by Jeff Berryman
"Loreen is her name—the gnarly old woman in the angel costume who accosts Cyrus Manning near the dance floor of the Down Under. A gift is coming, she tells him. 'The gift to die for.'"
For eleven years, Cyrus has pastored the First Church of Ruin, a small city deep in the barrens of West Texas. His life, much like the surrounding plains, looks bleak—strained relationships at home, ineffective ministry, and a congregation that no longer wants him. Hoping to hear a word from God, he gets little more than the occasional headache and the silence of a near-dead wind.
As the inevitable congregational vote bears down on the muttering preacher, his luck changes—it gets worse. The arrival of a former lover, the death of a dear friend, and a blatantly rejected prayer increase Cyrus' inner pressure, and the call of missed lives becomes palpable. Loping toward the unknown, Cyrus faces roads filled with fevered dreams, wandering messiahs, and the occasional rare gift—remember the prophecy—and, as he chooses his way, he is horrified and amazed to discover that his life may not turn out at all like he'd planned.
In this richly textured novel, the world of the small town congregation is revealed—its natural wonders, its natural cruelties and, here and there, breathtaking moments of unnatural grace.
Dimensions (inches): 8.5 x 5.5
Weight (pounds): 1.3