The novel follows Rory Orrick, a teen who just wants to live a normal life. After the untimely death of his parents and abandonment of his brother, Rory tries to overcome his past and move forward, which is hard to do in a small town where the residents look down upon or avoid him. In the midst of getting his life together he meets his first love and starts to feel somewhat stable, but his life is cut short when his troubled past comes back to haunt him.
The novel is coming of age story is set in the Adirondacks, and gives a glimpse of a family fighting with depression and psychological disorder. “It’s a story of how someone wants to live a normal life in the face of devastating circumstances,” Joel Durham, Jr says. The novel covers everything a teenager goes through. “The humor, the love, the pain, the confusion, and the heart: It’s all in there.”
Joel Durham Jr was born and bred outside Rochester, NY, and save for a quick year of living in the San Francisco Bay area, lived there all his life. A writer at heart and a computer geek by nature, he wrote more than a dozen tech books and easily a thousand articles on PC technology, video games, and related topics for almost 15 years before his career was cut short due to severe spinal stenosis (back pain). Slip Away is his first full-length work of fiction.
Gerard Bellamont, a famous wine critic with French roots, is found strangled with what appeared to be trellis wire at Allenwood Vineyard, where he was one of the guests to a party the previous night. At this party, Bellamont was heard saying something odd when staring at one of the local wine bottles, “I didn’t like it the first time I laid eyes on it”. Investigator Deville, also originally from France, remembers the victim briefly. The crime scene disturbs him, triggering his memory about his own past. He arrived in the United States in an alcohol induced coma which caused amnesia. Many parts of his past start unveiling itself as he investigates. Many suspects had a reason to kill Bellamont, his wife, his teenage son, the woman he was having an affair with, plus the owners from the winery that he gave merciless reviews. Three wineries are always in the picture: Allenwood Vineyard, Owen’s Winery, and Catalina. Which winery has the most to gain and who was responsible for the death?
A Taste for Death is a mystery set in the Finger Lakes Wine region of Upstate New York. The novel has complex characters with troubled lives. Investigator Deville is a recovering alcoholic who suffers from amnesia. While working on the case, he unravels mysteries of his own past, while trying to repair his current life. Wine critic and writer Gerard Bellamont’s welcome to the Finger Lakes region was far from friendly. Some would even say his murder was of no surprise. The wine owners did not take the critic’s words lightly and his days had been numbered. In addition to writing reviews, there had been more than one lead connecting the victim to the suspects.
Don Stevens lives in the Finger Lakes area and loves local food and wine. He writes and reviews wines for his marketing business and plans on releasing more wine mysteries.
Bridey McKenna’s graduation present is meant to be the ultimate mother-daughter vacation, during the one of history’s most important summers — the summer of 1967. Eighteen and in Europe for the first time, nothing is what Bridey expects. Her mother wants to keep her hermetically sealed on the tour bus, safe from all harm. “Harm” in her mother’s terms means having any experiences at all. Bridey’s chances for adventure, romance and enlightenment look slim-to-none until she arrives in Umbria and meets Alessandro — someone who could change everything about her future. Alessandro is no ordinary singing waiter and he’s the last person on earth her mother wants in her daughter’s life. Bridey’s only hope for things to get better is to connect in Rome with her worldly aunt and uncle — a man who holds a position at the British embassy in Jordan that no one ever quite… defines. When an emergency takes Bridey off the tour, on to Athens and farther into that world than she ever imagined, the complex terrain of family, love and womanhood holds a surprising itinerary. In the summer before college, it’s the education of a lifetime.
Set in Germany, Italy and Greece over a six-week period, What You Don’t Know Now is set in 1967, the famous Summer of Love, when things were not, however, loving in the US or across the world. Just a few years prior, the term Ugly American was born. Graffiti on Autobahn overpasses spelled out hostile feelings about the US involvement in Viet Nam. The story has an international setting as the protagonist travels, and includes the issue of falling in love with a man who is gifted and driven — and the possible consequences of that, versus the character’s own pending launch and ambitions for her life. And it explores the complex territory of love between a mother and daughter who are about to separate into their own lives for the first time.
In 1967, not all young women were hippies passing out flowers in Haight Ashbury. They were making choices and exploring the idea that they might have different options than their mothers, but those choices and options had new consequences and outcomes waiting. I think the theme of loving and letting go — and being let go of — is timeless. My book also includes the fact that even spies have regular family lives! (I know this is true because I had a CIA spy in my family.)