Calling by Joe Samuel Starnes

Calling by Joe Samuel Starnes

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On a bus outside Vegas, a washed-up gambler meets a strange preacher

As the bus rolls away from the Las Vegas strip, Timber Goodman screws his eyes shut and tries to keep his stomach from lurching. He came to Vegas in hopes of jump-starting his fading broadcasting career, but he leaves hung over and dead broke. Beside him sits a preacher in cowboy boots, whose only luggage is a Bible, a bottle of bourbon, and a razor-sharp bowie knife. This is Ezekiel Blizzard Jr., a disgraced man of God who's got a tale to tell-and doesn't care if Timber's listening. As Zeke's story winds on, Timber finds himself enraptured.

In this sweeping novel of the American South, Joe Samuel Starnes explores the gritty side of faith and shows that all it takes to save a wandering man is another lost soul.


"Calling is a powerful novel, one that features two men from the South—both much damaged by heredity and experience.  Starnes’s adept use of the journey motif and a colloquy between the two provide apt vehicles for this novel of personal disclosure, tragedy and tentative redemption for at least one of the men." —Jean W. Cash, author of Flannery O'Connor: A Life and Larry Brown: A Writer's Life.

“A beguiling, often hilarious tale of two American seekers who end up finding truths they hadn’t imagined on a bus ride through the desert.” —Alice Elliott Dark, author of Think of England

“A top-notch novel in the tradition of Harry Crews . . . Big plot turns that will keep readers turning pages.” —Athens Banner-Herald

“A hard-to-put-down tale . . . [like] a Frederick Buechner work, but edgier.” —The Charlotte Observer

“Sam Starnes has crafted a beguiling, often hilarious tale of two American seekers who end up finding truths they hadn’t imagined on a bus ride through the desert. . . . This is one of those novels that resonates long after the final page.” —Alice Elliott Dark, author of “In the Gloaming”

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