Abilene’s Les Hammond gets the reader’s attention right away in the first sentence of his debut novel, The Arms of God.
“Mike Wakefield was fourteen years old the year Stella Clement shot Junior Clement dead.”
That was 1956. The Clements’ oldest son, Trace, was 8. Their other two children were sent back to East Texas to live with relatives. Trace was entrusted to the care of Wmearle Franklin, owner of the local machine and tool shop and one of the most respected men in town.
From a distance – always from a distance – Trace’s wealthy grandfather, Fowler Clement, keeps tabs on the youngster without his knowing it.
The story picks up eight years later when Trace is 16 and is part of a secret “gang” of local boys, headed by Mike Wakefield, who go around helping people in need, all done anonymously.
The novel basically revolves around Trace’s life over the next 12 years, including a Mexican jail and Marine combat duty in Vietnam, and his almost non-existent relationship with his grandfather, which Trace finds hard to understand.
The Arms of God is a well-written, upbeat novel filled with characters you can’t help but like, especially Trace Clement and Wmearle. The title refers to the Brazos River, which flows through the West Texas tale.
Les Hammond, retired financial executive and volunteer prison chaplain, will sign copies of his novel from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at Texas Star Trading Company. Come by and say hello and pick up a copy of his book (Christian Faith Publishing, 295 pages, $19.95 paperback).
If you’d like to order the book, give us a call at 325-672-9696 and we’ll take your order.