Snakewoman of Little Egypt - A Novel
Publisher: Walker Books
Jackson Jones is trying to decide whether to remain an anthropology professor in his small Midwestern town, or to return to doing fieldwork among the Mbuti people, in their African Garden of Eden. His ruminations are interrupted by the arrival of a late friend's niece, who has just been sprung from jail. Sunny admits that she shot her husband, an evangelical pastor from the Little Egypt region of Illinois, but he had it coming after forcing her to take on a rattle snake. As an anthropologist, Jackson is curious about Sunny's experiences with The Church of the Burning Bush; as a man, he is not immune to her backwoods sassiness. Although Sunny is pleased to be with a kind partner at last, she is also serious about her belated education--funded by her late uncle--at Jackson's university. French and herpetology compete for her attention, and Jackson's plan to take her to Paris to propose marriage are waylaid when she decides to travel to an academic conference with her biology professor instead. Jackson is crushed and heads for Little Egypt in Sunny's absence, to get to know her ex-husband and to study the snake-handling ceremonies at his evangelical church. Complications ensue, including Jackson's near-death experience and Sunny's murder of her ex, but fate is a positive force for all in the end. Packed with both information and emotion, Snakewoman of Little Egypt delivers Robert Hellenga at the top of his form.