The Man in the Dark – The Dirty Nasty Endings

The Man in the Dark – The Dirty Nasty Endings March 9, 2019

The last third of the book by pastor Doug Wilson. His attempt at romance titled ‘The Man in the Dark’ We already did the book in three other parts. Part 1, Part 2 and last week’s outing Part 3. The finish line is in sight now. Good thing too.

Last review day I said Doug broke my brain with this silly book, and there’s some truth to that. As someone kindly pointed out I’d blanked on the fact that the main character’s name is actually Savannah, not what I’d been calling her, Samantha. I don’t know what happened so I’m going to blame it on the book.

Chapter 10 – Elizabeth and Savannah

When we last closed Alan Lambeth, town one note Simon Legree was taking Savannah’s rival on a date. That’s where we start, Elizabeth Sarandon is returning from her date, and Savannah is lurking in the parlor to speak to her. Savannah is self aware enough to realize that to talk crap about Alan wouldn’t go over well. Elizabeth realizes that Lambeth has been telling her a pile of false tales about her rival, and so she confronts Savannah, accusing her of thinking she’s too good for Lambeth.

Meow! Someone is spoiling for a cat fight.

Savannah says no, she thinks Elizabeth is too good for Lambeth and it’s on, like Donkey Kong. Savannah walks away and leaves Elizabeth hurling accusations. Savannah wrestles with her conscience all night and goes to apologize to Elizabeth. I’m not sure for what still.

Sheriff Barnes goes to ask Lambeth where he was during Todd Martin’s unfortunate collision with a bullet.

More dating happens, Lambeth asks Elizabeth to pass a message to Savannah about Milwaukee in an attempt to rattle her.

Chapter 11 – Dinner in Paradise

The silly town mayor rushes about making arrangements for what sounds like a town Chamber of Commerce dinner, asking Savannah to be the hostess instead of his wife. Yawn.

The dinner happens and they raffle off a seat next to Savannah. After some machinations by landlord Mrs. Fuller the seat goes to Thomas Goforth. There is minor semi-flirting before the pastor admits he’s after her.

Chapter 12 – The Train That Left

Mrs. Fuller tells Savannah that she cheated and arranged for pastor Goforth to sit next to Savannah at the dinner.

Lambeth shows up at school, trying again with stupid innuendos to rattle Savannah’s nerves.

Goforth goes forth to Alan Lambeth’s office to tell him to stay the heck away from Satan..uhh.. Saman,e eerr. Savannah. Lots of folks warn Elizabeth about Lambert. On their date Lambeth tries to bed Elizabeth, but she promises him tomorrow, after their 4th date as he’s trying to twist her arm to deliver another dumb vague message to Savannah. Elizabeth promises and promptly hops on the last train out of town to get the heck away from Lambeth and avoid murder. It’s taken her that many dates to discover he’s the town evil apparently, but instead of telling him she’s washing her hair every single night she runs away.

All this book needs now is for sweet Polly and a Canadian Mountie to show up.

Chapter 13 – Turmoil in Town

You think? You got Simon Legree out there killing folks and twirling his mustache and there’s bound to be trouble.

A minor character confesses true love to another minor character. The sheriff discovers pages later that same minor character was pacing around in hopeless love during the fire. He says something that implicates Lambeth, but it doesn’t not make sense to me. I give up. I hate this stupid book that makes things happen a couple of times, yet does not explain other happenings,

Barnes goes to the Judge to get an arrest warrant and one of Lambeth’s sneaky little buddies tells him he’s about to be arrested. Alan Lambert skedaddles just ahead of the dumb arm of the law and the search is on.

Here’s where that stupid twist happens.

Chapter 14 – Apocalypse

Savannah goes off into the woods to pray, Thomas Goforth follows her. He immediately proposes, err, marriage that is, not a picnic of sandwiches or a walk in the pines like might be expected between two people who’ve not known each other long. No, she does not clobber him with potato salad.

She says no, because after a dull recitation of a life history that is pretty standard she decided to try her hand at being a sex worker. WHAT?!?!?!? Just out of the blue just because she met a madam.  This prissy pearl-clutching potato salad tosser worked as a prostitute exactly one time. She cannot get over the guilt, how much of an unclean whore she would be in the eyes of everyone else.

I burst out laughing the first time I read the book when I hit Savannah’s confession. I’d already pegged her secret as being that she showed her naked ankle to strange men on the streets of Milwaukee for a nickel, or maybe she’d had an embarrassing love affair with a circus midget and his monkey.  I joke badly. If this had been a standard romance novel her secret would have been a rape followed by childbirth of a little bastard she was boarding back East. Or she would have secretly lost her husband and child in a tragic accident, coming to a small town to hide.

Instead we have her completely out of character revelation that she was curious and horny so decided to try her hand and other parts at the world’s oldest profession. Many people have been curious and randy yet never turned to prostitution to scratch that itch.

Then Thomas Goforth says something even more shocking. He was that only customer, the literal man in the dark that boffed her. He went to ‘sooth his nerves’ and seems to have far lesser guilt about the episode, saying that they must marry to make it right.

Savannah has much, much, MUCH, M-U-C-H more guilt and wailing that the pastor for doing what is essentially the same thing.  He might be more guilty because he was not obligated to do anything.

Goforth says he recognized her right away and had been searching for her for years. He would have proposed sooner but there was that potato salad tossing incident. That’s not me making a dumb joke, he mentioned the potato salad as an off-putting event. Stand back officers, she’s dangerous and armed with potato salad.

Oh holy fudgeballs! I never dreamed Doug was weird enough to come up with that twisted crazy backstory, even if it had both characters behaving completely out of character.

They confess their love and kiss, kiss, kiss.

Chapter 15 – Release

More love talk in the woods, pages of it, until Alan Lambeth comes riding up running from the Sheriff and takes them hostage. They fight, and the posse shows up to bust the cartoonish villainy of Lambeth.

There is more, but I am guessing you know what it will be. Summed up by this passage:

“She had been a whore. She was to be a virgin bride.”

Not how that works, except in romance novels.

And they lived happily ever after. I wonder if Thomas ever threw Savannah’s former occupation in her face during fights?

It’s over, sobbing for joy, thank you Jesus!

Part 1 | Part 2  | Part 3

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 32 years. You can read more about the author here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • A marriage made in — what could you call it? Fundy hell? As if the likes of him would want anything to do with the likes of her, that is unless a little professional experience would just sweeten and spice things up for him. (I only did it that one time, I swear!) And why would she not have the same suspicions about him? “It was the only time that I ever ventured into a house of ill-repute, I swear, my beloved Savannah!” And what the heck is wrong with the both of them? Is he supposed to be her kinsman redeemer in more ways than one? Sounds like sloppy seconds for the both of them, but the reader is supposed to believe that it’s a sign of destiny? I was hoping for more arson.

  • Michael Neville

    They confess their love and kiss, kiss, kiss.

    They’d got past the kissing stage once before, why not try for Round 2?

  • SAO

    Thank you for this. It was hilarious to learn of that twist! And you spared me Wilson’s purple prose.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Of all his books I think this one is the most revealing to what’s really going on in that tiny mind of his. He clearly thinks all women function at a middle school level.

  • AFo

    WTF was that? I guess this is the smallest town in the world, since that’s the only way the good pastor could have been Savannah’s only client. Also, how does he immediately recognize her, but she doesn’t recognize him at all? Nothing about this book makes any damn sense.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    I think that’s because HE functions at a middle-school level.

  • Jennifer

    That is freaking hilarious. It might have been moving (and more realistic) if the pastor had seen her once long ago on the street, instead of sleeping with her (though the latter makes more sense as to why he’d be attached, at least). It’s so odd, and she loves him just like that? He’s been obsessed with her because of the one night they both somehow, totally randomly fell off the wagon of normal-people behavior? Wilson really does think women are utterly stupid, though men don’t fare much better if this book is anything to go by. The hostage situation is even more ham-handed and random silliness.

  • SAO

    I think you missed the point. Our lovely heroine was a prostitute in Milwaukee, not the tiny town. But, she only slept with one client (one would assume the experience was so awful she gave up her new profession). However, on discovering that Pastor Goforth was her client, she said “yes” to marriage. Was it because she forgot why she quit the world’s oldest profession? Was it because, with the elixir of love, Goforth would immediately be transformed into the a great lover? Was it because marrying him would wipe away any sin in having sex with him without marriage?

    Only Suzanne can enlighten us. (Or we could slop through Doug’s purple prose and histrionic scenes and find out ourselves.) Or maybe we just appreciate the book’s title and remain, (Wo) Men in the Dark.

  • Saraquill

    How much alcohol did you need in order to endure this garbage?

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Truthfully quite a bit.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    There is almost no romance. This pastor shows up and everyone in town assumes they will end up together and keeps pushing them together. No chemistry, no romance, de nada.

  • zizania

    Thanks goodness I only sell romance novels and don’t have to read them. A bit off topic, but when you were shaking your had at some of the names in this book I mentioned that Gene Goforth had a connection with John Hartford. I’ve done some research and found out that he was a mentor and inspiration to John Hartford, but wasn’t a member of the band. Even more off topic, I’ve been listening to some of my old JH albums (yes, vinyl) and had the sudden epiphany that his “Delta Queen Waltz” was a remake of “Down by the Salley Gardens, by W.B. Yeats. I think I have too much time on my hands. Roll on, gardening season.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I used to love him, then my ex played music with him and it soured me forever on Hartford

  • zizania

    Guilt by association?

  • LaMaria

    That was excellently awful. Thank you.