A Past-Life Gothic Mystery and Thriller

brown posey press

In the Fall of 1926, Judd McCarthy disappears while travelling between two small towns in the Midwest. Thirty-three years later, Joel Hampton is victimized by nightmares and blackouts until he assumes a different personality that is prone to violent outbursts. When psychiatrist Ned Finley is brought into the case, he traces Joel’s memories back to Judd McCarthy and suspects Joel may be reliving another life altogether.

Book overview:

In the Fall of 1926, itinerant laborer Judd McCarthy disappears with a company payroll while traveling between two small towns in the Midwest. Thirty-three years later another man, lawyer Joel Hampton, thinks he is going insane. Victimized by nightmares and blackouts, Joel is prone to sudden, unpredictable violent outbursts. Psychiatrist Ned Finley, who becomes involved in the case, believes that Joel’s problems defy traditional psychological explanations. Under hypnosis, Joel expresses memories that appear to belong to another person. Finley consults with his good friend Aurther Schlepler, a reluctant psychic who once worked with police departments to solve difficult homicide cases. Schlepler has taken up permanent residence in the Farmington State Mental Hospital to avoid “the truly insane who live on the other side of Farmington’s massive walls.” With Schlepler’s assistance, Finley starts to peel away Joel’s suppressed memories. Under hypnosis, Joel remembers a time when he apparently lived in Carver County in 1926 and knew a woman by the name of “Katharine.” However, Joel’s wife Susan informs Finley that her husband was not born until 1927. As Joel’s violent outbursts steadily worsen, Finley becomes convinced that his patient is slowly being possessed by the spirit of a man who was prone to violence and once lived in Carver County. Finley eventually journeys to the small town of Danvers, where he learns of a man who disappeared in 1926 while transporting a company payroll between two small towns. As Finley struggles to learn what happened to Judd McCarthy, and why his spirit seemingly lives on in Joel Hampton, his own life is threatened by some menacing presence in the small town. Meanwhile, Joel, who has fully assumed the persona of Judd McCarthy, remains under sedation at the mental hospital, where he plots an escape and dreams of the mysterious Katharine who lives on in his memories.

Book review:

"This expertly written thriller, a kind of Stephen King-Ross MacDonald hybrid (and in a class with either) beautifully evokes the feeling of a small town dying—its buildings, its streets and, most of all, its lost souls."

~ Publisher's Weekly

About the author:

Dennis M. Clausen was born and raised in a Minnesota small town near the South Dakota border. His early years on the prairie provided the inspiration for his novels and other literary works that chronicle the struggles of these small towns to survive in modern America. In addition to writing and publishing since the early 1980s, he has been a professor of American literature and screenwriting at the University of San Diego for forty-six years. Currently, he is working with Sunbury Press on several literary projects. The Search for Judd McCarthy and The Sins of Rachel Sims, novels that feature the fictional character Ned Finley’s research into early-life and other human memories, are scheduled for publication in early summer of 2018. The Accountant’s Apprentice, a novel set in San Diego at a time when the homeless population was increasing dramatically, is scheduled for publication in October of 2018. My Christmas Attic, the story of a young boy struggling with dyslexia and the loss of his father in the Korean War, will be published in late November of 2018.

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Dennis Clausen

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by Dennis Clausen

BROWN POSEY PRESS

Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x .7

9781620067574

224 Pages

FICTION / Literary

FICTION / Psychological

FICTION / Small Town & Rural

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publicity@sunburypress.com