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"Say Jesus and Come to Me"
by Ann Shockley

Review by John Gabree

Myrtle Black is a preacher, an imposing woman whose majestic presence and expensive gowns have brought more than a few sinners trembling into Jesus' embrace. Rev. Black is also a lesbian whose own embraces are reserved for the voluptuous young fired by her fervent preaching.

Travis Lee is a rhythm-and-blues star, burned out on bad drugs and worse relationships. Depressed at uncovering her kept lover's affair with the leader of her back-up group, profoundly hungover from a binge of drugs and booze, she decides to make Jesus her only man.

These unusual and charismatic women come together, in friendship and in love, during Myrtle's crusade against street vice in Nashville, Tenn. When Myrtle announces a women's march on City Hall, Travis' bitter ex-lover Rudy, now an ambitious pimp, sees a chance to exact a violent revenge. Meanwhile, her love for Travis forces Myrtle to come to grips with her secret life.

This novel is an unexpected pleasure, though it should be pointed out that it may offend some churchgoers. But like her first book, "Loving Her," also a paperback original, Ann Shockley's newer story is gripping. The novel has some structural problems, but the characters are believable and their conflicts far from run-of-the-mill. "Say Jesus and Come to Me" should appeal both to those who are looking for an entertaining read and to those who use fiction as a vehicle to visit exotic social locales. (1985)

Buy Say Jesus and Come to Me by Ann Shockley



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