"...very much recommended reading." - Midwest Book Review
Is it fate or chance that rules our lives, luck or destiny? Are our futures already written or is life, after all, just a toss of the dice, the odds
landing with us or against us? Odds have played an outsized role in the life of Chancer Wylls. Events seem to sweep him along, carrying him toward ends he can scarcely imagine.
The year is 1971 and, shaken by the Vietnam War, student protests and personal heartbreak, Chancer struggles to find his way, recording it all in the form of a year-long almanac. Thirty years later his daughter discovers the journal, taking the reader on a journey that parallels her own turbulent times. Covering the years 1971 and 2001 in tandem, the story charts a dual course, the paths of which are eerily alike - whether by fate or chance.
In a Hollow Land
When Limerick Specter’s uncle Luster reappears, years after his father's suicide and his mother’s unexplained disappearance, he has little idea the turn his life is about to take. Having lost his job, his home and his girlfriend, Lim is enlisted by his uncle to help a young Romanian woman search for her kidnapped sister, the victim of forced prostitution. Exploring the intersection of magic and science, reason and intuition, the miraculous and the everyday, the novel follows their search amid Lim’s attempt to start anew.
South by Degrees
Theo Persons has lost his way. Unemployed and separated, he impulsively takes custody of his niece, Katie, and soon finds himself on a search for his long-missing brother. Part mystery, part odyssey, the story follows Theo and Katie as they roam the back roads of South Texas using clues left in a set of cryptic journals. Interrupted by a devastating hurricane, a budding romantic interest and a violent confrontation, the story comes to a surprising end in a south Texas colonia.
When San Turner's two aunts, his only family, die within a week of each other, he's unable to accept their passing as mere coincidence. Recently fired from his job and guilt-ridden over the loss of his wife, he enlists his lifelong friend in a search for the truth behind their deaths. When a ten-year-old deaf girl who has befriended him is kidnapped from his home, he soon finds himself on another sort of quest. Following a convoluted trail that eventually leads him to the girl and an unknown part of his family history, San must face his past, his prejudices and an uncertain future.
Water Flow Down
Mazie Goforth’s lost love appears unexpectedly, soon followed by her prodigal family, and she is forced to face who she has become and what might have been. Narrated by the frank and feisty Mazie, Water Flow Down follows her struggle to navigate her past and an ever-changing present. When an orphaned teenager asks for her help in finding the truth about her mother's death, Mazie must trek across West Texas with her nephew and the girl in a search for answers. Ricocheting between past and present, the story culminates in a confrontation on a remote ranch, leading her to realize what truly matters.
The Consequent Touch of McHenry Feathers
When Noll Spencer leaves college to support his ailing mother, he has no idea of the world he is about to enter or the events soon to unfold. Set along coastal Texas and peopled with odd but memorable characters, the story follows Noll as he struggles to find his way and come to terms with his father's death. Accompanied by ineffable and enigmatic Hen Feathers and beautiful Maya Cruz, Noll searches for a way beyond the prejudice of his past and the challenge of an ever-changing future.
The story behind The Consequent Touch of McHenry Feathers
The election of Barack Obama and the racism I observed in its aftermath, even in people I had long known, reminded me of the years I spent working alongside men of races and backgrounds so different from mine that, for a time, I scarcely knew what to make of them. The spirit of those men inhabits The Consequent Touch of McHenry Feathers. There’s nothing like entering a new world to open your eyes.
That election pulled all those men and what I had learned from them back into focus. The idea that we had moved past prejudice and bigotry seemed too good to be true. It was, of course. Instead, prejudice - whether based on race, religion, sexual orientation or mere difference - suddenly seemed more evident than ever in day-to-day life.
So, I decided to write a novel about prejudice and the way it can hide just beneath the surface until something brings it out. McHenry Feathers is an attempt to capture the tension between our past and present, between what we’re taught to believe about people and the individual we discover when we truly get to know a person, a person different and yet not so different from ourselves.
The book was a bit of an experiment. I had been reading Shakespeare – King Lear, The Tempest – and was struck by the power of dialogue unencumbered by the usual descriptive language. I thought alternating pure dialogue with descriptive narrative might be an affecting way to tell a story.