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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
400 pages
Jul 2004
Bethany House

Bad Ground

by W. Dale Cramer

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


"Cramer (Sutter's Cross) has a delicious way with a pen, whether he's crafting a lush Southern backdrop or offering glimpses of Jeremy's and Snake's interior lives. The sympathetic characters avoid the clichés so often found in CBA fiction, and Cramer somehow succeeds in making the horribly disfigured, hard-drinking Snake one of the book's most appealing characters. Rather than relying on the tired plots and settings often used in Christian novels, Cramer offers an unusual underground world that both repels and attracts the reader. Although a few scenes are too much of a stretch (Jeremy rides a deer; the miners have an encounter with Jimmy Carter), they are still engaging. With its notes of hope, humor and redemption, this delightful book exemplifies what good Christian fiction should aspire to."  -- Publisher's Weekly

"The lush landscape of South Georgia jars against the harsh beauty of the subterranean world of the hard-rock miners with satisfying clarity, and Cramer makes masterful use of both dialogue and description to get across his message of love, forgiveness and brotherhood in this intriguing coming-of-age novel." -- Bookpage, July 2004

"In a fiction market that mostly focuses on women, Cramer's second novel (after Sutter's Cross) offers a refreshingly inventive perspective with its portrait of the dangerous world of hard-rock mining and the men who do it for a living. The spritual message is clearly about the healing power of forgiveness, but the well-developed characters never fall into the cookie-cutter stereotype of being 'too perfect' as so often happens in Christian fiction. Both male and female readers will identify with Aiden Prine's physical and spiritual struggles. Highly recommended for all collections for it's excellent storytelling and believable characters." -- Library Journal, June 2004

Book Jacket:

A Boy Afraid of the Dark; a Man Afraid of the Light…

Deep in the earth, brilliant clusters of quartz crystals lie hidden in fissures and crevices—"pyramid-tipped spires huddled together like a miniature city, cracking the light into a thousand rainbow shards...salted with pinpoints of iron pyrite, glittering like tiny stars." But such treasures can only be found in fractured, unstable, dangerous earth—places miners simply call "bad ground."

Jeremy Prine, a fearful seventeen-year-old boy, needs to grow up, and fast. When Jeremy's mother dies, he finds himself seeking help from the unlikeliest of people--his estranged uncle, a badly scarred hard-rock miner. Uncle Aiden is a bitter recluse who, when he's not "making hole" underground, stays holed up in his apartment on the south side of Atlanta. But Jeremy's presence—and the memory he evokes—changes everything for both of them.

Insightful and profoundly stirring, abounding in warmth and humor, sifts the tough, gritty realities of life and work to uncover a man’s deep need for love, the bonds of family and brotherhood, the quest for meaning, and the longing for redemption.