Springtime in Ohio, grass mowing, and writing updates

This is what springtime typically looks like in Southern Ohio: coolish and overcast, with rain, or the threat of rain.

Today I plan to finish editing the last few chapters of Book 5 (the final book) of The Cairo Deception series. Book 5 is available for preorder now, and you should see it on Amazon in early May.

I also hope to mow both my lawn and my dad’s lawn. Because the grass is growing like gangbusters here, even though the weather is still less than summerlike. In April in this part of the country, a suburban lawn has to be cut every five to six days.

It takes me about three hours to cut and trim both lawns. I don’t mind, though. As I’ve noted before, I usually listen to audiobooks while I mow.

Today I’ll be listening to Purple Cane Road, a crime novel by James Lee Burke, and Supreme Commander: MacArthur’s Triumph in Japan.

The latter title, of course, is a nonfiction book about postwar Japan. I have long had an interest in Japan, its language, and its history.

Also, this is partly research. I’m planning a historical series set in postwar Japan, beginning in the year 1945. (I’ll provide more information about that in the future.)

Anyway, I hope you have a happy and productive day, dear reader, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing. 

Book 4 of ‘THE CAIRO DECEPTION’ now available

The fourth book in THE CAIRO DECEPTION series is now available on Amazon:

“Betty Lehmann travels to Cairo, and finally achieves her goal of participating in a mission for the Third Reich. But she may not survive the experience. 

And even in Egypt, her past catches up with her.

Rudolf Schenk pursues the Vogels in Cairo. But there are new enemies standing in his way.

Jack McCallum is in Egypt seeking buried treasure and an easy fortune. Instead he finds a woman he cannot resist, who draws him into a Nazi plot.”

If you enjoyed the first three books, I think you’ll like this one, too.

(There is one more book in the 5-book series, and it’s in production now.)

View ‘Showdown in Cairo: Book Four of ‘The Cairo Deception’ on Amazon

Thieves and buried treasure

Coming soon:

SHOWDOWN IN CAIRO: Book 4 of THE CAIRO DECEPTION

What follows is a sneak peek at Chapter 6 of the fourth book in THE CAIRO DECEPTION, my World War II-era adventure/drama series. 

The first three books of THE CAIRO DECEPTION are already available on Amazon.

In the excerpt below, Jack McCallum, a soldier turned treasure hunter, has made a discovery in the Egyptian desert outside Cairo. 

The discovery could make him rich, set for life.

But treasure isn’t the only thing waiting in the Egyptian desert…

CHAPTER 6

The gemstone was about the size of a plum. Jack picked it up from among the clay fragments, his heart pounding. 

There were little images on one side of the stone, carved into its oblong surface. Jack recognized these as Egyptian hieroglyphics, too, though he had no idea what they said.

“Tahmid,” Jack said. “Do you realize what this is?”

“Yes, boss. I do.”

It was unbelievable. This was the Garnet of Hatshepsut. Exactly as John Millhouse had promised. 

Jack felt a sudden, not altogether unpleasant wave of dizziness. He paused for a moment, to take in the realization: He was going to be a rich man. 

“Looks like you’ve struck it rich, boss,” Tahmid said, as if reading his mind. 

Jack was distracted by the distant sound of voices, going back and forth in Arabic. 

He looked up over the side of the hole. 

There were roughly a dozen men, dressed in what approximated Arab bedouin attire. They had arrived on about as many camels. 

They were about a quarter-mile away. At present. 

Roughly half of the men were carrying rifles. The rifles appeared old, but they probably still fired. Several of the rifle-bearing men wore bandoliers criss-crossed over their chests. Many of the men were also wearing scabbards with what looked like long fighting knives.

Jack ducked down back into the hole. He raised a finger to his lips, in order to indicate that Tahmid should be absolutely silent. He pantomimed the presence of the men with his hands and fingers. 

Tahmid took a cautious peek, as well. When he ducked down again, the man’s face bore an expression of abject terror. 

“Thieves,” Tahmid said. “Like I tell you, the desert not safe place.”

“You said that it isn’t safe at night,” Jack countered. “This is the middle of the day.” Jack pointed upward, at the blazing sun.

“Sometimes dangerous during the day, boss. Better to stay in the city.”

Jack was tempted to ask Tahmid why—if he felt that way—he had hired on as a digging assistant to begin with. But that was a fruitless discussion that he had no time for.

His only concern now was those men in the desert. It was a dire situation. Those men would think nothing of murdering two treasure hunters in order to take the gemstone.

Jack thought back to his encounter in the alleyway, with the gang of eight hoodlums (led by the short man with the scar), and the advice of Rudy Gunther, who had literally saved his life that day.

Rudy had advised him to acquire a gun. Jack realized now that he should have taken that advice. But he didn’t know how much use a British Webley revolver would be, anyway, against a small army of armed men. 

There was nothing to do but wait. The men were on their way to somewhere, obviously. They had stopped for a rest, or simply to look around, perhaps using the nearby pyramid as a landmark.

If they rode by here, Jack and Tahmid were goners. If they rode in another direction, they could probably escape. 

Jack waited ten minutes. Hearing nothing, he looked up over the edge of the hole again.

The men were gone.

“How long till our ride meets us at the rendezvous point?” Jack asked Tahmid. Jack’s digging assistant took care of arranging their daily transportation. So far, he had done that with reasonable reliability and efficiency. 

Don’t let me down today, Tahmid, Jack thought. Please.

“Two hours,” Tahmid reported.

The rendezvous point was at the intersection of two poorly maintained macadam roads. The spot was out in the open. Completely exposed.

Jack didn’t think it would be advisable to go there now, and risk so much time at a vulnerable location. Not with the garnet in his possession, and with a roving band of thieves afoot. 

“We’ll leave in one hour,” he told Tahmid.

He wrapped the garnet in a clean cloth, and placed it in his pocket.

***

An hour later, Jack and Tahmid set out with their sparse equipment for the spot where their transportation would be waiting.

They reached the spot, and Jack scanned the horizon anxiously. What if the armed men returned?

Then all was lost. But this was the last big risk. If he could make it back to Cairo, he would be set. Or almost set.

A short while later, an old Ford Model A came chugging into view.

“That’s our ride,” Tahmid said.

The car was driven by two Arab men, who greeted Tahmid in Arabic, and nodded unsmilingly at Jack. They strapped the shovels and other equipment to the roof of the car. Then Jack and Tahmid piled into the back seat.

Jack remained acutely aware of the gemstone in the pocket of his trousers. This was the stone that—if he could hold on to it and get it out of Egypt—would change his life.

The Arab men chatted with Jack during the roughly half-hour ride to the edge of Cairo. Jack didn’t mind. By now he was used to people speaking a language that he couldn’t understand. (And Jack had all but given up on learning any Arabic.) Jack, moreover, was lost in his own thoughts; and he now had a lot to think about.

There was another matter, though. Jack knew nothing about these men in the front seat, or their relationship with Tahmid. What was to stop Tahmid from double-crossing him? Tahmid could tell the men about the gemstone, and arrange a robbery. Then they could plan to split the proceeds from the sale of the garnet among them. Never mind that a stone this valuable would be virtually impossible to sell in Egypt. 

When he arrived safely back in the city, however, Jack felt guilty for his suspicions during the ride. True, Tahmid had been an unmotivated and lackluster employee. There was no indication, however, that he was dishonest or prone to criminal activity. Otherwise, Jack supposed, he would having joined the crew of the scarred gangster from the alleyway, or perhaps the men on camels whom they had seen today in the desert. 

Get Book 1 of THE CAIRO DECEPTION

World War II historical fiction in Kindle Unlimited

Book 3 of The Cairo Deception just dropped on Amazon. There are two more books coming, with release dates later in 2022!

Amazon description:

“An epic of espionage, sacrifice, and betrayal set in the years immediately before World War II.

A group of Germans and Americans must choose sides for and against Nazi Germany, and deal with the consequences of their decisions. 

Their stories begin in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. They will come together in Cairo, Egypt for a showdown in 1938.”

**You can read the series for FREE in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program** (This is kind of like a Netflix for books, for those of you who are unaware. And yes, I do get paid when you do that, thanks!). 

Click here for Kindle Unlimited free trial:

Click here to view THE CAIRO DECEPTION series page on Amazon!

PJ O’Rourke (1947 – 2022)

I was browsing in a Barnes & Noble superstore back in the mid-90s one day, when I happened to come across a book entitled All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty

The author of the book was P.J. O’Rourke. 

I was only vaguely aware of O’Rourke at that time. I knew that he was a political commentator. But a different kind of political commentator: O’Rourke brought humor to controversial issues that made most everyone else mad. 

That was his reputation, anyway. So I decided to give the above title a try.

Suffice it to say that All the Trouble in the World not only kept my attention, it also made me laugh out loud. I was instantly hooked, and I have been a fan of O’Rourke’s ever since.

The mid-1990s were more laid-back, less angry times. The culture wars were already flaring up here and there; but mostly they were on a low simmer. 

I immediately recognized O’Rourke as a man who saw things as I did. He was a conservative-leaning moderate, who had no patience for pointy-headed double-talk, and the histrionics of what is now called “wokeness”.

But at the same time, PJ O’Rourke was not mean-spirited. He sought to point out the flaws in the philosophy that had already come to be known as the New Left. Having flirted with the New Left himself in his college days, O’Rourke knew firsthand that political leftism is an  intellectual disorder, but not an incurable one. He also realized that persuasion and humor could win a lot more hearts and minds than shrill denunciations.

In more recent years, O’Rourke has been somewhat mismatched to the times: a genuinely funny man in an age that has lost its sense of humor. Nevertheless, he maintained a following… myself included.

I found out today that PJ O’Rourke has passed away at the age of 74. He was apparently suffering from some serious lung-related issues.

While by no means a young man, his output had continued at more or less the pace of a book a year. I had looked forward to reading the essays and collections that he had yet to write.

This is one literary figure whom I will sorely miss. PJ O’Rourke, age 74, RIP.

Coming-of-age horror from the 1970s

REVOLUTIONARY GHOSTS

Steve Wagner assumed that the summer of 1976 was going to be carefree. The 17-year-old wants nothing more than to spend his last summer of high school driving his new car (a ’68 Pontiac Bonneville) and working his part-time job at McDonald’s.

Oh, and Steve has a new romantic interest: the beautiful and strong-willed Diane Parker.

But early in June, there are signs that this will be no ordinary summer:

Young people are going missing in Steve’s neighborhood. 

There are mysterious hoofbeats on the road at night. 

Then Steve has a close encounter with the Headless Horseman, the vengeful Hessian officer who was beheaded at the Battle of White Plains in 1776.

And the Headless Horseman has brought other revolutionary ghosts with him. 

They all seek revenge on random American victims in this Bicentennial summer. 

As the supernatural forces target Steve’s inner circle, he is forced to confront the unimaginable. 

If Steve fails, both he and everyone he loves will meet grisly deaths before summer’s end!

**View REVOLUTIONARY GHOSTS on Amazon**

‘The Rockland Horror 4’ available for preorder

I’m presently working on The Rockland Horror 4. As the title suggests, this is the fourth installment in The Rockland Horror series. 

The release date for the book has been set for May 3, 2022. It should be available before then, however. (I would imagine sometime in January or February of next year; March at the latest.)

If you would like to order the book in advance (at a reduced price), then you can do so here, via Amazon. Another advantage to the preorder is that the book will drop automatically onto your Kindle when it comes out.

If you would prefer to wait, or if you haven’t read the first three books of The Rockland Horror series, then you can either check back here (I’ll announce the actual release with a blog post, of course) or check  The Rockland Horror series page at Amazon. 

A note on reading order.  While each of the books is a self-contained story, they are best read in order. If you haven’t read books 1, 2, and 3, I would recommend that you start with those. 

Start ‘The Rockland Horror’ series for FREE: November 1 through 5

I am working on BOOK 4 of THE ROCKLAND HORROR series. THE ROCKLAND HORROR is a multigenerational horror saga about a cursed house in Indiana.

BOOK 4 will be set in the immediate post-WWII era of 1945 to 1946. More information on that shortly.

BOOKs 1, 2, and 3 are already available on Amazon, and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (for those of you who read through KU.)

BOOK 1 is FREE on Kindle for everyone from November 1 through 5, 2021. 

Keep in mind that Amazon manages the back end of all of this, and the exact hours at the tail end of the free run may vary, depending on your time zone. (So grab it early. Don’t wait until 11:58 p.m. on November 5.)

If you’re interested in trying out the series with a zero commitment, this is your chance.

If you’re interested in trying out Kindle Unlimited, check it out here.

BLOOD FLATS: new cover

BLOOD FLATS, originally published in 2011, was my first novel. It is the story of a former marine who goes on a quest to clear his name after he is wrongly blamed for a double homicide.

BLOOD FLATS is the story of a journey–with lots of gunfights along the way, of course.

I reedited and republished the book last year; but the cover sorely needed updating. This is the newest cover (and the third since the book’s publication). 

View BLOOD FLATS on Amazon.

Why I love Halloween

It’s that season of the year again!

Last night I went out for a walk in my neighborhood around 7 pm. (We’ve had an unseasonably warm spell here in the Cincinnati area.) I didn’t take into account how quickly the dusk settles in this late in the year. I was only halfway out when it suddenly became very…well, dark.

I therefore walked back to my house in the dark. The houses around me were festooned with various Halloween decorations: skulls, black cats, and even some cool Halloween projector lights.

I love Halloween. For me, Halloween is the time when we mortals come to terms with two constants of human existence: a.) the unknown, and b.) the inevitability of death.

The celebration of Halloween is an act of acceptance. Our lives will always contain tragedy, dissatisfactions, and uncertainty. But we cannot allow ourselves to paralyzed by fear…or by sadness.

Halloween is a time when we laugh at death, and embrace our mortality.

A few years ago, I wrote a Halloween novel called 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN. This nostalgic, coming-of-age horror tale is set on Halloween night, 1980. Check it out here.

New extended preview: ‘The Consultant’

I’ve added an extended preview here on the site for The Consultant.

The Consultant is the story of an American marketing consultant who takes a business trip to Osaka, Japan, and talks to the wrong woman in a bar.

One thing leads to another, and he ends up in North Korea.

The story is loosely (I emphasize loosely) based on real events.

The North Korean government has carried out targeted kidnapping campaigns of civilians over the years. Most of the known targets have been South Koreans and Japanese. But there is no reason why an American couldn’t be the target of such a kidnapping. This novel explores that scenario.

The Consultant is a good read for Tom Clancy fans who also like James Clavell…or James Clavell fans who also like a bit of action.

View the preview here!
View THE CONSULTANT on Amazon!

Horror in Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s main subscription ebook reading program. Kindle Unlimited gives you virtually unlimited (hence the name) reading privileges to a wide variety of titles, for a low monthly fee.

Not every title listed on Amazon is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Literary fiction from the big New York publishing houses generally is not included. You likely won’t find the latest Jonathan Franzen novel in Kindle Unlimited anytime in the near future.

Kindle Unlimited is heavy on genre fiction. This means: romance, space opera, LitRPG, fantasy, and horror.

I have a fair number of horror titles in Kindle Unlimited. I write supernatural horror, in the tradition of Peter Straub, H.P. Lovecraft, Bentley Little and E.F. Benson.

And yes (I know this sounds a bit pretentious) Stephen King. I have achieved barely a gazillionth fraction of King’s commercial success. But his formula of character-based, fast-moving horror is always on my mind when I sit down to write a horror tale.

What kind of horror don’t I write? If you want splatterpunk, or “extreme” horror (aka “torture porn”), then you should skip my books and stories. I have no interest in writing horror fiction that is endlessly grim and/or sadistic. My horror fiction is more akin to the campfire ghost story.

Below are the horror titles that I presently have enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. This means that you can read them for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

To view one of these titles on Amazon, simply click on the image of any book, or any hyperlink below.

(Don’t have a Kindle Unlimited membership? Click here.)

Eleven Miles of Night

A college student takes a walk down the most haunted road in rural Ohio for a cash prize. This is a “haunted road” story, basically a tale of being stuck on a cursed country road at night. Ghosts, evil spirits, and hellhounds abound. Also, an evil witch that inhabits a covered bridge.

12 Hours of Halloween

A coming-of-age story set on Halloween night, 1980. This is a tale of supernatural events in the American suburb. A classic horror tale for Generation X.

Revolutionary Ghosts

The year is 1976, and the Headless Horseman rides again. This coming-of-age horror thriller is sure to please readers who appreciate character-based supernatural fiction with lots of twists and turns.

The basic idea is: the ghosts of American history coming back to haunt Middle America in 1976, the year of the American Bicentennial. (And yes, I’m old enough to remember the Bicentennial, although I was rather young at the time.)

Luk Thep

In early 2016, I read an article in The Economist about the luk thep “spirit dolls” of Thailand.

Manufactured and sold in Thailand, these are factory-made dolls with a unique sales point: each doll is supposedly infused with the spirit of a young child that passed prematurely.

The luk thep are intended to bring comfort to their owners. (They are marketed to childless women.) To me, though, the whole idea sounded rather macabre.

And I couldn’t help thinking: what if one of the dolls was infused with a child spirit that wasn’t very nice? What if that same doll ended up in the possession of an American woman who happened to visit Thailand on a business trip? Luk Thep is a fast-paced ghost tale that spans two continents.

The Rockland Horror saga

Spanning a nearly 140-year period from 1882 to 2020, The Rockland Horror is a series about dark events at a cursed house in rural Indiana.

Hay Moon & Other Stories: Sixteen modern tales of horror and suspense

This was my first short story collection. Although all of these stories contain speculative elements, there is quite a range in plot and subject matter. In this collection you’ll find vampire and ghost stories, but also a few crime stories with a “twist”. Oh, and there are also several “creature feature” stories that are kind of fun.  

I Know George Washington and Other Stories: Five Dark Tales

Five dark tales of murder, hauntings, and the undead, set in locations from Tennessee to Mexico. 

The Headless Horseman returns

How I wrote a horror novel called Revolutionary Ghosts

Or…

Can an ordinary teenager defeat the Headless Horseman, and a host of other vengeful spirits from America’s revolutionary past?

The big idea

I love history, and I love supernatural horror tales.  “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was therefore always one of my favorite short stories. This classic tale by Washington Irving describes how a Hessian artillery officer terrorized the young American republic several decades after his death.

The Hessian was decapitated by a Continental Army cannonball at the Battle of White Plains, New York, on October 28, 1776. According to some historical accounts, a Hessian artillery officer really did meet such an end at the Battle of White Plains. I’ve read several books about warfare in the 1700s and through the Age of Napoleon. Armies in those days obviously did not have access to machine guns, flamethrowers, and the like. But those 18th-century cannons could inflict some horrific forms of death, decapitation among them.

I was first exposed to the “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” via the 1949 Disney film of the same name. The Disney adaptation was already close to 30 years old, but still popular, when I saw it as a kid sometime during the 1970s.

Headless Horsemen from around the world

While doing a bit of research for Revolutionary Ghosts, I discovered that the Headless Horseman is a folklore motif that reappears in various cultures throughout the world.

In Irish folklore, the dullahan or dulachán (“dark man”) is a headless, demonic fairy that rides a horse through the countryside at night. The dullahan carries his head under his arm. When the dullahan stops riding, someone dies.

Scottish folklore includes a tale about a headless horseman named Ewen. Ewen was  beheaded when he lost a clan battle at Glen Cainnir on the Isle of Mull. His death prevented him from becoming a chieftain. He roams the hills at night, seeking to reclaim his right to rule.

Finally, in English folklore, there is the 14th century epic poem, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”. After Gawain kills the green knight in living form (by beheading him) the knight lifts his head, rides off, and challenges Gawain to a rematch the following year.

But Revolutionary Ghosts is focused on the Headless Horseman of American lore: the headless horseman who chased Ichabod Crane through the New York countryside in the mid-1790s. 

The Headless Horseman isn’t the only historical spirit to stir up trouble in the novel. John André, the executed British spy, makes an appearance, too. (John André was a real historical figure.)

I also created the character of Marie Trumbull, a Loyalist whom the Continental Army sentenced to death for betraying her country’s secrets to the British. But Marie managed to slit her own throat while still in her cell, thereby cheating the hangman. Marie Trumbull was a dark-haired beauty in life. In death, she appears as a desiccated, reanimated corpse. She carries the blade that she used to take her own life, all those years ago.

Oh, and Revolutionary Ghosts also has an army of spectral Hessian soldiers. I had a lot of fun with them!

The Spirit of ’76

Most of the novel is set in the summer of 1976. An Ohio teenager, Steve Wagner, begins to sense that something strange is going on near his home. There are slime-covered hoofprints in the grass. There are unusual sounds on the road at night. People are disappearing.

Steve gradually comes to an awareness of what is going on….But can he convince anyone else, and stop the Headless Horseman, before it’s too late?

I decided to set the novel in 1976 for a number of reasons. First of all, this was the year of the American Bicentennial. The “Spirit of ’76 was everywhere in 1976. That created an obvious tie-in with the American Revolution.

Nineteen seventy-six was also a year in which Vietnam, Watergate, and the turmoil of the 1960s were all recent memories. The mid-1970s were a time of national anxiety and pessimism (kind of like now). The economy was not good. This was the era of energy crises and stagflation.

Reading the reader reviews of Revolutionary Ghosts, I am flattered to get appreciative remarks from people who were themselves about the same age as the main character in 1976:

“…I am 62 years old now and 1976 being the year I graduated high school, I remember it pretty well. Everything the main character mentions (except the ghostly stuff), I lived through and remember. So that was an added bonus for me.”

“I’m 2 years younger than the main character so I could really relate to almost every thing about him.”

I’m actually a bit younger than the main character. In 1976 I was eight years old. But as regular readers of this blog will know, I’m nostalgic by nature. I haven’t forgotten the 1970s or the 1980s, because I still spend a lot of time in those decades.

If you like the 1970s, you’ll find plenty of nostalgic nuggets in Revolutionary Ghosts, like Bicentennial Quarters, and the McDonald’s Arctic Orange Shakes of 1976.

***

Also, there’s something spooky about the past, just because it is the past. As L.P. Hartley said, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

For me, 1976 is a year I can clearly remember. And yet—it is shrouded in a certain haziness. There wasn’t nearly as much technology. Many aspects of daily life were more “primitive” then.

It isn’t at all difficult to believe that during that long-ago summer, the Headless Horseman might have come back from the dead to terrorize the American heartland…

View REVOLUTIONARY GHOSTS on Amazon

‘The Maze’: a parallel world fantasy in Kindle Unlimited

Just a quick book note here: The Maze is now available again to readers in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. You can also purchase the ebook outright, or get the paperback version. 

This is a modern-day “portal”, or parallel world fantasy.

The Maze was originally published in 2013. It had good reviews, but there were a few changes I wanted to make. The book is now back on Amazon with an updated cover.

Listening to ‘Fevre Dream’ by George R.R. Martin

Long before he was known as the novelist behind the HBO series Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin wrote a vampire novel called Fevre Dream.

Fevre Dream is set on the Mississippi River, just before the American Civil War. Abner Marsh is a riverboat captain who is down on his luck. Joshua York is a vampire who needs a human partner for an atypical “mission”.

Originally published in 1982, Fevre Dream is one of GRRM’s best works. I understand that A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones has become a veritable force of nature in recent years. But many of Martin’s earlier works are just as good, and require much less of a time commitment. (Martin also wrote tons of short stories and novellas, many of which have been compiled into two collections that you can get on Amazon.)

The vampire of Fevre Dream is not a supernatural creature, but a separate-but-similar race of quasi-humans. This alternative interpretation of the vampire is now common, but it would have been innovative in 1982. 

The interplay between the two main characters is the best part of Fevre Dream. Abner Marsh is a gruff but good-hearted riverboat man. Joshua York is an urbane antihero who is trying to overcome his bloodthirsty nature. Abner and Joshua need each other, and yet their basic worldviews are very much in conflict. The perfect dramatic setup.

Throughout the book, there is a competing group of evil vampires in Louisiana, who will ultimately come into conflict with Abner and Joshua (who gathers other “good” vampires to him). This plot device, too, is now common. But once again, it would have been original in 1982.

The Mississippi River is also a character in the book. George R.R. Martin is originally from New Jersey. But he spent some time as an instructor at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa during the 1970s. Dubuque is situated on the upper Mississippi. Martin would have gained a familiarity with the river during his time in Iowa, and that familiarity definitely shows up Fevre Dream.

I initially read Fevre Dream back in 2009. My rule of thumb is: If ten years have passed since I read a particular book or saw a particular movie, the story may be worth experiencing again. None of us is the same person we were a decade ago, and so a story will mean something different to us after an interval of ten years. (We’ll also, in most cases, have forgotten significant portions of the plot.)

Another difference is that this time, I’m listening to the audiobook version of Fevre Dream. As I noted in a previous post, I have developed the habit of listening to audiobooks while I mow my lawn and do other yard work. And this is July, the season for such things. 

**View George RR Martin’s Fevre Dream on Amazon**