Plain Heathen Mischief

Moments after finishing a six-month sentence in the Roanoke jail for a crime he might not have committed, Baptist minister Joel King is served some unwelcome papers.  His wife wants a divorce, and the teenage vixen everyone believes he seduced is suing him for five million dollars.  Holding on to his faith with a white-knuckle grip, Joel accepts a ride out west with Edmund Brooks, a member of his former flock who has some Commandment-challenging ideas about helping Joel help himself.  From the author the New York Times Magazine called “the drinking man’s John Grisham,” Plain Heathen Mischief ranges from the cross to the double cross, from Virginia to Las Vegas, from courtrooms to trout streams, as Martin Clark follows his Job-like hero through dubious choices and high-dollar insurance scams to a redemption no reader could possibly predict.

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“Plain Heathen Mischief is a delightfully surprising book.  Its tricky plot and morally ambiguous characters recall Elmore Leonard, its deadpan humor and dead-on details evoke the Coen brothers’ films, and its coupling of over-the-top behavior with unflinching moral concern recalls…masters such as Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews.” –St. Petersburg Times

“Funny and hopeful and endearing…A brilliantly realized caper novel…full of finely honed characters and crisp dialogue…It is never short on surprises, twists and turns, all of which are well thought out and absolutely believable.” –The Anniston Star

“Only Martin Clark could have written this swirling cocktail of church, sin, and caper, and he pulls it off with great elegance.  Plain Heathen Mischief is funny and fascinating, but it is also a brave and spirited examination of faith, and of the fraud we perpetuate not just in the world, but in ourselves.” –Haven Kimmel

“A top-notch story from a truly original writer that defies the reader not to rip through every page with sheer delight.” –David Baldacci

“Both funny and deeply poignant, this story of a fallen minister displays Clark’s keen eye for the deftly rendered detail, as well as his compassionate understanding of the tremors that dwell in the soul and the heart.” –Elizabeth Strout

“Clark’s second novel is a delight from start to finish, delivering resoundingly on the promise of his well-received The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living. All in all, this is one of the year’s most entertaining surprises.” –Publishers Weekly (starred)

“An American fable that combines elements of the archetypal road story with one man’s quest for redemption.  Martin Clark is a skillful storyteller whose style recalls Thomas McGuane…filtered through a distinctive Southern prism.” –Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Those muffled thuds you hear off in the distance?  It’s Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard collapsing dead against the bathroom stall of crime fiction.  The man holding the smoking gun is one Martin Clark…whose second novel Plain Heathen Mischief thrusts him squarely out into the literary gangland of double crosses and repartee and doxies and leaves him the last man standing. Juicy characters and memorable dialogue make this book as pleasurable to inhale as a Krispy Kreme doughnut.” –Newsday

“Clark takes the gritty stuff of real life and transforms it into some of the richest, funniest and most affecting fiction being written today.  This book offers the best of both fictional worlds: It’s an entertaining, easily readable story that leaves you with a lot to think about, once you’ve stopped laughing.” –Winston-Salem Journal

“Filled with superbly sketched characters…as taut with a twisting plot-line as a classic country house whodunit, Plain Heathen Mischief is hilarious and incisive yet expansive in its examination of character and its generosity toward those who deserve it. A terrifically entertaining and thoughtful novel.” –Memphis Commercial Appeal

“The truth is that Clark’s a rising star in American letters…” –Charlotte Observer

“Plain Heathen Mischief is peopled with perfectly drawn characters and eccentrics, a human panoply that shuttles between the farcical and the heart-felt, all of them breathed full of vivid life by Clark’s astonishing literary skill.  Clark [is] a master of dialogue and a brilliant scenepainter.” –St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The Gospel may hit a mainstream high with Plain Heathen Mischief…Clark deftly handles all of the details of the criminal justice system, the psychology of its criminals and the difficulties of re-entering society.  Plot twists and turns around thievery and insurance fraud set between Roanoke, Virginia, Las Vegas and Missoula’s fly-fishing country remain outlandishly believable.  To the end, Plain Heathen Mischief remains an unpredictably good ride.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“Clark’s second novel is a pumped-up joyride across the rocky terrain of modern ethics and faith.  His prose is…in the manner of an enormous gourmet hot fudge sundae: sweet and wicked. Grade: A ” –Entertainment Weekly

“A rare, artful blend of droll friskiness and earnest integrity, Plain Heathen Mischief explores the consequences of shaky faith with flashes of humor and seriousness, but it is never self-righteous or preachy.  With delightfully deceitful characters and a perfectly imperfect zinger ending, Martin Clark’s second novel is one of the season’s most entertaining yarns.” –Miami Herald

“From page one to the final phrase…, Mischief is a roller-coaster ride of chicanery, double-crossing liars, bizarre lawsuits, duping, depositions and downright fun.  The jury did not have to deliberate long on this verdict: Plain Heathen Mischief is to be enjoyed.”
–Roanoke Times

“Fans of The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living, the first novel by…Martin Clark, will be pleased with his new novel, Plain Heathen Mischief…They share a freshness and originality that make them both quite appealing, and that makes Clark an author many of us will look to again, if only to see what he could possibly dream up next.” –Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Clark’s multi-layered, finely named comic novel is both thoughtful and laugh-out-loud funny.  Clark is a master of character development.  Even his minor characters are carefully drawn and convincing, and the dialogue sizzles like July Fourth sparklers…a wise and thoroughly enjoyable tale.” –Flint (Michigan) Journal Review

“Laugh out loud funny…I don’t know if it’s from being a judge and hearing case after case that Clark gets his wild plots from, but if so, I hope he sits on that bench for many years to come.” –Dan Wickett for EWN

“A well-paced, entertaining legal thriller…a modern-day morality play.” –The Memphis Flyer

“Quirky and idiosyncratic…[a] laugh-out-loud, road-to-ruin saga.” –Ft. Myers News-Press

“Satisfying…Clark bring[s] truth and fact to the surface in glittering flashes.” –Greensboro News & Record

“Plain Heathen Mischief is a breezy read with plenty of bite…it will provide a welcome respite from modern-day cynicism.” –Dallas Morning News

“Despite its narrative depth, this book zips by. Highly recommended.” –Library Journal

“A wicked, humorous yarn.” –Esquire

“[A] suspenseful, charming read that is one part John Grisham and two parts Tom Robbins.” –Playboy

“Clark effectively keeps us in suspense…there are scams within scams [and] entertaining twists of the plot hold plenty of surprises…” –Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Delectable. Clark’s characters are full-bodied, and his plot a weaving, rolling snowball that is both funny and thoughtful.” –The Oregonian


11 + 9 =

Literary Agent:

Anne-Lise Spitzer – Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency

Film and TV:

Josie Freedman – ICM Partners


Gabrielle Brooks – c/o Alfred A. Knopf Publishing