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Sutter's Cross Paperback – January 1, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Contemporary offerings such as this well-crafted debut from Cramer give the evangelical Christian fiction market reason to hope that the term "excellent CBA novel" is not an oxymoron. When Harley, a homeless bearded bum, turns up at a church picnic in the little town of Sutter's Cross deep in the southern Appalachian Mountains, events are set in motion that will challenge the residents' status quo. Harley's countenance is eerily similar to the portrait of Jesus on the church's billboard at the entrance to town, painted by the unlikable Orde Wingo, an outspoken Sunday School teacher who perhaps overexemplifies the problems of fundamentalist Christianity (and is the only character who is overdrawn). Other finely developed characters, including the protagonist, Jake Mahaffey, are forced to confront the fears or pain of their pasts through the events of the present. More tension develops as ruthless visionary Web Holcombe is driven to turn Sutter's Cross into a glamorous resort destination. Cramer ambitiously weaves together multiple themes (father and son relationships, the battle over the area's development, the responsibility of the church to the disadvantaged, racial tension, adolescent angst, Harley's secret past), but his lovely writing keeps the carefully constructed plot moving at a moderate pace. One of the few missteps is the epilogue, which would have been better left to readers' imagination. In a CBA fiction market dominated by female readership, this contemporary novel should find an appreciative audience of both genders.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Cramer's Sutter's Cross tells the story of Harley, an itinerant, working-class fellow who shows up in the little town of Sutter's Cross, Georgia, and does good deeds. A Christ-figure, Harley is doomed to be misunderstood, but Jake Mahaffey, the point-of-view character with his own set of problems, comes to understand him, as does an old woman whose land is threatened by development. All of Cramer's characters are fully realized, and his love of the Appalachians comes shining through. This is a fine first novel.

John Mort
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764227831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764227837
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. I'm recommending it to all my friends and it is a welcomed addition to my 'lending library' shelves.
Sutter's Cross is a lovely, picturesque town in the mountains of northern Georgia where "the last long fingers of the Appalachians" end. It was named after the huge chestnut cross erected by Emanual Sutter, in 1817, as the headstone for the grave of his beloved son . Emanuel had been given the land as payment for service in the War of 1812.
People in Sutter's Cross were very comfortable with the way things were in their town until a homeless hicker named Harley showed up at the Community Church's annual picnic. It was as if Harley's arrival triggered a domino of events that, spiritually speaking, separated the men from the boys.
Mr. Cramer masterfully introduces a variety of characters and makes you feel like you know each one intimately. Some of the characters are most lovable and some you love to dislike. In reality, they hold a mirror up to the reader as each one demonstrates a different aspect of who each of us really is.
I was amazed at how skillfully the author was able to create, and very successfully manage, several important themes. He addresses difficult father/son relationships, racial tensions, faith in the midst of illness and tragedy, and the ugliness of self-righteousness and ungodly judgements against others. Never did I feel lost or confused. Each issue was equally engaging, making me anxious to follow it through to it's satisfying conclusion.
Most of all I was thrilled at how real and down to earth Harley was. He was such an obvious God-send that I was suspicious of his true identity only to find that he was so real; an honest human in need of redemption just like me.
Please, do yourself a favor and read this book.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
After reading "Bad Ground", I was literally blown away, and my expectations for this was high. It started out great, but while the pages kept turning, it took about 90 pages after the first chapter for me to really get into it. But Cramer still shows his stuff, and conducts an orchestra for all to hear!

This is a book with a lot of pain, even going as far as to ask the question "WHY?" a few times. Some chapters even start with entries from Jake Mahaffey's journal. But we also get a look in the life of Harley. But there are people who are skeptical of this new stranger in town, and frankly don't want it disturbed anymore than it has to be. You take a look at Miss Agnes Dewberry, a spry old gal who takes Harley in. You see the life of Web Holcombe, used to having things his way. You look at Web's son, Eddy, and his best buddy, Marcus and how they romp and stomp together. By the way, I loved the baseball chapter!

But you take this the whole way through, and it all adds up to one thing in the end, faith. This was a good read, and I can't wait for Mr. Cramer's next work to emerge! I'll have to be patient!
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Format: Paperback
I highly recommend Sutter's Cross. It's a book you just can't put down. The characters are absolutely wonderful. The story is exciting, interesting, and full of inspiration. Dale Cramer is a gifted author. I am looking forward to reading more of his novels in the future. His second novel, Bad Ground, is also a winner.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sutter's Cross offers readers a well-paced novel that conveys some lessons not unlike a fable about the Christian faith. The novel takes place around a small town in the Georgia mountains. The community has one big wig who wants to turn some of the countryside into a country club and air strip. He goes about trying to persuade some of the landowners using heavy-handed tactics. Meanwhile, a drifter has come to town and showed up at the community church's picnic and made quite a scene. The main characters' lives in the small town allow windows into how God might work in people's lives to bring about good in times of trials and suffering. The book is entertaining although not a deep or thrilling read.
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Format: Paperback
A first novel that makes you glad, Dale Cramer decided to write fiction. A story packed with strong southern characters, a fascinating story line, and description that puts you right in the town of Sutter's Cross. An absolute must read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Though this was Dale Cramer's first novel, it's one of the last of his books that I have read.
As I have found to be the case in all his books, he was able to develop characters that come alive on the pages and enable the reader to become thoroughly invested in their lives and their stories.
This is not a fast page turner, but a book that kept my undivided attention and made me want to keep coming back for more.
Thank you Dale for another good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good story, but I think I rate it lower than I probably should because I had such different thoughts about what the novel should have been. What kind of foolish thought is that? But seriously, I think the novel was pretty good, interesting and some enjoyment. But all through the novel, I couldn't help but want it to take a different turn, to become what I wanted it to be.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, definitely. And I would recommend it without reservation. I would also recommend that people not make up their own ideas of a novel before reading it! That's just not fair to the authors.

Read this novel, I'm betting that you'll like it.

Patrick
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