settling down presents a bit of a challenge. Desperate to scrap together some cash, Rowdy robs a bank alongside his friend, Crazy Ake, in the backwoods and backwards - town of Cut Eye, Texas. But, after nearly getting caught, something changes inside and he finds himself walking into the sheriff's office to return the money, but never admitting his role in its disappearance. Suspicious that Rowdy had more to do with it than he admits, the sheriff gives him a crazy proposal - serve one year as the minister at the Cut Eye Community Church or head for the slammer. Seeing it's either ministry or a jail cell, Rowdy gets to work. But he soon discovers that there's more to being a minister than meets the eye. Between learning about the work from the former pastor, the beautiful Bobbie Barker, visiting parishioners, fist fighting with the bar crowd to get more men to attend, or trying to figure out how to write a sermon (his first - how to skin a squirrel - didn't go over very well), Rowdy is in over his head but working hard to carve out a new life. I received Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton compliments of Side Door Communications and River North Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and received a complimentary copy of the book to review. This is such a great novel, because of the humor you find when Rowdy attempts to go straight from his first sermon to his unique way of getting more people to church by taking on all the men who would rather frequent the tavern on Friday night than attend church. It's truly about a man finding his true identity and not the one everyone see's from the outside. It's about finding true forgiveness and second chances where you'd least expect to find them and getting your fill of more than just great food. It's message has a more powerful delivery being told as a fiction than as a non fiction and one that will last long after you finish the final page. I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
Did I enjoy this book: I loved it. I’ve been in a reading slump lately — I’m not sure why, but much of what’s been coming across my desk has been sub-par. I agreed to review this book because we lost a reviewer and it was already in the queue, so let’s just say I was less than excited to read a book I didn’t actually choose in a genre I don’t usually enjoy after a long string of disappointing reads. It turns out this book was exactly what I needed. Brotherton is a wonderful writer. His use of slang and accents is masterful, his storytelling undulates in all the right places, and just when you think he’s wrapping things up, he’s got a whole half of a book to go. He’s forced me to give a book in a genre I don’t like about a topic I don’t usually enjoy with a setting I almost never choose five great big Texas-sized stars. Well done, Mr. Brotherton. Well done. Would I recommend it: Absolutely. As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Books. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Marcus Brotherton has woven out a remarkable tale of forgiveness and redemption. The main character Sergeant Rowdy Slater is faced with a decision—either be tried and subsequently put in jail for robbing a bank, or trust in the wisdom of small town sheriff who, for some reason has taken him under his wing. Feast for Thieves keeps your grounded to the page. I recommend this book highly!
“Rowdy” Slater isn’t a bad man. He’s a man trying to do what’s right, in a world post-WWII. So, when the sheriff decides to let him choose between serving time in jail or serving one year as the town’s preacher, he chooses the latter. Little does he know this decision will change both his own life and the town of Cut Eye, TX. Feast for Thieves is a feel-good story of learning from the lord and embracing our sins. This is a heartwarming read full of the fast-paced adventures of Rowdy Slater and all of the precarious circumstances he finds himself in on his path to redemption. The characters within are both parts pleasant and hard fought, lyrical and violent. Brotherton creates a story well done in capturing the importance of God and showing us that no one is ever “too far gone” to save. The story may be fictional, but the lessons are very, very real. *Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
“Preaching or Prison – an impossible choice for a man who usually solves his problems with a rifle or his fists.” Just like so many other soldiers coming home from the war, Sergeant Rowdy Slater has had trouble finding a job. Prior to going away to war her left his daughter in the care of a couple who have taken advantage of his ability to pay them for her care. He now owes them a lot of money and they are threatening to use her in their business is he does not pay them. With no way to pay them, he teams up with Crazy Ake and robs the bank in Cut Eye, Texas. With the police after them, they jump into the river with the bag of money. When Rowdy finally comes out of the river, he cannot see Crazy Ake. But he still has the bag of money. He regrets what he has done and does not want he money. After taking off, he returns to get the money and takes it to the local law enforcement office. The sheriff has the money counted and finds out it is exactly what was stolen from the bank. But he does not question Rowdy. Instead he sentences Rowdy to a year pastoring the community church in Cut Eye. Rowdy quickly finds out the job is not a easy as he thinks it will be. He has no knowledge of preaching and works with the sheriff's daughter to learn how to pastor the church and community. Before the end of his year comes, Crazy Ake is back and forcing Rowdy to help him with other crimes. The people who are watching his daughter refuse to give her back to him. And now he is facing legal charges and may be charged with his crimes. Feast For Thieves by Marcus Brotherton is a very good book! It has a lot of action that takes place as well as humor and romance mixed in with the story. It is not surprising that Rowdy starts to remember about his Sunday School years or that he starts to believe what he is preaching. I found his first sermon to be funny. I could not believe the author would think of something like skinning a squirrel as his first sermon. I also though the way he went about winning people over to the church was very unique. If you like reading historical fiction, especially those based in the 1940's, you will love this book! I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishing and this is my honest review.
An Offer You Can't Refuse! Become a pastor for a year, or go to jail. What would you choose? Imagine a guy named Rowdy, who did many brave things during World War II. He received recognition and advancement in rank, only to lose it all at the end of the war. All because Rowdy attempted to defend a lady's honor, he was unfairly jailed, and stripped of everything he achieved in the military. While in prison, he is befriended by Crazy Ake. He is a handy guy to have on your side inside the jail, but a real liability outside of it. After his release from prison, Rowdy finds himself broke and down on his luck. Rowdy unwisely agrees to pull a holdup in a small Texas town with Crazy Ake. In the confusion after the robbery, they are separated, and Rowdy ends up with all the cash. Rowdy then decides to turn himself in to the local sheriff, and return all the money. And that is when the story really gets interesting, because the sheriff makes him a most unusual offer. If Rowdy will take over as the minister of their local church, and do the job for a year, his debt will be paid. No jail time will need to be served. The author takes us on a wild ride while Rowdy, who has no religious background whatsoever, attempts to pastor a church. While doing that, he starts learning about God, reading the Bible, and he is instructed by the sheriff's single daughter on how to be a pastor. But he is also being pulled back into the dark side by Crazy Ake, even when Rowdy doesn't want to be. Before this book is over there is humor from the church people, and Rowdy's attempts to pastor them. There is also danger, stolen money, and an ending full of twists and turns. This is a very original story idea. The author does a great job telling this tale, of making you actually believe something like this could happen. Envision a robber who wants to return all the stolen money, and is then given the choice of becoming a pastor, or going to jail. It is such an outrageous idea, but because it is, it will make you think, what would happen if such a choice was given to someone in real life? It is so crazy, that it is almost believable, in the category of truth is stranger than fiction, that is. There is also some very good Christian theology interjected between all that is happening in Rowdy's often crazy life. Some seamier sides of life are referred to, but not gone into detail about. I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who enjoys well-written fiction. The publisher has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of A Feast for Thieves, through Moody Publishing for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Another name has joined Father Tim and the Reverend John Ames in my directory of beloved fictional pastors. Rowdy Slater stands apart from the others (and from most real life pastors, I expect) in two important ways: 1. Neither Fr. Tim nor the Rev. Ames could look out over his congregation and say, “At one time or another, I’ve punched most of them in the face.” 2. Neither answered his call to the ministry in order to avoid jail time. In Feast for Thieves, Marcus Brotherton has created a work of fiction that kept me turning pages long after I should have turned out the light, while, at the same time, setting forth a prototype for pastoral training and development. From the moment of his first exposure to truth, Rowdy was a conflicted prophet with mixed and often misguided motives. Rising to announce his salvation, but distracted by the smell of bacon, he offends a benevolent preacher and misses out on the free breakfast. Later on, mindful of his responsibility to his daughter, he risks everything to honor an “obligation” to an evil man from his past. Fist-fights and white knuckle journeys at gunpoint move the plot along, but there’s a delightful homeliness to the steady rhythm of Rowdy’s feeling his way into the ministry. In his pastoral role, Rowdy’s ignorance is refreshing. He lands with both feet in the first chapter of Genesis and, by including directions for field dressing a squirrel, manages to stretch his first sermon to three full minutes. Although green as grass, Rowdy is spared none of the politics of the pastorate. By failing to omit the third verse of “Shall We Gather at the River,” he earns himself an anonymous nasty note (“That is the way we have always done things around here . . .”) and discovers the perennial church music debate. By loving a post-World War II congregation, he is baptized into the “mix and mingle of a world of pain,” and gets shot at for his trouble. He takes pastoral counseling in stride with more homespun wisdom than biblical knowledge (“Well, it’s worth a wait and see.”); and, within days of taking on his position, he launches a successful building program. Rev. Rowdy does systematic theology on the fly, but asks all the right questions (“How did God ever know about losing a son?”). Problem is that by the time trouble from his past comes calling, it’s too late to bail out — Rowdy already cared too much. Marcus Brotherton has populated Cut Eye, Texas with a cast of characters that both showcase and facilitate Rowdy’s transformation from a drifting and dishonorably discharged former WWII paratrooper to a young man with the heart of a shepherd. There’s Miss Bobbie, the sheriff’s single missionary daughter who had kept the church doors open throughout the war in Rosie the Riveter style; then, there’s her dad, Sheriff Halligan who believes in Rowdy and the town of Cut Eye in equal measure and dreams a future for both. No congregation is complete without its version of Mert, the crusty church secretary, and no Texas town would be believable without its Deuce Gibbons, ringleader of the rabble-rousers. Eventually, nearly the whole town ends up sitting in the pews, from Deputy Roy (who plays “older brother” to Rowdy’s prodigal) and Cut Eye’s shady mayor to the town floozies and ne’er do wells. Then, there’s faithful Goomer who just wants to hook Rowdy up with some reliable transportation. Whether the stuff of epiphany or imagination, the “lawman beside the river” who invited Rowdy to “find the good meal and eat your fill” got a good thing going for the town of Cut Eye — and for Rowdy. With his feet under the table at the Pine Oak Café and his heart committed to the body of Christ at Cut Eye, Texas, he just may be on his way to “eating the good of the land,” and let us all remember that whenever any of us come to that table, it’s a feast for thieves. This book was provided by River North Fiction, a division of Moody Publishers, in exchange for my unbiased review.
If there was ever a book that should NOT be judged by its cover, this would be it. From the cover I was expecting it to be more warish . . . but it isn't. In fact it is downright humorous in spots. Which was a complete surprise. I've enjoyed several of Marcus Brotherton's nonfiction books so I knew he was a very talented writer. But this first work of fiction really reveals that he is a master wordsmith. It is my hope that he continues to bless us with more of these tales from his imagination. The characters in this novel are what make the whole story sing. They are quirky in a way that only small-town folks can be. There's just something about people that know each other so well that they can't stand each other yet love them at the same time. One of the elements that Marcus used in this story was area specific dialogue. I'm from a Southernish area and some of the phrases that his characters used just made me laugh out loud. That is exactly how my people sound! Above all else that I loved about this story was the redemption theme throughout. We're never far away from falling into a pit ourselves and we should remember that when we see someone stumble. Reach out and give them a hand and help them stand up again. Sherrif Barker took a chance on Rowdy and it changed everything, for Rowdy and the entire town. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
I loved this book! As a preacher's kid and wife, this book had me in stitches, the concept was so fun. I laughed and cried my way through the book. Most definitely a book that I will be keeping, but first I have to let my daddy read it. Rowdy was a bit slow sometimes knowing what was going on, but when he caught on, he was sharp as a tack. I have to say my favorite scene was his first sermon and the reaction of the congregation. The old lady slapping him had me nearly howling. This book was great. I also enjoyed the bit at the end, that the author included about where he got the inspiration for the story. Very interesting information, I hope some of the family sees this book and contacts him. 5 stars from this reviewer. This book was provided for review purposes only, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. No payment was received for this review.
Monday, September 29, 2014 Feast for Thieves, Debut Novel by Marcus Brotherton, © 2014 A Rowdy Slater Novel Author Marcus Brotherton's first historical fiction novel released three weeks ago, following his several non-fiction books. I am encouraged by seeing "A Rowdy Slater Novel" upon reading Feast for Thieves, in hopes there will be further writings about this protagonist! Cut Eye, Texas, in 1946 is looking for just the change Zearl "Rowdy" Slater can bring ~ but... they don't know it yet, nor does Rowdy. In fact, he tries to leave Cut Eye but heads back to right a wrong. Inconceivably, Sheriff Halligan Barker suspects he has just the job for Rowdy, and calls Rowdy's former commander, Colonel Robert Sink, for a reference. Just as he suspected ~ Rowdy is his man. Rowdy is experienced in bar fights, sharpshooter, and he has a conscience. Rowdy has a goal of staying out of jail by surviving a full year in Cut Eye as ~* the new Cut Eye Community Church preacher, Rev'rund Rowdy Slater. Beginning the story, I think of Jan Karon's fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The dialogue is tuned to the times and location, and the town has its distrustful and suspicious, grumps you can never seem to please, and those who think they are in charge. Sheriff Barker says to meet with Bobbie ~ whom Rowdy thinks is Bobby ~ until he meets a young woman who instructs him of his duties, taking over for her so she can go to language school to prepare as an overseas missionary. You will not be disappointed in the turns and twists that come Rowdy's way. I especially liked how his ingenious way brings the men to church. He gets to know the people in the small town repeatedly. Meals at Cisco Wayman's café come with his job ~ except the first morning he finds the proprietor doesn't know that. Hungry, he is turned away. Fortunate for him, Mrs. Wayman knows to feed him when he returns on her shift. The church secretary has been there eighteen years and likes things done in a certain way, especially punctuality. I liked how Rowdy becomes endeared to the townspeople. He doesn't always get it right, learning along the way. Feast for Thieves is a humorous, growing, example of a life that is changed that gives hope. Choices: forgiveness and second chances are real and available for all. Long thought on after the last page, Feast for Thieves feeds hungry souls beyond their appetite for food. I read this book in two days, only because I finally needed to go to bed! Great works; applicable to any generation. ***Thank you to author Marcus Brotherton for this fine story and to Moody Publishers/River North for sending me this review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
Sometimes I request and book to review and then worry that I might regret it. That happened with this book BEFORE I read it. However, once I opened the book I didn’t want to put it down. It. Was. So. Good. From the first page you are thrown in to the wild world of Rowdy Slater and each page after brings a new twist and turn. Sometimes fun twists, sometimes tense twist. You just never know. But there is never a dull moment in this book. Rowdy is such a likeable character in a very odd way. He isn’t really a nice guy at first but Marcus did a fabulous job of making me care about this rough and tumble man, who seems to be trying to find out where he fits in the world now that the war is over. Sometimes I just wished he would keep his mouth shut, it seems to get him into a lot of trouble. I couldn’t wait to see how or if God would get a hold of this man. Marcus has written a wonderful story and I say that coming from the fact that this is not my typical read. Men and women and alike would enjoy this book. I can’t wait to read more about Rowdy and his adventures. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.