Open Books Newsletter
Fall 2022

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Read about author Mathieu Cailler in the current issue of Palos Verdes Magazine
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Fall 2022 Is Going To Be Special
An Untold Story from the American Civil War
The Whisper of a Distant God
by David L. Gersh

The untold story of the Angel of Santa Fe and the Gettysburg of the West. 

This is the story, based on historical events, of the little known War of New Mexico, of Henry Sibley, who commanded the Texas Mounted Volunteers, Edward R. S. Canby, the Union commander, and his wife Louisa, the Angel of Santa Fe. It explores the desperate struggle at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, called the Gettysburg of the West, and the men who fought on both sides. It examines the tragedies of war and the passion and compassion of those men and women who played a part.  

  Through letters, diaries, newspaper articles and both first and third person exposition and dialogue, this deeply-researched historical fiction tells of those who heard The Whisper of a Distant God.
From Tea to Coffee: The Journey of an "Educated Youth" 

Ingrained, enthralled and overwhelmed with the prevailing creed, "Communism will one day seize the world," and following Mao's call to the young during the Cultural Revolution, Cheng Wang, a so-called ‘Educated Youth’, boarded a 
train destined for a secluded village in Inner Mongolia for the compulsory period of re-education. For the next three grueling years in rural exile, he pondered how his once-privileged, loving family had been caught in a political undertow, and indeed how his own future might unfold?

From Tea to Coffee is the story of struggle and triumph during China’s modern-day cultural and political drama, and is a rare and personal account that showcases the Chinese national psyche. Like all political movements of the past, the Cultural Revolution was not the first of its kind, nor quite possibly the last, yet Cheng Wang, now at home in both America and in China, maintains an optimism that is rare and so very welcome in confronting today's social polarization in the East and in the West.
Reviews, Interviews, 
Excerpts & more...
Are you  ready for AI?
A high tech AI startup, the Russian mafia, and the downfall of a 'resident adult'

Professor Andrija Krstic is a bright man―some would say brilliant―with a stellar and secure career at one of the best universities in the country teaching electronic engineering and pursuing leading edge research in semiconductor technology. But when an opportunity for financing an Artificial Intelligence high-tech startup presents itself, he embraces the offer even though the seed money is offered by an odd and somewhat suspicious Armenian oligarch. 

It all seemed to be too good to be true, and the professor and his cofounders take the initial steps to grow their startup, which leads them into the parallel process of discovering the truth behind the roots of their benefactor’s wealth.

Kristic finds himself trying to balance two disparate worlds―that of a high-tech Silicon Valley startup racing toward the 21st century's technological future, and that of shady wealth rooted in the collapse of the Soviet empire.

The professor knows he must do the right thing for his company. His reputation and legacy depend on it, not to mention the livelihoods of others. And yet he must fend off the pressure from the Armenian oligarch who has probably told him far too much.
Everyone Here Is From Somewhere Else 
Jeff Wallach

Mysteries—and comedy—abound in this stand-alone novel that also continues the stories of Phillip and Spencer Elliot first explored in the novel Mr. Wizard. The middle-aged brothers undertake a quest inspired by their dead mother to discover "wonderful things" – the phrase used by archaeologist Howard Carter in describing his first look into King Tut's tomb.

Jenny Elliot, the boys' mother, was a budding Egyptologist as a girl, and the brothers consider themes of permanence, change, and legacy as they follow a trail to find their true place in the world—place being key as the brothers consider whether where you live is as crucial to who you are as such other obvious factors as DNA and upbringing.

The action takes place in the 1950s – 1970s in New York as well as in present day New York, Ireland and Oregon, exploring the inner lives of characters—past and present—and concluding with events and connections that are as surprising as they are inevitable.

The Devil in the Dust 
John E. Espy

As miners in hard hats swing pick axes miles underground, the Devil comes calling disguised as a black dust. The dirty soot penetrates deep into the miners' lungs. The first sign is coughing up black phlegm. Then comes wheezing and pain in the chest, and the desperation of being unable to breathe. The Devil tightens its noose around the miners' throats as coal dust invades their chests like a marauding invader that has come to desecrate their lungs. Then, after years of suffering and torture, the Devil claims each victim. 

Such is the fate of the coal miner. Not one, not two, but thousands of men suffer the fate of black lung disease. Lied to for a century by the coal companies, pursued by cowardly goons and unscrupulous doctors as the tragedy continues in the name of profit.

Three physicians dare to put their reputations, and at times their lives, on the line to expose the plight of the miners. Doctors Kitchen, McGarrity and McIntosh fight not only for miners' rights but also for their dignity. They try to discover ways of diagnosing black lung disease that can't be dismissed or shamed by the coal companies or their physician cronies. The Devil in the Dust is a story about courage, not only of the physicians confronting the coal companies and their stooges, but the courage of the coal miners to persevere in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.  

An All-time Favorite in a New Edition...
And a Long-awaited Sequel!
Beautiful Ghost 
Milana Marsenich

During the fall of 1918, the influenza pandemic crosses the nation and 
reaches the mining town of Butte, Montana.

Marika Jovich, who wants to go to school to become a physician, works menial tasks for Dr. Fletcher. She feels useless as she tries to save friends and neighbors from the ravages of the flu. In the midst of the pandemic, she watches the town shut down, young and old perish, and her medical dreams all but evaporate.

Kaly Monroe used to be a half-good woman of the night. She left that life to raise her daughter, Annie, and live and work with her long-lost mother, Tara McClane. Kaly waits for her husband, Tommy, to return from the war. Word from the east is that soldiers are dying of influenza and she prays that Tommy is not one of them.

When an out-of-town woman named Amelia suddenly dies in Dr. Fletcher's office, both women try to learn more about the mysterious woman and the circumstances regarding her death. Is she another casualty of the pandemic, or the victim of manmade foul play? Who is this stranger, and is her demise a portent of the fate that awaits the residents of Butte?

Beautiful Ghost will be release October 31, 2022.
Pre-order your copy now! Or buy both books at 15% discount!
Not to be missed!
Popular author of Western Historical Fiction, Milana Marsenich, not only captured forever fans but also won several awards with her 2017 debut novel, Copper Sky. Now, Open Books will offer a new edition of Copper Sky as well as its long-awaited sequel, Beautiful Ghost
Debut Author Arthur Kevin Rein 
Offers a Late Summer Mystery  
Rolling in the Deep 
Arthur Kevin Rein

Seventeen-year-old Sam Robel knows about loss. After the death of his older brother, his family bought Noquebay Resort in Northern Wisconsin to escape their grief.

Sam's friends Max and Diane also know about loss. Max's mother died long ago and his father's mysterious wealth and trophy wife are the talk of Walnut Creek; and six years ago, Diane's sister Jean disappeared without a trace.

One day while fishing with Max, Sam's line snags something from the bottom of Red Wolf Lake, and the discovery sets off a series of events that not only involves the three teenagers but also their friends and families, the sheriff's department, the other citizens of Walnut Creek, and, last but not least, a ruthlessly powerful small-town family, the Manticores, who seem intent on taking Noquebay Resort from Sam's family, no matter what the cost.

How far will Sam and his friends go to discover what secrets lay at the bottom of the lake?
Debut Novelist Micah Thorp
Tapped for Next Generation Indie Book Award  
Uncle Joe's Muse 
Micah Thorp

A down-and-out band, a girl searching for her father, and Jerry’s guitar.

The members of Uncle Joe’s Band have spent years playing any venue that will pay for their unintelligible metal band performances while their rock and roll lifestyle has left them with bad livers, multiple divorces, and living in a squalid house in Vallejo, California. 

Then one morning everything changes when an assertive twelve-year-old girl named Allison appears on their front porch and announces that she has been sent to stay with her father for the summer.

Meanwhile, years ago, the band’s namesake and inspiration, Uncle Joe, takes a long strange trip as a vagabond hippie through the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s that includes brushes with Ken Kesey’s bus, Watergate, the Pet Rock, Iran Contra, and Jerry Garcia.

Inspired by their experience with Allison and their budding paternal instincts, recollections of Uncle Joe, and a well-played Stratocaster with the initials “JG”, the members of Uncle Joe’s Band begin to play a new tune in a major key.
Riko Radojcic was born in poor post-war Yugoslavia but enjoyed a very happy and secure early childhood there. When he was twelve his father took a job with the UN World Health Organization and Riko spent his teen years in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, observing the demise of the colonial Raj as well as some harsh Third World realities. He completed high school in Swiss private schools -- a polar opposite of the Third World -- which gave him a peek into the lives of the one-percenters. He then moved to Manchester, UK, where he witnessed the bleak circumstances of the working class in the heart of industrial England.

After working in the UK for several years, Riko immigrated to the US, settling in San Diego. There he enjoyed a rewarding and a very stimulating career in the semiconductor industry, working in a variety of technical, managerial and 

business development roles. His professional life exposed him not only to the amazing wonders of silicon chip technology, but also gave him an opportunity to travel internationally and to interact with smart and talented people from very diverse backgrounds. After 35 plus years in the world of high tech and engineering management, Riko is now devoting his full energies to writing as he tries to bring to life the magic of technology, the realities of the high-tech industry, and some of his diverse life experiences through storytelling.
Where Do You Look Once The Search Has Ended?
Mr. Wizard
Jeff Wallach

Two brothers. One mother. One big question.

Two days before her death, Jenny Elliot suggests to her fifty-year-old son Phillip that, being half-Irish, he should be more careful about his drinking. Phillip, along with his brother Spencer, has grown up believing they were the fully Jewish-American offspring of Jenny and her late husband who died in the Vietnam War. Was his mother uttering some dementia-inspired fantasy, or was her true character shining through in her last moments to leave the brothers a clue to their real heritage? After her death, Philip decides to take a DNA test.  

The brothers set off on a genetic treasure hunt in search of who they really are—and what that might mean. Are they purely products of their genetics; or were they formed more completely by their social interactions and upbringing? Are they merely victims of randomness; or are they some combination of those factors? And who, exactly, is Mr. Wizard? 

Open Books author Jeff Wallach signs copies of his novels, Mr. Wizard and its follow-up, Everyone Here is from Somewhere Else at Vassar College Bookstore in New York.
The Courage to Persevere in the Face of 
Seemingly Insurmountable Odds
John Espy has been practicing psychoanalysis for 41 years. Formerly he was a neurotoxicologist with NASA and The University of California School of Medicine. 
Andrew Pessin

A chance encounter—if it is by chance—gives J. the opportunity he’s been hoping for but never expected would present itself. A physician in a midlife funk, obsessed with paintings of corpses and dissections, he is asked to speak about his subject of interest at the beautiful and secluded island campus of Nevergreen College. “Welcome to the asylum!” announces the woman who arranged the invitation and greets him at the dock, and his restless stomach seems an eerie harbinger of what is to come—an initially curious and ultimately terrifying overview of academentia. No one actually shows up for his lecture, but that doesn’t stop it from becoming the center of a firestorm of controversy—with potentially fatal consequences. 
A smart, fast, funny, and incisive portrait of today's liberal arts college scene, cancel culture—and more!

Andrew Pessin is Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College, with degrees from Yale and Columbia—though he is perhaps most popular with his students for his appearances years ago as “The Genius” on the Late Show with David Letterman. 
Author Cheng Wang maintains an optimism that is rare and so very welcome in confronting today's social polarization in the East and in the West

There's more to see and experience in Paris than just the Eiffel Tower, 
Notre Dame, 
and the Louvre. 
No Need to Wait for Halloween
Witchy Illusions 
Stephen Spotte

She's a comely, kick-ass witch 
who won't be put to the stake easily!

Witchy Illusions recounts the trial of Mademoiselle Ambrosine, a girl of fifteen accused of witchcraft in France in autumn 1515. Her lawyer is Barthélemy de Chassenée, a historical figure who became famous when in 1508 he defended the rats accused of eating the people’s grain stored at Autun’s granary and growing in nearby fields of the département of Saône-et-Loire.

During Mademoiselle Ambrosine's trial, justice plays out erratically, and nothing is ever clear. The proceeding turns increasingly opaque and the issues become more convoluted and muddled by legal precedent. Arguments about God’s will, mankind’s place in nature, and whether demons defecate and have erections obscure focus on the central issue of the defendant's practice of witchcraft. These and similar metaphysical issues puzzle and invigorate everyone, the court and spectators alike, and it becomes evident that Institoris might have met his match in Mademoiselle Ambrosine.