cover image Wonders Never Cease

Wonders Never Cease

Phil Callaway, . . Harvest House, $11.99 (276pp) ISBN 978-0-7369-0777-4

Terry Anderson, whom readers met in Calloway's first novel, Growing Up on the Edge of the World , returns six years older (he's 18) and not a whole lot wiser. His conservative church has driven him away from faith, and although Grace, Mont., isn't exactly a hotbed of sin, Terry has a gift for finding trouble. The party-loving agnostic smokes, drinks and listens to forbidden Rolling Stones records disguised in Bill Gaither album jackets. Things aren't so good at home—Terry's mother has Huntington's disease and spends her days in bed, and his father struggles to raise Terry's little nephew while holding his family together. Life gets stranger and stranger: Terry discovers a dead body in an abandoned Dodge Charger; household items begin to disappear; a mysterious envelope arrives. A fraudulent healer, a brotherhood ring and an old financial scam will keep the characters busy until the final pages. Callaway spins his tale in a dry, humorous voice, strongly reminiscent of Philip Gulley's Harmony series. The plot isn't particularly stellar, but what will delight readers are Callaway's dead-on depictions of smalltown, conservative Christian life. At some point, Callaway will discover he doesn't need to rely on improbably dramatic plots to carry future novels, and he will become a writer to reckon with. (July)