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Killer Diller: A Novel Paperback – September 29, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345410300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345410306
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,876,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Good-natured North Carolina delinquent Wesley Benfield forms a controversial gospel band with his fellow halfway house inmates and falls in love in this whimsical sequel to Walking Across Egypt .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Through a federal grant, Ballard University, a Baptist school in North Carolina sponsors a halfway house with the optimistic name "Back on Track Again." Its residents teach skills such as masonry, sewing, and plumbing to the public school's special-education classes. Former car thief Wesley Benfield, first introduced in Edgerton's Walking Across Egypt (Algonquin, 1987), lives there and teaches the art of bricklaying to 16-year-old Vernon Jackson. Vernon, although mentally handicapped, has a vivid imagination and a talent for hard-headed arguments. He also has an incredible musical talent. YAs will delight in Edgerton's finely drawn and wonderfully human characters. In addition to Wesley and Vernon, they will meet Wesley's girlfriend, a resident of the the university's Christian diet center; Mattie Rigsby, the grandmotherly instrument of Wesley's reformation; and Ned and Ted Sears, the gladhanding president and provost who seem more interested in Universtiy expansion than the word of God. The book abounds with lighthearted situations and with subtle satirical undercurrents. Edgerton humorously chides the Christian college establishment for its judgmental attitudes and opportunistic behavior. Killer Diller will surely provide side-splitting comic relief in this day of social, economic, and political crises.
- Carol Clark, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Clyde Edgerton is the author of ten novels, a memoir, short stories, and essays. He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and teaches creative writing at UNC Wilmington. He lives in Wilmington, NC, with his wife, Kristina, and their children.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "naceywright" on January 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Eight years after the events of Walking Across Egypt, Edgerton resumes the story of now twenty-four-year-old Wesley Benfield, ex-con resident of a Baptist halfway house called BOTA (Back On Track Again). This sequel does what few sequels can: it outshines the original. I frequently laughed out loud and near the end, I was moved almost to tears. Edgerton is a Christian who can respectfully mine the foibles and humor of organized religion, specifically of his fellow Baptists, and more specifically of the men running Baptist colleges. The pompous Sears twins, Ted and Ned, are brilliantly drawn in their endless fund-raising and insensitivity to the genuinely disadvantaged. I was so pleased to find out that Mattie Rigsby was still alive at age 86, and that Wesley had promise despite his rocky start. As in Walking Across Egypt, though, Edgerton leaves us with a less than satisfying conclusion. Will Mattie be able to resume taking care of herself? Will Wesley end up back in jail? This time, there's no sequel, at least not yet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on June 26, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Personally, I liked Raney and Walking Across Egypt better than this one, but it's still pretty damn good. Wesley , the delinquent sort of adopted by Mrs. Mattie Rigsbee in Walking Across Egypt, is now 24, and still a bit of a handful. He's a resident in a Christian halfway house in rural North Carolina. There's a love interest, a band, and there's Vernon, who 'bout steals the show when he appears on the page. And of course Mattie herself, who is older still but still cooking up a storm.
Good story, great author; sequel to follow, surely.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Janice M. Hansen on November 2, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I anticipated this novel to capture the uniqueness of Walking Across Egypt. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
WAE introduced me to Mattie Rigsbee, an energetic, high-spirited senior that loves to cook and bake her way through life. She took in Wesley, a juevile delinquent, and gave him the love and encouragement he needed to become a fine, young man. Which is where _Killer Diller_ takes up.
Wesley is now at a strict Christian School, enrolled in a Project Promise Program that restructures, rehabilitates, and reprograms disadvantaged youths in the "only" way, the Baptist way. He attends classes, is in a band, and is a preceptor to an autistic boy named Vernon (who says "Killer Diller", hence the title) teaching Vernon how to lay bricks as part of another administration inspired program.
Influenced by Mattie to the Christian life style, Wesley enthusiastically embraces their philosophy without question. His remarkable "recovery" attracts the attention of the manipulative Christian College Administration. They scheme to use him and his band to advertise their Christian college and ultimately, orchestrate fund raising to fullfill their self-serving purposes. He begins to ask questions and seek answers to the confusing and conflicting interpretations of the bible and the self-serving actions of the college administration.
What seems to be lacking is Mattie's presence in the story. While she is "there" her character is minimized. The ending feels rushed and somehow unfulfilling. Christian and Bible hypocrisy is explored deeply in this story as Wesley searches for answers. While I feel Mr. Edgerton explored this aspect very skillfully, somehow it collectively fell flat in the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. MCCRACKEN on July 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
you will enjoy this book. Edgerton taught there and the similarities between the fictional Baptist university and CU are difficult to miss.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jen on September 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Killer Diller is another book about Mattie and Wesley, almost a sequel to Walking Across Egypt. Wesley is in a home that places strict rules and curfews on him. He is in a band. He is in love with an overweight woman, who is staying at the Nutrition House on Ballard University campus. Wesley is searching for the meaning of the bible and he begins preaching. He's also become a part of Project Promise, a chance to teach a mentally challenged child his talents. He gets this boy in his band playing bass. Then Mattie has a heart attack and Wesley tries to sneak out. He ends up in the hospital with Mattie! Mattie gets put in a nursing home, and Wesley's roommate, Ben, has been talking about escaping... This novel is pretty good. I enjoyed reading it, even though Mattie seems to have lost her spunk. If you've read Walking Across Egypt, then you should read Killer Diller, just to catch up with old Mattie and Wesley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By josh calder on May 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
this book is real funny. With a few different angles it gives a taste of religion with a twist. The book can be graphic at times though
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A Kid's Review on December 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
I recently found Walking Across Egypt while helping my 86 year old Mom clear out some old books. After reading it I had to move on to the next in the series, "Killer Diller". Set in North Carolina, Clyde Edgarton really catches the flavor of the south in developing this delicious cast of charachters. Easy reading that takes me away from stressful L.A. to the front porch of a slower paced lifestyle with laughs along the way. Walking Across Egypt [WALKING ACROSS EGYPT] [Mass Market Paperbound]
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