New Novel about Seminarians Mixes Satire with Supernatural

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When Ishmael O’Donnell decided to attend divinity school, he hoped to overcome his dysfunctional family past and find a new purpose, but never did he expect the over-the-top cloistered world he discovers in Derald Hamilton’s provocative new novel.

The Call
an unforgettable cast of quirky, humorous, unorthodox, and larger than life characters

From growing up with a military father, to a deceased twin brother who haunts him, and a stint in the seminary that disillusions him, Ishmael O’Donnell’s quest for purification from a past of family dysfunction is riddled with one unexpected experience after another in Derald Hamilton’s new satirical novel “The Call” (ISBN 9780984619207, D. Hamilton Books, 2011).

All his life, Ishmael O’Donnell has wrestled with family dysfunction and being possessed by the spirit of his long-dead twin brother. With a military father who has always controlled him, Ishmael has only escaped corporal punishment through his mother’s intercession. Seeking purification from his past and freedom from the haunting spirit of his brother, Ishmael eventually makes his way to the seminary. There he discovers a number of unlikely fellow seminarians and an unending torrent of duplicity, impertinence, and societal abnormalities.

In “The Call,” Derald Hamilton creates an unforgettable cast of quirky, humorous, unorthodox, and larger than life characters as Ishmael’s fellow seminarians. While some have received a legitimate call to the ministry, others are simply fulfilling a family legacy of being clergy. Female seminarians are fighting against the notion that the ministry is only for men. And several of the students would never be expected in a seminary, including an alligator wrestler from Florida, a former rock musician, a beer guzzling frat boy, and two psychiatric social workers whose real purpose is to research how religion may be related to mental illness. Surprised and shocked by such people and even more by the disillusioning church politics he encounters, Ishmael finds his three years in the seminary are like none he ever could have imagined; and while he initially sought purification at the seminary, in the end, that purification will spring from a most unlikely place.

Set during and directly after the Vietnam War, “The Call” depicts a time when organized religion was undergoing change and being challenged by the counter culture of rock ’n roll and the secular world. Hamilton weaves his characters and story into this time period while raising issues of church politics, integrity, and the quest for fulfillment that are as or more relevant to our lives today. “The Call” will entertain and amuse readers, while offering satire that makes readers question the role of religion and spirituality in their own lives.

Readers are finding “The Call” to be a bizarre, disillusioning, and enticing look at seminary and military life. Richard Blake of Reader Views describes Hamilton’s satirical tactics by stating, “Liberal, conservative, charismatic, nor ultra-fundamental escape his invective….brilliant writing that is reflective, funny and provocative—a troubling look at the duplicity of influential leadership in today’s culture.” Kim McDougall, author of “Between the Cracks,” states, “Hamilton’s humor is deep and well-embedded in the rich culture and characters that he creates.” And Anita Johnson, author of “Sunset Decisions,” states that “The Call” “will shock and dismay….a disturbing but ‘must read’ book.”

About the Author
Derald Hamilton was born in Santa Cruz, California. His father was a career soldier, so being part of a military family, Derald moved around to numerous bases as a child. While in college, he received what he interpreted as a call to the ministry, which eventually led to his enrollment in Phillips Graduate Theological Seminary to pursue a Master’s of Divinity Degree. After he became disillusioned with church politics, he instead earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science and worked for the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority. Always interested in writing, he has now, at age sixty-one, brought his first novel into print.

“The Call” (ISBN 9780984619207, D. Hamilton Books, 2011) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit Publicity contact: Review copies available upon request.


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