Thursday, October 31, 2013

April Newsome's Getting Married--And You're Invited

In her recent review of False Prophet on Main Street Plaza, C.L. Hanson wrote:
"As much as I enjoyed her earlier book (The Girls From Fourth Ward), I think this one is even better."

I think False Prophet is a better effort too. -- At least it's shorter. But for those of you who have asked about them, the girls do play minor roles in my new novel. For example, when Lt. Matt Ryan attends April Newsome's wedding reception--a grand fete made grander now that her father, Dennis Newsome is a candidate for the U.S. Congress.

Excerpt from False Prophet:

I followed the walkway to the stately McMansion. When I arrived on the porch, the door opened, and I entered to piano strains of “Isn’t it Romantic?” A blonde, teenaged girl held the door with a smile. Two more were stationed at a guestbook table just inside.
“May I take your gift?” One of the girls asked.
I handed it over and watched as she nestled (the gift I'd wrapped in) Abbottsville’s crime report amongst the silver and white ribbon-tied presents that covered a long mahogany console. Then I took the white feather-plumed pen from its holder and, clearly and in all caps, filled up two lines of the guestbook with, Detective Lieutenant Matt Ryan, Abbottsville Police Department, Homicide Division. I returned the pen to its place, smiled and thanked the girls, and continued into the reception with a spring in my step.
Officer Davis stood in uniform at the edge of the living room, his expression taut, without a trace of his perennial smile.
“Hey, Davis. You okay?”
He leaned in and half whispered in my ear. “As okay as I can be when half the folks in the room are wondering what the hell a black guy is doing here.”
“C’mon. Are you sure they aren’t just wondering what a uniformed officer is doing here?”
He moved away from my ear. “That’s the other half.”
“How can you tell?”
“Experience. But speaking of the uniform, I don’t think the guests are buying the idea that Newsome invited an on-duty black cop to his daughter’s wedding reception. Can we get this over with now, Ryan?”
“Keep a lookout for Romano and I will find the candidate. If anyone asks, tell them you’re on a routine investigation for the vice squad.” I winked.
I wandered through the well-dressed crowd, catching dull snippets of conversation along the way, most of them prefaced with either “Brother” or “Sister.” A bow-tied waiter offered me the last glass of pink bubbly off his tray. I took it and thanked him. Then I came upon the baby grand piano. The formally attired man at the keyboard played a respectable version of “The Way You Look Tonight.” I caught his eye and nodded my approval, then froze at the sight of Oakland Temple President, G. Maddox McKay. We stared at each other for a second and then he looked beyond me. I relaxed and smiled to myself. Probably didn’t recognize me with my clothes on.
I took a sip of the bubbly and shuddered. The stuff went down just like the Strawberry Ripple my date and I had snuck into the prom. Only without alcohol.
I stopped the nearest waiter. “You got anything to drink besides this?”
“Pellegrino. Also, there will be an herbal tea service with the cake later.”
Pellegrino? Herbal tea? Jesus, where the hell was the punch? I set the glass on a table and walked through the dining room past a long, sumptuous buffet. My stomach growled. I hadn’t had anything since Mrs. Zimmerman’s cookies. Surely the candidate could spare a dinner roll. I grabbed a Parker House from the basket, broke it open, went around to the end of the buffet, and stuffed it with a slice of roast beef and a dab of horseradish. The server at the carving block looked at me funny but didn’t comment.
I took a bite and then continued out of the house and into a large tent where guests dined on cloth-covered tables. A female harpist performed an awkward version of “Hey Jude” on a small stage set in a tropical motif. Beyond her, the bridesmaids and groomsmen posed for pictures in front of a large floral arrangement. Right off the bat I recognized them. Three of my favorite unconvicted murderers: Jill Spencer, Sarah Renfro and Betsy Miller decked out in burnt orange and beaming for the camera. The groomsmen wore nervous grins. I stepped into the girls’ field of vision. They glared at me like death. The photographer snapped their picture. I waved at them, finished off my roll, and ambled over to the rose arbor where the newlyweds and their parents were receiving a long line of guests. I caught a glimpse of Murderer Number Four through the crowd. April Newsome was the quintessential fresh-faced virginal bride. Like a model in those ads for Breck shampoo—or Eve in the temple movie. I craned my neck to get a look at the poor bastard she’d tricked into marrying her. The kid resembled a young George W. Bush, only sober.

Order your copy of False Prophet here.

Also read my Main Street Plaza review of Johnny Townsend's amazing new short story collection, Dragons of the Book of Mormon.

...And don't worry, gentle readers, I will break from the flagrant self-promotion to bring you more emails from the Abbottsville Fourth Ward. For starters, elder young is due to give his mission homecoming talk soon!


  1. Can't wait to read the book and to hear about Elder Young's homecoming talk.

  2. I must have Dragons of the Book of Mormon if only to read about Temple Man who performs heroic feats in either garmies or temple garb (I'm not sure which is his costume of choice).

    On an unrelated note, I have a really bizarre aunt, though she cannot come close to the level of bizarrity displayed by the TBMs in the family. She loves to imitate the female auxiliary leaders past and present singing incongruous songs. My favorite is her impersonation of Julie Beck singing Lady Gaga's Black Jesus, although her old classic of Barbara B. Smith singing Love Is a Battlefield is prety tough to top. The aunt has watched enoughgeneral conference sessions that she has all their mannerisms down pat. My grandmother (who shouldn't think such behavior is funny but secretly does) can always guess exactly which sister my aunt is imitating. Sherrie Dew singing Pink's "Just give me a Reason." my aunt dressed up as Sherrie Dew for Halloween, but the significance of her costume was largely lost on everyone who saw it because she lives on the Isle of Man, where no one knows who the hell Sherrie Dew is. Come to think of it, that might make the Isle of man a reasonably choice destination.

    1. Sherrie Dew? Man, that is one scary Halloween costume! Your aunt sounds like a kick. I will get to Elder Young. Taking a break after finishing my book... Thanks for reading, Alexis!