deservedly, California Book Award-winning novelist, John A. Miller, should
be listed among the most gifted and inventive writers in
acclaimed for well over a decade, but still not exactly a household name,
John Miller’s life story is something right out of a Dickens novel. A
Released in November and aptly described by his publisher as Field of Dreams meets Cocoon, Miller’s enchanting new novel, Coyote Moon, marks a sharp break in form from his previous novel, Tropical Heat, a thriller Publishers Weekly awarded a starred review. In the grand tradition of Mark Twain, Coyote Moon is among that rarest of literary treasures. It is simply great fun—a darn good read!
Drolly-imagined, but warmheartedly-given, Coyote Moon chronicles the quixotic adventures of Benny Rhodes, a well-respected sexagenarian MIT physics professor, who, devastated and disillusioned by the inequitable and untimely death of his brilliant—albeit much younger—colleague, resigns the university, dissolves his marriage and meanders aimlessly west. On a stopover to look in on an old colleague in Oklahoma, Benny falls in love with Becky Morgan an “extraordinarily fecund” young ex-schoolteacher (now a waitress) half his age and they wind up taking residence with a group of ancient Hitler-era expatriate Germans in a rundown enclave of Airstream trailers on the edge of the Mojave desert in Needles, California.
Convinced that Needles is a special place (“…something is going to happen here.”), the quaint aged park residents pass away the time drinking muscular German homebrew and arguing baseball. When sensational rookie catcher for the Oakland As, Henry Spencer—a previously unknown and relatively uneducated North Carolina ex-paratrooper with a hazy memory and an inexplicable gift for higher mathematics and quantum physics—shows up in the trailer park with his girlfriend, there is serious, however boozy, speculation that Henry might be the reincarnation of Benny’s recently deceased young genius protégé (perhaps even a direct descendant of Sir Isaac Newton).
Sweetly romantic and laugh-out-loud funny, this beguiling little fable offers an absolutely captivating tapestry of plot threads engendering thoughtful reflection on the complexity of the cosmos.
For first time John A. Miller readers looking for more, a thumbnail chronology of his titles includes the California Book Award-winning debut collection Jackson Street and Other Soldier Stories followed by the novels, Cutdown; Causes of Action; and Tropical Heat. The December edition of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine contains the first of a projected series of Miller’s new mystery stories.
Karen Orchard, former editorial director of the UGA Press, the Millers now
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