By Derald Hamilton
D Hamilton Books,  $7.95, 270 pages

A good prequel gets you more interested in the book previously. Twice Upon a Prequel…& Three Shorts explores the history of Elmo Piggins and Reginald Dexter, along with three shorts. “The Astonishing Elmo Piggins” looks at how Elmo Piggins received the call. With his family life, it is hard not to garner some sympathy for the character. Although he has some of the most understanding parents, his sister is the rebel in the crowd. As an origin story it hits all of the points it needs to, while at the same time showing how a family handles crises both internal and external, as well as rising fame. It’s a good story, rising above its clichés.

The “Rebirth of Reginald Dexter” is probably the best of the lot, as Hamilton had some fun with it; an old dog learns some new tricks, and his younger wife is definitely appreciative of it. A colleague shows him how to enjoy his retirement years, and it culminates in a tandem jump that restarts a marriage while almost killing the pair. This is a truly fun story of rebirth with a nice counterpoint between logic and passion, and how the interplay works at its finest.

The others tend to the cliché; although the writing is solid throughout, it just comes off as either attempting to fit into the standard iconoclastic mold, or being borderline on the “God is Almighty” trope. “Taken Up Before The General” is about a son who is in conflict with his overbearing military father and sees reflections of his father in all authority figures. The military wife of “The War Comes Home” puts her life on hold every time her husband comes home, showing that not only soldiers suffer in wartime. “A Little Bit Wisdom” rounds things out, showing that God has an interest in even the smallest activities and their outcomes. This will definitely get someone interested in the The Call itself, and it stands well on its own.

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