Reverend Ripple$ Building Fund

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
363 Pages
Reviewed on 11/06/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Reverend Ripple$ Building Fund, by award-winning author Tank Gunner, is a completely entertaining and enjoyable work of historical fiction with a unique premise and charismatic characters. The story opens in 1956. Meet the Reverend Bobby Ripples, who is a fake preacher, a thief, former convict, and con man. He has a thirst for fame and fortune, milks congregations by selling prayer cloths and raking in donations, and tries to avoid a church audit of his monetary practices. He has a plan to fix all of this by getting two church members named Boo and Clem to transport a bag of cash to his Dallas investors. But these two don't have a clue as to how the preacher is using them, and they wind up in a sticky situation where Elvis Presley enters the picture. Among the cast of memorable characters, you'll find Bobby's former celly Fuzzy Weaver, and Claudette Coleman who has ambitions of her own.

Gunner delivers again with a colorful plot and jump-off-the-page characters. Bobby is an especially intriguing personality, who can't seem to escape his crooked nature and sketchy past. It's the characters that lead you through this story, namely Robert Ripples. Getting to know him through dialogue and the other characters he interacts with, you can't help but want to like him. He has an endearing quality; a charm that is perfect for preaching--and swindling. This author's talent shines as he recreates a time in history, settings you get a real feel for, and dialogue that moves the plot along at just the right pace. Reverend Ripple$ Building Fund by Tank Gunner would make a great, fun movie, and is the perfect choice for fans of quirky, character-driven fiction.

Vincent Dublado

Reverend Ripple$ Building Fund by Tank Gunner is a fascinating tale that reveals the exploits of Bobby Ripples—a thief, ex-con, and a fake preacher. For two dollars, he is ordained as a preacher. His Certificate of Ordination states that he is to fulfill the ministry and present the views and verses of the doctrines of the biblical gospels to his flock under the Church of Heavenly Inspiration and Perpetual Spirit (CHIPS). Any denomination is fine with him, but his favorite denomination is the one with President Andrew Jackson’s picture. Despite not being a real preacher, he has the gift of gab and sure knows how to motivate folks. His congregation is more than eager to fill his coffers, and the building fund he had inherited for CHIPS is prosperous. As his enjoyment of the personal proceeds is getting out of hand, he will soon face the threat of a meticulous audit that will force him to decide between fighting and fleeing.

It’s impressive the way Reverend Ripple$ Building Fund opens and builds so strongly and manages to sustain a satisfying ending. The storyline really develops as it completes the arc of the con-man as a preacher. Tank Gunner’s writing has considerable qualities. One, in particular, is the way he creates characters that reminds me of the way Elmore Leonard created the rogues in his novels. As the main character, Right Reverend Robert Ripples provides the story with a compelling center. He is not exactly a righteous man, but you will find him sympathetic enough as a man who is seedy and cunning, yet searching for a new beginning. With fascinating characters and an intriguing storyline, this novel will keep you reading long enough to find out what will become of the Reverend’s fate at the end.

Rabia Tanveer

Reverend Ripple$ Building Fund by Tank Gunner follows the story of an ex-con and thief who pretends to be a preacher. Bobby Ripples was an ex-con looking for a fresh start. Does that mean he was ready to let go of his thieving, conniving ways? Not really, but a fresh start is a fresh start. Starting over in an East Texas town is the perfect opportunity for him to blend in and start anew. So, he did what he does best: pretend to be someone he is not. He took up the moniker of Reverend Robert Ripples and started to skim the deposits from the church. But getting away with his trickery was not easy this time. Momma Julia was ready for an audit, and Bobby had to decide if he was going to run away or stay and fight.

Reverend Ripple$ Building Fund is the second novel I have read by author Tank Gunner, and I have to say, I am a fan. His writing style is unique yet very soothing at the time. I felt like listening to an old friend sharing tales from our years apart. As is the norm with Tank Gunner, Bobby’s character is shady, faulty, and very much human. He was an antihero, someone who we know is not a good person, yet we love him. Bobby got a thrill from his lifestyle and enjoyed it. He was cunning, sly, and very smart. Bobby knew he had to make a decision very quickly, and he did manage to do this. The dialogues were fantastic, and I especially enjoyed how quirky Bobby was with Boo Ballard. I loved this book!