I’m happy to announce the release of my latest Johnny Carlton novel, STARVILLE, as an e-book on Amazon/Kindle books. This story is kind of special as you’ll see from reading the following excerpt from the book, Author’s Opening Note. I’m also including the main blurb, What the Story is About.
This book is a work of fiction, a thriller, and I think it’s one that has a particularly authentic, interesting, and unusual background. The story is basically set in a small hamlet in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan in the year 1950.
These kinds of hamlets, along with their surrounding farmlands, and with their fascinating culture of the times, present a unique piece of historical reality. If we cut a particular slice out of it–say from 1935 to 1955–we have not only the Second World War covered, but also the last part of the changeover from the “horse days” to gas-powered farm machinery and motor vehicles.
Looking at this through the eyes of a boy growing up in this time and place (as you will be part of the time while reading the book) you’ll be seeing what few people in the world know anything about.
It was a time and place on the edge of civilization, for to the south were more people, more things going on, more progress, and the whole bustling United States of America; but to the north there was wilderness.
Unique? Consider this: The time and place I’m talking about is the only one in the world where people drove around, in wintertime, in horse-drawn vehicles that were closed-in cabs heated with a small wood stove. The inhabitants of the rest of the horse-days wintry world were freezing their butts off in open sleighs.
Most of my growing-up years (from the time I was seven until I was twenty) were spent in a hamlet very much like the one called Starville in this story. It was a peaceful little place, yet, ironically, full of adventure, particularly in the imaginations of myself and my boyhood buddies. Our Starville (it has a different name in real life) was to be a springboard–according to the way we looked at things–into glorious lives of romance and adventure, the kind demonstrated by our screen heroes of the time, such as cowboy-star Hopalong Cassidy, jungle-man Tarzan, and private-eye Philip Marlowe, rescuers of the innocent, crime fighters.
Now, so many years later, I thought: What if some big evil had invaded that peaceful little hamlet at that time and tested everyone’s mettle, including that of us adventure-hungry boys? Would we have been up to it? Once the concept had come into my mind, it wouldn’t leave me alone.
Although its background is authentic, this story is fiction, and all its characters and their names are fictitious.
With that settled, you can ease back in your morris chair (that’s a 1940s type of easy chair), or maybe you’d like to recline on your chesterfield (that’s 1940s and early 1950s lingo for sofa) and read–and see what happens when extremely rotten eggs from Sin City invade our pastoral little hamlet, Starville.
What STARVILLE is About
The year: 1950; the place: Starville, a tiny hamlet in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada, where tranquility reigns … until evil walks in.
This happens because a rather good man, VINCE GREENRAY, who ran away from home when he was fifteen, returns to the hamlet in an attempt to find refuge from the law. He’s wanted for a California murder he didn’t commit. Close on his heels comes the real killer, HUMPHREY BALZAK, whose agenda is straightforward–he needs to eliminate the suspect before he can prove his innocence and the true killer’s guilt.
Much of the story is told as seen through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old resident of Starville, ROY GREENRAY, the nephew of Vince. Like most boys, he dreams of being involved in high adventure and derring-do, one of his screen heroes of the time being Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe, private investigator. But when the daydreaming becomes reality, can Roy handle it?
Although a fourteen-year-old boy is featured, this story is by no means intended for young readers. It is a hard-edged adventure thriller with a unique and little-explored setting: an authentic 1950’s hamlet in Saskatchewan–very much like the one in which the author grew up.