Jonah: A Book Review

By  | May 13, 2018 | Filed under: News


Bobby Inman

I saw the advertisement for this book on Facebook.  I thought at first, I am not real sure what Jonah had to do with the Confederacy.  The more I thought about it, I looked at the description of the book on Amazon.  The Amazon Site has the following description:

           “After a nap of more than 150 years in a great fish’s belly, Jonah emerges from the deepest Tennessee River mud ready to set a few things straight – if he can. He’s the last Confederate, a man of honor trapped in a dishonorable world.


General Wheeler has taught him well and he wouldn’t want to disappoint the general or his daughter – the woman he loves, his darling Evangeline. A man with old values and a new mission, he’s ready to ride.”


So after reading this, I decided to purchase the book.  The ebook from Kindle is $4.99 which is what I got.  I started reading the book and found out that the book actually takes place here in the Tennessee Valley.  This was a welcomed surprise.  The hard thing about a book review is you don’t want to give away too much of the plot making people not want to buy the book.   So with that being said, here is my review.


The book takes place in modern day.  A diver is checking pipes at the bottom of the Tennessee River near TVA.  He feels something brush against  his back.  Thinking it’s just a fish, he continues his work.  Then he is hit again.  Turning around he see a huge fish/shark with a gaping mouth.  The diver quickly swims for the surface.  Once on the boat, he tells the TVA Rep what he saw.


Shortly thereafter, two members of the Church are fishing in the Tennessee River drinking the “Devil’s Spirits.”  They begin to talk about the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale.  While fishing, they see a giant fish come onto the bank of the river.  The fish opens its mouth and a bearded naked man climbs from its mouth.    The man runs into the tree line.  The two members of the church quickly throw their “Spirits” away and agree that they did not see anything.


The next couple of Chapters take place in the Wheeler Wildlife Preserve.  I didn’t know that much about the Preserve so I went to Wikipedia.  From the Wikipedia Website:


           The Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is a 35,000 acre  National Wildlife Refuge located along the Tennessee River near Decatur, Alabama. Named after Major General Joseph Wheeler, it was established to provide a habitat for wintering and migrating birds in the eastern United States.


           In 1934, the Tennessee Valley Authority began purchasing land as a bed for and buffer strip for Wheeler Reservoir. By 1936, the Tennessee River was impounded for flood control with the nearby Wheeler Dam providing hydroelectric power.

           In 1938, the Refuge was established by Executive Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and became the first National Wildlife Refuge to be overlain on a multi-purpose reservoir. TVA impounded shallow backwater areas of the reservoir to control the mosquito population. By pumping these areas dry in the spring and summer, the mosquito breeding habitat was eliminated.

           These impounded areas also produced natural waterfowl foods such as wild milletsmartweedsedges, and other seed bearing grasses that attracted waterfowl when the area was re-flooded in the winter. This food source allows the Refuge to be the home of Alabama’s largest duck population as well as its only significant concentration of wintering Canada geese.

            In 1940, a presidential proclamation renamed Wheeler Migratory Waterfowl Refuge to its present name.

         In 1941, for national security reasons, about 4,085 acres were included inside the Redstone Arsenal boundary. Currently, about 1,500 acres of the 4,085 acres is administered by NASA‘s Marshall Space Flight Center.

         Wheeler NWR has supported up to 60,000 geese and 100,000 ducks, although recently these levels have declined to approximately 30,000 geese and 60,000 ducks. Since 1990, winter goose populations have dropped significantly due to many different factors; below 15,000 from 1990–1995 and about 2,500-5,500 in the last few years. Snow geese are now the most prominent component of the winter goose population, peaking near 1,500-3,200 in recent years.

             In addition to migratory birds, the refuge hosts 115 species of fish, 74 species of reptiles and amphibians, 47 species of mammals, and 288 different species of songbirds. Some common mammals include squirrelsraccoonsopossumsrabbitsquail, and deer. Approximately ten endangered species which live on the refuge. There is also a small population of American alligators present within the reserve; they were reintroduced into the area following historical extirpation from northern Alabama.


Now back to the book.  There are several reports of a naked, bearded man being sighted in the Preserve.  An old blind Ranger makes contact with the man who we find out that his name is Jonah.  This is where the mystery starts.  Jonah speaks with a distinct Southern accent and uses very proper English, just not from this time period.

The Ranger contacts a friend of his that is a reporter.  The reporter meets with Jonah and the story comes out.  Jonah is actually Jonah Barnes, Private, Confederate States of America.  During a battle in the Civil War, close to the Tennessee River, a cannon that Jonah was manning is struck by lightning.  Jonah is thrown into the Tennessee River.  He sinks to the bottom of the river, semi-conscious.  He is then swallowed by a fish/shark.   The reason I say it like this is the cover shows a shark.  However in the story, it appears to be a giant catfish.


Jonah believes it is still the 1800s and he is in search for his true love Evangeline.   Jonah tells them that Evangeline is the daughter of General Joe Wheeler, his Commanding Officer.  Furthermore, Evangeline is a slave girl that Wheeler had with her Mother, a slave also.  Jonah had fallen in love with her and after Wheeler gave his consent, Jonah began a relationship with her.


Jonah tells his comrades that he must find Evangeline.   Both of the friends try to explain that she has passed and that it is 111 years later than when Jonah thinks.  Jonah will have nothing to do with the notion and bids them Farwell.    Jonah steals a horse and begins his adventure to find his true love.


As stated before, it is hard to do a book review without giving to much away.  So with saying that, I am just going to just give some tidbits to the rest of the book:


-Jonah meets the Great, Great, Great, Great Granddaughter of Evangeline  Is the Granddaughter a direct descendant of Jonah’s?

-Jonah becomes mixed up with Blacks Lives Matter

-Jonah attends a Civil War Reenactment, but things go wrong when he decides to fight the battle like he remembers it.

-Jonah meets a new friend  along the way.

-Of course, you know if you have Black Lives Matter, the Klan is going to show up.

-And finally, the ending that I never saw coming.

Steve Johnson, the Author of Jonah lives in Tupelo , MS.  I made contact with Steve through Facebook, which he quickly answered.  We chatted a little talking about books and news articles.   If you are a history buff, especially Civil War History, I think you will enjoy Jonah.


     Bobby Inman is retired from Law Enforcement after 21 years of Service.  He is the Store Manager of Southern Heritage Gun & Pawn in Tuscumbia.   He has articles published in Law & Order Magazine, Police Marksman Magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine as well as several published ebooks on Amazon, Kobo Writing, as well as Nook (Barnes & Noble).  He is owner of Poopiedog, an Animal Rescue Dachshund, who is his constant companion.   He is a Senior Investigative Reporter for the Quad Cities Daily

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