cover image Miracles in Maggody

Miracles in Maggody

Joan Hess. Dutton Books, $20.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-525-94051-7

You'd think by now, with the ninth appearance of sharp-witted, sharp-tongued Police Chief Arly Hanks, the shysters and quacks of this world would know to steer clear of Maggody, Ark., pop. 755. But handsome, slick televangelist Malachi Hope has his eyes set on developing a Christian theme park on the outskirts of town; and his silken promises of miracle cures, prosperity and fame for the region draw crowds of contributing believers to his nightly laser-lit revival meetings. While most of the locals see their own dreams depicted in the Reverend's vision of Maggody's future, skeptical Arly, who spent some time in Manhattan, doesn't trust Hope, nor his entourage, including his glamourous wife and her sullen teenage sister. The girls' basketball coach is found dead in the high-school gym, a murder quickly followed by another. To track the killer, Arly goes behind the scenes of Hope's organization and into the equally daunting world of local teendom. From Brother Verber, scoping out the threat to his congregation in disguise, to the massive and newly pregnant Dahlia Buchanon, who resumes her junk-food diet after Hope says Jesus has cured her diabetes, the citizens of Maggody continue to deliver guaranteed laugh-out-loud entertainment. (Nov.)