Davis L. Temple, Jr.
Preacherman is a worthy successor and prequel to Davis Temple’s award-winning Two Letters Then Booger Den, where we first meet the evil Reverend Longley. This book, the story of Charles Longley, has been compared to Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry. However, while Gantry was a grotesquely vulgar character, the Preacherman reader will find Longley a sympathetic character as he struggles with the forces of good and evil that tear his life asunder.
Through it all, Charles struggles to escape grinding poverty, gain an education, and become a great preacher. His search for love is a compulsion that drives him down torturous roads. People close to Charles, especially the women he loves, die, sometimes terribly, sometimes mysteriously. Though Charles struggles to become a man of God, the forces of evil prevail. He becomes a comically tragic figure without thought for others and allows himself to be caught up, however unwillingly, in a classic pact with the Devil, who, at times, speaks to him in the form of his dead father.
Readers are challenged to decide whether the evil side of Charles Longley is a product of inherited genes, possession by the Devil, mental illness, or all three. A surprising twist in the Epilogue may provide a clue.
The author’s skill with Southern dialogue and abundant humorous circumstances provide a balance for the darker elements of Preacherman.