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About the author:
This is Monte Dutton's third novel. The first two, The Audacity of Dope (2011) and The Intangibles (2013) were published by Neverland Publishing, LLC, of Miami, Florida. A fourth, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, was recently released in Kindle. A print edition will be available soon.
A native and resident of Clinton, South Carolina, Mr. Dutton graduated from Furman University and spent twenty years writing about NASCAR in newspapers, periodicals, books and websites.
Dutton writes short stories, essays, and reviews at wellpilgrim.wordpress.com and mostly non-fiction at montedutton.com. He is on Twitter @montedutton and Facebook at Monte.Dutton.
Crazy of Natural Causes
Chance Benford is in need of redemption, even though, at the beginning of Monte Dutton's Crazy by Natural Causes, he doesn't know why.
Even while coaching the Elmore County Mustangs to their best season in twenty-one years, Benford is a wreck. His wife's left him. He's losing whatever morals he ever had, and one result is a crushing upset achieved disgracefully by him and his charges.
In the beginning, Benford is a bad man, and bad things happen to him.
After being fired for hosting a scandalous party at his Kentucky hilltop home, Benford smokes marijuana with his team's best player, hops in his pickup truck, pulls out of the school parking lot and, almost immediately, a coal miner, drug-addled himself, runs his car head-on into Benford's truck. The coach has to be transported by helicopter to a Lexington hospital, where there he lapses into a coma. The miner wasn't so fortunate.
From rock bottom is Benford born anew.
While repairing him, doctors discover the reason for Benford's amorality: a benign tumor in his brain. He recalls nothing of the thirty days leading up to his near-death.
During a long process of arduous rehabilitation, Benford occupies himself by reading the Bible, cover to cover. What interests him most is Jesus in the context of man, not Son of God. The Lord's wisdom, not His miracles, inspire Benford's recovery.
Benford doesn't know what he's going to do. The school board never went through with his firing, given the accident, and Benford just drifts along. Two of his former players, Wally Ruff and Zeke Runnels, come to his rescue, as does Keely Packson, the single mother of another.
Reluctantly, Benford accepts an invitation to speak of his ordeal at a local church. Wally captures his inspirational talk on video, which then goes viral on Youtube. All of a sudden, Benford is in demand. His story reaches the attention of a major television network after a local TV reporter latches onto it.
Wally heads off to play college football. Zeke goes on the road and becomes Benford's man Friday. Keely gives up her job at an insurance agency and manages his affairs. Chance makes peace with his ex-wife, and he and Keely become lovers.
Success brings with it complications, however, and the skeletons in Benford's closet rise up against him. Never mind that he doesn't even remember them.
Benford's saga is a fable of life's absurdity. He is a survivor, repeatedly knocked off his stride by a series of unexpected events and changing his playbook on the fly.
By the end of Crazy by Natural Causes, Chance Benford's struggle is that of a good man, but not a holy one.
"I thoroughly enjoyed [Chance] Benford's unique journey. Whatever his motivation, he's a character one cannot take their eyes off of. Dutton obviously loves his star coach, and it shows in this novel. He writes with confidence and a sharp eye to the southern experience. A sense of place resonated strongly with me, as did the ambience of the Bible Belt. The state of Kentucky also played a starring role along with Benford. This is an entertaining book that goes off on guitar riffs from time to time, but stick with the concert because the promise is fulfilled." -- Joseph Souza, author of Need To Find You
- Publication Date:
- 1530854792 / 9781530854790
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6.69" x 9.61"
- Black and White
- Related Categories:
- Fiction / Literary