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Basically Good People

Virgil Ray and Martha Mae Pickers are basically good people. Still, like most basically good people, they’re subject to the siren calls of fame, fortune and — not least — impressing their neighbors. 

In this laugh-out-loud novel of linked stories reminiscent of the unforgettable characters and sense of place portrayed in stories by Fannie Flagg and Garrison Keillor, the Pickers and their Oakley County neighbors find themselves in outlandish predicaments, however well-intentioned. A faked resurrection, a return to high school at age 60, a visit by Elvis, helping the US Treasury bust a moonshiner, plus a hijinks-riddled cross-denominational Thanksgiving church service — through it all, Virgil Ray, Martha Mae and their hound dog Buddy have each other. Heaven help them!

...and Smell the Coffee

An unexpected clean bill of health drives ill-equipped Virgil Ray Pickers to search for an alternative to his disability checks, while an out-of-control small-town mayor and police department may provide an opportunity. Meanwhile, Virgil Ray’s wife, Martha Mae, is dealing with her own identity crisis: what does it mean to be a woke woman in rural America? In another hilarious tale from the small Midwestern town of Burned Fork, the Pickers find themselves immersed in a strange world of big money, corporate intrigue, and dirty political tricks. Will they emerge for better or for worse?


In this, the newest Burned Fork tale, Will Martin depicts more of the down-home manners of the town’s unforgettable, colorful characters in a style reminiscent of Fannie Flagg. Laughing out loud is permitted.

other books by will martin

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after church mysteries

Armed with snacks and voted 'Most Likely to Succeed' by his fly-by-night private investigator school, Reverend Richard Burgess has left the pulpit behind to try his hand at helping people in a different way. After shedding his pastor duds for a newly acquired closetful of somewhat questionable disguises, Detective Burgess sets out to leverage his considerable people smarts to solve crimes and bring closure to his clients.

In this hilarious novel of linked short stories, the former minister busts a smuggling ring, solves a murder, launches a viral video on YouTube, tracks down a ghost, and after exposing a deadly real estate scam, finds CNN in his front yard. After church is over, staying out of trouble might just be Richard’s new full-time job.

a lucky break

Pushed out as a college professor, widowed, George Moore has settled for a humdrum life of watching TV, his consolation the comfort of home where memories of his late wife reside. Then, a broken hip lands him in a rehab center. What else could go wrong? How about a heart attack?

Meanwhile, a chance meeting with an attractive woman a few doors down seems promising. But her time in Rollins Manor may be cut short. In just nine days, a few Rollins’ staff members – including Emily, a 13-year-old volunteer – ignore George’s gruff melancholy and help him begin his life’s next chapter. A hip is not the only thing new for George.