by Dean Poling
on January 14, 2018, he wrote:
Fred Howard performs a neat and worthwhile trick with his novel, “Children of Covenant.”
He writes a socially conscious whodunit. The book is intriguing as both a mystery and as a philosophical consideration into culture and religions. All with an overarching theme of compassion for one another.
The plot: A businessman is found dead in a small South Georgia town. A Muslim resident is accused of killing the businessman. Ike Benheart, a church minister, becomes involved in the case because he suspects the businessman wasn’t murdered. Instead, he believes the businessman committed suicide because family and neighbors could not accept his homosexuality. Benheart makes other discoveries about the case and himself along the way.
The book’s town, August Valley, Ga., is loosely based on Valdosta. Even more fun for South Georgia readers, several of the characters’ names are based on Valdosta street names; the businessman, for example, is named Lee Street.
Howard serves as pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Valdosta. He is also the author of “Transforming Faith; Stories of Change from A Lifelong Spiritual Seeker,” where Howard shares sermons, drawing upon life experiences, popular culture and observation to tell his parables.
“Children of Covenant” is a beautifully realized novel. The characters are full and believable. The story is compelling – a page turner that is thought provoking. The sentences are eloquent.