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Somervill Charles

Faith, Hope,…and Murder

All Billy Ray, deputy sheriff, wants to do is to fulfill his mission as a righteous warrior in the community of Granbury, Texas, even if he needs to kill a few more to accomplish this. Then the county hires a former homicide detective, Mark Travis, to work the cold cases—Billy’s first fixes. Caught in the middle is Lori, Mark’s wife, a smoldering red-headed minister, who challenges Billy to be less righteous. Can Mark assemble the clues in time to save Billy’s next victim, Lori?

In writing Coming to Faith, I remembered the gentleness and humor of Jan Karon’s characters in the Mitford Series and then injected it with the demented private world of a killer in the style of John Sandford’s Prey Series. This combination of good and evil develops within the framework of the main characters coming to faith. Even the killer evolves but in a much less desirable direction.

The surroundings are familiar. Near the square, the one hundred and thirty year old white wooden church is where Lori Travis preaches–and where I was pastor for 18 years. A large ranch six miles outside of Granbury filled with cacti, bluebonnets, spreading oak trees and sharp rocks is where Billy Ray lives (and buries his bodies)–and I fish there on Mondays. In Fort Worth thirty miles east of Granbury, Sally Mae graduated from Texas Christian University–and I teach there on Tuesday evenings. I coach the DA (Rob Galloway) when he campaigns and I play racquetball with a retired Fort Worth homicide detective (Mark Travis). I live with my characters.

My educational experiences also relate to the story including an MDiv from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary (Lori Travis), an MA in psychology from Eastern New Mexico University (Rex Barkley), and a PhD in communication from The University of Oklahoma (Mark Travis).

The completed manuscript is under 68,000 words. No images or illustrations are planned.

Books authored and co-authored:

Three with Westminster/John Knox Press, Stepfathers: Struggles and Solutions, Leadership Strategies for Ministers, and Media Handbook for Churches (with Kerry Townsend)
One with Judson Press, Overcoming Communication Barriers in the Church (with Wayland Cummings)

I’ve also contributed to The Minister’s Annual Manual (Logos) for the past three years–prayers, sermons and an article on “Sermon Making.

Platform:

Book signings and presentations: The Communication Departments in TCU and The University of Oklahoma, churches in the North Texas area including ones in Fort Worth, Dallas and Waco, two book clubs in Granbury, and The Writer’s Bloc–a writer’s group in Granbury

Articles and announcements: Hood County News, Grace Presbytery newsletter, Presbyterian Church newsletters, and The Minister’s Annual Manual,


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