Thursday, September 07, 2006

If It's Thursday, Pass the Salt

It's not often that I suggest a book I haven't technically read yet. On September 5th Howard Publishing released a book called The Election by Jerome Teel, an attorney from Jackson, Tennessee.

I don't know Jerome Teel personally, but as a reader of manuscripts, I sometimes come across one that stays with me. This was one of those cases. I read quite a few manuscripts, give feedback, and then, sometimes never hear another word about an author or their manuscript. This manuscript had that something special. I'm a fan of John Grisham and so, when I finished that manuscript, I could see the similarities, even in an early form. Teel graduated from the same University of Mississippi law school as Grisham and plenty of political fiction has come out, following in Grisham's footsteps. This book, however, has a strong Christian stance. To top off my interest in the manuscript, Teel lives in my beloved Tennessee and sets his book there. If I were an editor or publisher, I thought, I'd jump at signing this author and his book. I'm pleased that it has been published and I look forward to reading it in the published form. I won't be getting it from my boss at Church Libraries magazine, however. Lin Johnson, editor of the book review magazine, Church Libraries, kept it for herself to review, and has already said, "it robbed me of sleep," the ultimate pronouncement of a good book.

At American Family Association Online, Randall Murphree interviewed Teel. Teel talks about his background and how he came to write his novel for the Christian market. As Murphree's review says about the plot,"Its unlikely hero is Jake Reed, a young lawyer who stumbles upon a diabolical plot that implicates a presidential candidate in a contract murder. Thus Reed finds himself overwhelmed in political intrigue that was far beyond his imagining."

Attorney Reed gets involved in tracking down a murderer when he decides to defend underdog, Jed McClellan. I love an underdog and I love a good political thriller. So, for my first "Feature My Neighbor" Thursday, it is not surprising that I tapped Jerome Teel's blog and somehow managed to drag in the fact that he's a writer who just published his first novel (and that he's from Tennessee.) I'm sure that his editor, Terry Whalin, fiction acquisitions editor at Howard Publishing, can be quite proud of acquiring such a strong first-time novelist. With the 2008 Presidential election looming large, The Election is sure to garner some interest to show how wrong things can go when morals and scruples are left behind on the political trail.

Teel is already working on his next book while publicizing this one (and if you're going to write fiction, that's the way it is.) Get this book, The Election, and then, get ready for his next book, which Murphree ascertained from Teel is "tentatively titled The Divine Appointment. It focuses on a Christian president and his efforts to secure confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee."

Congratulations, Neighbor Jerome. I look forward to reading a lot more from you.