Taking a break from my travel updates here to reveal some exciting news....at least for me. I have finished my second book and first novel, The Justin Gates Chronicles - California Nightmare. This mostly fiction book is based on true events from my teen years and I am hoping everyone visiting this blog will buy a copy for your reading pleasure and give me your feedback.
Justin Gates, my protagonist, is a fifteen year-old boy battling coming-of-age, teenage angst, yet with an unusually intelligent and inquisitive mind that belies his youth. Based on true events this psychological suspense/mystery takes place in Hesperia, California in the summer of 1961. Dante Castleberg, my antagonists and a serial killer born of a lurid childhood, lurks amongst the good people of this peaceful, high desert community. He has killed many times before in other states. Now he is doing it again.
A dual murder baffles the experienced sheriff and embroils Justin and two of his teenage friends, who are locked in their own struggle with developing maturity, while working summer jobs wrangling horses at the local dude ranch. If nothing else captures your imagination about this story, be sure to read Chapter Nineteen about the drag race between a car and a horse which is 99 % true.
As Sheriff Dan Carter and his deputy struggle with the minimum amount of evidence available and the limited forensic resources of the time, four suspects emerge; Manny Huddleston, a local auto mechanic, Sol Kaufler, the high school principal, Phil Jacobson, the Hesperia Dude Ranch general manager, and Walt Levin, an auto parts shop owner. All appear guilty, one or more is, but only the cleverest amateur sleuths will discover which suspect is really Dante Castleberg before the end. Trial readers and the editor for my publishing company agree this story is brimming with rich characters. The combination of humor and violence, while unusual, is intoxicating. One reader commented, "I read well into the wee hours of the morning to finish the book. I just could not put it down."
I will warn you, it may not be for everyone and certainly not for the faint of heart or people embarrassed by correct anatomical descriptions. BUT, if you like humor, suspenseful drama, murder mystery thrillers and don't mind a bit of gore and gratuitous sex, then I encourage you to visit the Amazon website below where you can purchase the paperback, if you are a traditional reader, or the Kindle version for your electronic devices:
If you like it, I hope you will post a review on Amazon and comment here on the blog site. If you don't like it, please just tell me...lol. This is the first book in a trilogy and I promise the sequels will be just as engaging and fun. So jump on the Justin Gates bandwagon and enjoy the ride.
Jud Smith, Author
The Justin Gates Chronicles - California Nightmare