By Carl Stagner
Watch out. There’s a pastor’s wife on the loose, and she’s wanted for the murder of an old high school friend. But she claims innocence. Yet while she attempts to discover who actually committed the crime, she puts herself in grave danger. Fortunately the experiences of this pastor’s wife are purely fictional, but the author who penned the new mystery novel from the perspective of the parsonage is 100-percent real. Carole Morden, wife of South Side Church of God pastor John Morden in St. Louis, Missouri, dared to practice what she preached to her small group and, as a result, saw her manuscript get published.
An avid reader, Carole Morden has turned the pages of countless books in her lifetime. But until Dry Bones, she’d never written a book. And she never expected that she would, either. “I do love mysteries and had never seen one with a pastor’s wife as the protagonist, and it seemed like a fun thing to try. I had written the story, but couldn’t find a publisher. I was teaching the small group study Greater with the Bible reference of 2 Kings 3:16 concerning digging ditches. As the leader I felt like I had to do the assignment I expected them to do. So I entered my novel in a contest and ended up getting published.”
According to a press release from Deep River Books, a pastor’s wife named Jamie Storm is “drawn out of the safety of her kitchen and into a world of danger when a dear friend from high school is murdered. Jamie learns she has inherited her friend’s estate, making her the number-one suspect in the murder.” To make matters worse, “as Jamie closes in on the killer, the killer closes in on her.”
As readers become familiar with Carole’s main character, they will no doubt notice some of the particular nuances of ministry life coming from what sometimes may feel like the passenger seat. “So many experiences happen as a pastor’s wife that we can’t really share,” Carole explains, “so this has been a wonderful outlet to gain perspective on events, as well as my inner responses. For years I worked with John in the ministry, not realizing I was losing so much of me,” Carole recalls. “I became an extension of the congregation and of John. My responses became similar to those of a five-year-old in Sunday school class who, regardless of the question, answers ‘Jesus’ because it will always be right. Jamie Storm discovers what pat answers have cost her soul, and how she needs to reconnect to God through her own heart.”
Dry Bones isn’t a seven-steps-to-revival handbook, nor is it an exegesis on Ezekiel 37. But it is written from a Christian perspective, and offers readers lighter fare, consisting of suspense, mystery, and clean humor. “This book is fun fiction, takes place in Anderson, Indiana, and involves murder, mayhem, and some spiritual growth and revelation,” Carole explains. “It does poke a bit of fun at the people in the pews and their views, but all with good love. I love the Church of God and its people but still, we can be a funny lot. And seriously, I wanted to read a Christian novel that didn’t make me roll my eyes.”
Included in the book’s press release is an endorsement from former Church of God Ministries editor and writer, Sam Collins: “Carole Morden offers a well-paced, intriguing tale of brutal murder, hidden motives, and lingering mystery. From the opening prologue her crisp, compact style pulls you in. She is a sharp-eyed observer who exposes the quirks of human nature and weaves subtle humor throughout her story of an ‘ordinary’ pastor’s wife drawn into extraordinary circumstances surrounding the death of a former high school classmate.”
For ordering information, visit www.deepriverbooks.com/books/dry-bones-a-novel-by-carole-morden.
Church of God clergy spouses are invited to attend a special breakfast during CHOG Convention 2015 on Tuesday, June 23, from 8:30 to 10:30 AM. Andy Thompson will serve as guest speaker, alongside hosts Maureen Lyon (wife of general director Jim Lyon) and Kim Grubbs (wife of Crossings Community Church pastor Marty Grubbs). Advance registration for the Clergy Spouse Breakfast is required, including a nominal fee of $10. Register by June 1 at https://cgm.formstack.com/forms/clergybrunch. Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.