Black Rock, by John McFetridge … who knew what was going on in Montreal in 1970? Not me, that’s for sure. I’m not sure I knew what was going on in New York in 1970. I was 14 and just discovering the adolescent joys of Daily News Playtex living Bra ads, but what was going on in Montreal in 1970 was a series of terrorist bombings by The Front de libération du Québec (FLQ—over 200 attempts), kidnappings, and a serial killer was on the loose (The Vampire Killer). John McFetridge’s brilliant new novel, Black Rock, is a step back in history and is one hell of a crime novel.
Eddie Dougherty, a mixed breed (French, Irish and Canadian) constable, is two years on the job and stuck doing the routine work that follows bombings and kidnappings, but when a third woman is found strangled, Eddie is willing to prove himself. Aided by an experienced homicide copper who becomes his rabbi, Eddie diligently chases clues during his off hours. After dating a woman (Ruth) who is studying theories on progression murders, Eddie finds another source for his criminal science education.
There are riots at universities and the Canadian Army eventually takes to the streets focused on the bombings and the kidnappings. Eddie remains focused on the Vampire Killer and eventually snags a clue in the form of a car that keeps the tension and drives the novel forward. Also in the background is the student unrest across the border, where the Vietnam War has alienated America’s youth.
Black Rock is a page-turner, start to finish, and a must read crime novel that provides Canadian history and some vivid city settings that are nothing less than brilliant.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
SNHU MFA EN FUEGO PART DEUX ...
Mike Hancock is another SNHU MFA graduate sustaining en fuego … his debut novel, Fallen, will be published by Black Rose Writing.
“A legend, shared among Montana locals, is that if one hikes the path along Lion Creek and doesn’t make it back to the trailhead before nightfall, a distant chant can be heard coming from the forested ridges. It’s the voice of a long dead Piegan warrior named Grey Bear, lamenting the loss of his son, drowned in the icy Marias River to the east. But, he only speaks to a heart he sees.”
“Fallen”, a novel to be released on July 24th by San Antonio, Texas’ Black Rose Writing, intertwines the lives of Grey Bear, in the aftermath of the Marias Massacre of 1870, and Calvin, the son of an alcoholic, abusive father, escaping to the wilderness of Northwest Montana in 1997. Central to Grey Bear’s story is the relationship with his son, a strong-spirited, inquisitive boy of ten named Running Dog. After Grey Bear’s tribe is decimated by a ruthless Cavalry brigade, it is up to Grey Bear and Running Dog to lead what’s left of their people back to safety in the dead of winter. Almost home, Running Dog’s death drives an agonized Grey Bear to the mountains, in search of his spirit animal. Calvin’s tale begins with a lonely, tormented childhood riddled with abuses by his father, who ultimately abandons him. After witnessing his father’s suicide on an attempted reunion with him at thirteen, Calvin takes solace in the only father he has known, his doting grandfather. Upon his grandfather’s death, Calvin, spiraling out of control, leaves his home in Texas and winds up in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness, guiding hunters along the remote woods of Lion Creek. It’s here where the fate of both protagonists meet, finding each other, and ultimately, redemption.
Mike Hancock, the author of Fallen, has led a Forrest Gump life: a former college linebacker, he spent two seasons as a deckhand on board factory trawler in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, then the next seven years was spent as a wilderness guide in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. These days, he spends his time teaching English, writing short stories, sailing, and shark fishing at his home on South Padre Island, Texas.
Mike will be reading from his work from August to December in the following cities:
New York City (and we hope to host his stay at Casa Stella)
San Antonio, TX
Eureka Springs, AR
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike’s website will be up in another week or so. Please look for updates, blurbs, and information about Fallen at authormikehancock.com.
And if the recent SNHU MFA graduates finding publishers isn’t enough, here’s another update on one of the instructors, Leslie Jamison … her lastest, , has made it to the New York Times BESTSELLER list … and New Yorkers/New Jersians, check this out: Leslie will be reading this coming week in New York: Leslie Jamison reading at McNally Jackson, 4/16/14 at 7:00 p.m.
Get the Empathy Essays here … I did …
And how ‘bout The Game of hrones! We thought it was a shocker when Ned Stark lost his noggin, but King Joffrey passed up on the cassata cake (cannoli to youse nons) and bada-boom, bada-bing ….
Mozart’s overturne to Die Zauberflöte (the Magic Flute) …